Road House (2024)

by | Mar 24, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New On Streaming/Digital | 0 comments

Road House is a poorly written chaotic mess that offers fleeting moments of mild enjoyment amid a ridiculous script and questionable looking action effects. Having never seen the Patrick Swayze original, I went into this film with all the knowledge I’d acquired from the Family Guy skit and knew that I was in for a bunch of bar fighting. Disappointingly, at no point did anyone utter “Road House” after they roundhouse kicked someone in the face, an action which also hardly happened in a film that mostly relied on flying fists and taking hits. For all the charm that Jake Gyllenhaal can conjure, the film around him consistently does him no favors and makes this film more of a chore to watch than a treat.

Road House

After leaving the UFC is questionable fashion, former fighter Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself trying to scrap anywhere he can to make any money that he can. With his life and heart in the gutter, he’s offered redemption in the form of being a bouncer for a Florida Key’s Road House that’s been dealing with rowdy customers trashing the place nightly. When Dalton arrives, he quickly learns how badly some people want the Road House to collapse and that he’ll need to fight for his life if he wants to help the people around him.

As a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal for several years now, I have to say that I find all his fighter roles to be his least appealing and least entertaining from an audience standpoint. For such a talented actor, he feels stuck in a place of trying to pull off more of a physical performance than one that’s influenced by a person/character. Gyllenhaal exudes some charisma as Dalton and clearly has a cheeky personality, however most of that remains surface level and the characters around him aren’t serious enough for the humor to work as effectively. Physically, sure Gyllenhaal looks ripped and intimidating to a degree, but they really try to play up his physique in a way that makes him seem more like Alan Ritchson’s Jack Reacher.

Speaking of the Jack Reacher series on Amazon Prime, Road House clearly tries to emulate their blend of physicality and comedy, except they execute it to a far lesser degree. The prime example of this is when Conor McGregor comes in as some completely unhinged lunatic from a totally different film and just doesn’t gel with any of the movie around him. What they attempt to play for laughs comes off as more ridiculous and annoying than anything else, squandering what could be serious moments that stick with the audience. From one half of the duo that wrote The Nice Guys, I was surprised at how many influences of that film found their way in and how few of them resulted in anything comedic.

Road House works as a straight to streaming release because the sum of its parts never feel quite real enough to rise to the level of something worth paying for at the movies. To be fair, I wasn’t overly fond of how they did their editing for the fighting and action because it looks like they’re playing with frame rates and CGI and the result ends up looking super wonky. Daniela Melchior and Jessica Williams are just given enough to do to be interesting, but the film wastes lots of talent and never becomes more than just background fodder. Another unfortunate misfire from director Doug Liman who’s yet to reach the success he found with Edge of Tomorrow.

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