Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Movie Review: Exploring the New Road House

The resurgence of ’80s movies through sequels, reboots, and remakes has captured the attention of audiences worldwide. From Top Gun to Ghostbusters, Hollywood has embraced nostalgia, breathing new life into beloved classics. However, amidst this wave of retro revivals, one unexpected entry into the remake realm has emerged – 1989’s Road House.

I had a particular interest in this movie, one due to the fact it’s the acting debut of polarising two-time UFC champion Connor Mcgregor, and secondly because of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin laying the smack down on various folk in his neighbourhood, whilst bellowing out the name of the aforementioned movie. 

A Blast from the Past: Revisiting the Original Road House

The original Road House wasn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece. Filled with cheesy action and buoyed by the charisma of Patrick Swayze, the film found a place in the hearts of many despite its flaws. Fast forward to 2024, and director Doug Liman and his team embark on a journey to reimagine this cult classic for a new generation.

The Modern Twist

Liman’s vision for the new Road House promises a modern twist on the ’89 film, yet upon closer inspection, the film remains firmly rooted in the tropes of its predecessor. While some surface-level changes attempt to infuse freshness into the narrative, the overall formula feels predictable, robbing the film of any genuine suspense.

Despite its shortcomings, the new Road House wisely leans into its absurdity, refusing to take itself too seriously. Peppered with genuinely funny moments and rowdy action sequences, the film manages to elicit laughter, albeit sometimes unintentionally. From brutal fight scenes to larger-than-life action set pieces, Road House delivers on the entertainment front, so if nothing else it’s worth a watch at least once.

Jake Gyllenhaal: A Complicated Performance

At the heart of the film is Jake Gyllenhaal, whose portrayal of Elwood Dalton adds a layer of complexity to the character. Initially enigmatic, Gyllenhaal’s performance gradually reveals Dalton’s inner turmoil and resilience, anchoring the film amidst its chaotic narrative. However, not all performances hit the mark, as we’ll soon discover.

The plot follows Elwood Dalton, a former UFC fighter turned reluctant bouncer, as he navigates the tumultuous world of a beachside Road House in the Florida Keys. Along the way, he encounters a colourful cast of characters, including the spirited Frankie (Jessica Williams) and the charming nurse Ellie (Daniela Melchior), as well as the menacing antagonist Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen) and his band of thugs.

A Mixed Bag of Action, Comedy and Connor McGregor

As Elwood faces off against Brandt and his cronies, the film descends into a whirlwind of bloody brawls and high-stakes confrontations. However, the arrival of Conor McGregor as the unhinged enforcer Knox proves to be a misstep at times, with McGregor’s over-the-top performance bordering on caricature rather than menace. His performance isn’t awful though, Connor still has his moments and at times he does steal the spotlight in scenes and genuinely had me laughing at times. 

Ultimately, Road House emerges as a film of contradictions – equal parts entertaining and flawed. While its campy charm and explosive action sequences offer moments of enjoyment, the film struggles to find its footing amidst a sea of inconsistencies. Nevertheless, for fans of the original and newcomers alike, Road House offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane, albeit with a few detours along the way. So I would say overall, this one is worth giving a go.