Road House review: Not as much of a guilty delight as the first one

In the “scrappy and overcomplicated” Road House revival, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a bare-knuckle boxer who is “goofy, relaxed and remarkably free of facial damage”.

Road House review: Not as much of a guilty delight as the first one
Image Credits: BBC

Road House review

When Road House debuted in 1989, it received mixed reviews but has since grown to become a cult favorite, serving its patrons platters full of bone-crunching martial arts fights and bluesy rock’n’roll songs. Not a classic, by any means, but a guilty pleasure that feels less guilty than it should be since Patrick Swayze, who plays the lead, seems to be taking it so seriously. Despite how crude and ridiculous it can get—and boy, can it get crude and ridiculous—Swayze’s genuine, heartfelt presence raises the possibility that there may be some redeeming qualities to it all.

Even its most devoted admirers would concede, though, that the story, the characters, and pretty much everything else could be improved. For this reason, a remake that takes the ridiculous notion of “supercool bouncer beats up a bar’s most unpleasant patrons” and runs with it doesn’t seem like the worst idea. Indeed, there are some improvements made to the original Road House by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, The Edge of Tomorrow), who also helmed the new film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The trouble is that Liman can’t seem to solve one issue without creating a few more, much to an awkward handyman in a silent comedy.

Road House 2024

Think about Elwood Dalton, the main character. (Since he and Swayze’s character have the same last name, I’m assuming that his new first name is a parody of Elwood and Jake from The Blues Brothers.) He is portrayed as a former champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) who was killed by a vicious combination of strikes delivered by the ridiculously strong Gyllenhaal. He now resides in the squalid realm of underground bare-knuckle boxing, where he sufficiently intimidates opponents to force them to concede fights.

So, this looks like a better version of the Road House plot point: a hero who has reached the lowest point and is in desperate need of atonement. Yet the movie abandons the idea halfway through. Cute, laid-back, and surprisingly damage-free, Dalton is always prepared with a sly smile and a wry remark, making him the least believable two-fisted drifter since Tom Cruise in the Jack Reacher movies. Before long, his horrifying history is but light chatter.

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Rinku Kumar
Rinku Kumar

Rinku Kumar is a talented and aspiring blogger known for her captivating content and insightful perspectives. Born on March 20, 2002, in Janta West, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Rinku discovered her passion for writing at an early age. Growing up in a world of ever-evolving digital media, she found herself drawn to the vast opportunities for self-expression and communication offered by the internet.

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