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Road House

In 1989, a cult classic was born. Starring Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing) and directed by Rowdy Herrington, Road House (1989) told the story of Dalton, a Ph.D.-educated bouncer hired to work at the meanest and loudest bar The Double Deuce. Famous for it's ridiculous yet fun fight sequences, a charismatic performance from Swayze and the 'I want you to be nice' scene that we've been quoting since, it's gained a cult status for a good reason.

Now comes the 2024 modern remake of the same name, this time starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton and being directed by Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Road House (2024) confidently manages to match the fun of the original with it's out-there entertaining fight scenes and great lead performance, but the story surrounding the action leaves a lot to be desired.


Ex-UFC fighter Dalton takes a job as a bouncer at a Florida Keys roadhouse, only to discover that this paradise is not all it seems.


Perhaps the biggest and most obvious change as you head into this 2024 edition is the location. We've swapped the rowdy town-located bar for a stunning beach-front boozer in Florida Keys, and it's a welcome change. The setting is a stunning paradise, from the bar itself to the rolling tides, adding a summery vibe that makes things quite visually satisfying. However, don't let its picturesque nature fool you – there is plenty of violence, bloodshed and punches thrown, and that paired with the setting makes for a fun juxtaposition. In exactly the same manner as the original, the films best asset is it fight scenes. They are well-choreographed, entertaining and thankfully frequent, it doesn't shy away from the uber-violent high-energy fighting that we expected. From bar tag-teams to one-on-one's with Conor McGregor, if you're watching for the fight scenes, you won't be disappointed. It cleverly utilises close-up camerawork to bring us close to the action, giving an immersive approach. However, it's sometimes distracting, especially due to the wide lens that makes things look a little unreal at times, but when it works, it works well.

Jake Gyllenhaal was clearly up to the task, as he's as charismatic as ever – he had big shoes to fill, and he delivered. This time around, Elwood Dalton is an Ex-UFC fighter, and Gyllenhaal is a believable one at that; he's a bit of a cheeky chappy yet protective of his friends he makes in Florida Keys. He is confident in his fighting, quippy with his dialogue, and is a vessel for both the action and the humour. The modern quips become grating at times as they seem to be the only style of humour the script delivers, but luckily, a large portion of them land.

Road House

The largest talking point in the lead up of the movie has been the addition of Conor McGregor into the cast... he's exactly what you'd expect. Strong during fight sequences but slightly weak with his acting, it's funny to have him around nonetheless, even if his dialogue and delivery is extremely cringe-worthy. All side performances are just fine, featuring the likes of Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad) as love interest Ellie, Billy Magnussen (Game Night) as head villain Ben Brandt and Joaquim de Almeida (Missing) as the Sheriff. There's even a cameo from rapper Post Malone. The guys work well together.

If you liked the original 80's flick for its action but not so much it's story, unfortunately, the 2024 edition is much of the same and likely won't be able to win you over. Outside of the fighting and humour, it's actually pretty bland and uninteresting. Clocking in at two hours, it feels way too long for the story being told, and you can begin to feel the run-time during the final act. It's bogged down by uninteresting dialogue, repetitive beats and a narrative that feels awfully familiar. Gyllenhaal and Melchior's chemistry is just okay, and the romance is very undercooked and uninspired. The film is not developed well enough to feel like it has a true place in the story, and is merely used as a vessel. Many were wishing for it to lean heavy into its campy nature and bar brawls, but it side lines that perhaps even more than the original. The premise is fun, but all the filler is not.

Road House (2024) is one of the more competent action flicks of the year thus far, helmed by a stunning lead performance from Jake Gyllenhaal who has perhaps more charisma than ever. When punches are thrown, blood is shed and deserving idiots are taken down a peg or two (or three), it's an absolute blast. However, anything outside of this is a lacklustre affair that makes you wish for it to hurry up and get to the next fight.


Rating Road House



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