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ROAD HOUSE (2024)

March 21, 2024 / Prime Video

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Joaquim de Almeida, Conor McGregor, Lukas Gage, Arturo Castro, B.K. Cannon, Beau Knapp

Directed By: Doug Liman

Road House stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton, an ex-UFC fighter trying to escape his dark past and his penchant for violence, in this adrenaline-fueled actioner. Dalton is barely scraping by on the reputation that still precedes him when he is spotted by Frankie (Jessica Williams), owner of a roadhouse in the Florida Keys. She hires him to be her new bouncer in hopes of stopping a violent gang, working for crime boss Brandt (Billy Magnussen), from destroying her beloved bar. Even five to one, Brandt’s crew is no match for Dalton’s skills. But the stakes get higher with the arrival of ruthless gun-for-hire, Knox (Conor McGregor). As the brutal brawls and bloodshed escalate, the tropical Keys prove more dangerous than anything Dalton ever faced in the Octagon. Also starring Daniela Melchior, Joaquim De Almeida, Lukas Gage.

Written By Kurt Morrison

Rating 4 out of 5

OH where do I begin with Road House….


This testosterone filled piece of man cinema has finally come to fruition after a decade long struggle to reboot the 1989 original and being tossed around by several different filmmakers with several different leads.


But for what it is….. The wait was well worth it because Road House effing rules.


Jake Gyllenhaal takes over the lead role in this remake, made famous of course by the legendary Patrick Swayze back in the ‘89 original, playing Elwood Dalton - a former UFC Middleweight Fighter, plagued by bad dreams and a sense of guilt that we slowly uncover as the film progresses. As always, Gyllenhall physically commits to his role, packing on some serious muscle and looking better than ever on screen. The last time we saw him this jacked was 2015’s Southpaw, and for a guy who is about to turn 44 this year, he doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since Southpaw. The wildest aspect of this role though is what I have heard in interviews by Gyllenhaal, discussing that in preparation for the role, he trained Mixed Martial Arts with his co-star, former UFC World Champion Connor McGregor. The very idea of training not only MMA, but MMA with one of the greatest to ever do it is not only a daunting idea but one hell of an introduction to the vicious sport. Kudos to Jake.


Lean but not so mean, his portrayal of the aptly known Dalton in the film is at times gentle and kind, as we find this wayward drifter sleeping in his car and struggling to find a sense of self. But then at the drop of a beer bottle, he becomes a smart and calculated fighter who knows the power and viciousness he possesses but needs to control. I love the modern day spin the story has compared to the original, especially with the UFC/MMA twist. Gyllenhaal’s interpretation still has that stoicism that Swayze possessed 35 years ago, but it is different and entertaining in all the right ways. He’s handsome, likable, but somehow believably threatening. He isn’t the biggest guy in the room but he is the baddest guy.


The plot beats compared to the original are also a welcomed change. Utilizing aspects of the original written by David Lee Henry - guy becomes bouncer at scummy, family owned bar in shady neck of the woods -  screenwriter Anthony Bagarozzi sets out to make a film that packs a lot more bravado and somehow, a lot more campiness. Frankly, to say its campiness is one of the best aspects of the film is an understatement, because Road House sets out to be exactly what you want it to be from the first frame. Funny, easy to follow and most of all entertaining. The film's plot lays itself out very easily and without any real trappings that could come off confusing. You could literally walk away for five minutes, come back and feel like you haven’t lost anything storywise. Is that a testament to great writing - probably not BUT it is the type of writing that wins over viewers and helps spread positive word of mouth.


Big shout out once again to screenwriter Anthony Bagarozzi, who is back after an 8 year hiatus since his last feature, which was the criminally underrated Ryan Gosling-Russell Crowe action comedy The Nice Guys. Road House uses that same quick wit, sarcastic style of comedy that The Nice Guys capitalized on, making for some incredibly funny moments in between the fight scenes of Road House. Which leads me to two of the best aspects of this actioner - Connor McGregor and The Fight Choreography.


Connor McGregor is an individual who seems like he is going 100 kilometers an hour, each and every day of his regular life. So this role wouldn’t seem like much of a stretch……Yet somehow, that craziness is turned up even more than usual, making for one badass and hilariously entertaining villain in his character, Knox. He’s ferocious and without reason, and when he and Gyllenhaal are able to step toe-to-toe in two separate instances, it’s a no-holds-barred affair that had me yelling, squirming and laughing the entire time. If these are the types of roles McGregor is fishing for in Hollywood, then God Speed my good sir. I look forward to seeing you in more like this because you were made for the big screen.


The supporting cast of Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad), Billy Magnussen (Game Night) and Jessica Williams (Apple TV+’s Shrinking) all round out the cast because why not have more stunningly hot and beautiful people in the Florida Keys. Melchior and Gyllenhaal have some serious chemistry, while Williams’ wise cracking,fast talking boss Frankie is a great compliment to Gyllenhaal’s passive Dalton. And Billy Magnussen is always phenomenal in anything he does, this time playing a rich evil doer trying to own all the land he can get his hands on. He plays the spoiled, rich screw-up son on point - someone who never seems to know what they are doing but thinks they hold all the power. But Listen, if I ever travel to the Florida Keys and don’t see people this gorgeous all around me, I am going to be pissed right off and very let down. There are way too many hot people for me to actually believe this is what South Florida looks like.


Road House packs a seriously fun punch by not taking itself too seriously and letting Jake shine both physically and comedically. There is no need to be a diehard and compare this to the OG ‘89 version because when you just submit to watching this reboot and have fun with it, there is no way in hell you can be disappointed by what you’re watching. This road(house) to hell has been long and paved with good intentions so sit back at the altar of Jake and enjoy this wild ride. I am eager and excited to give this one a rewatch very soon!

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