Road House Review

Image Source:

Movie: Road House

Production Company: Metro – Goldywn – Meyer

Director: Doug Liman

Producers: Joel Silver

Scriptwriters: Anthony Bagarozzi, Chuck Mondry

Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Conor McGregor, Billy Magnussen

Release Date: 21st March 2024

Running Time: 121 minutes

Certificate: 15

Introduction: This gloriously entertaining and bone crunchingly physical remake of the 1980’s classic is, perhaps, the most fun you will have with a film this year.

Synopsis: Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a former UFC fighter who is hired to control and tame a rowdy seaside bar; but all is not as it seems.

Analysis: I’ll cut right to the chase, I had an absolute ball with this, and I loved it from the get go. Director Doug Liman takes inspiration from the original and put’s his own spin on things offering you a fresher take on an old school, 80’s cheese-fest that is undeniably iconic. Even though this is better than the original, they are – at the end of the day – different beasts. Whereas the original relished in mullets, a groovy soundtrack and fights more resembling slapstick, this has the advantage of better, more up to date special effects, a bigger budget and more professionally handled action and fight choreography. It’s story also shares similarities to that of 2017’s ‘Baywatch’ film which was also a remake of an 80’s property.

Now, speaking of the action, I did not expect it to be this impressive, although the trailer gives you a good indication, which is what originally got me excited about this. Every single set piece (not just the fight scenes) are among the best I have seen in any action film in a long time and it is all thanks to Liman who has already established himself as a great action director (‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ for example). The entire films seems to adopt this sweeping, fluid camera motion that becomes amplified when it comes to a set piece, making it all the more impressive and immersive. It also uses one take for most sequences. They really should have released this in cinemas, such a shame they did not. The biggest screen would have made this even more entertaining.

There is an opening punch up that sets the tone for what you are about to see in the film and I have to say, I have not seen knuckles land to the face this well and in such a convincing manner since Gareth Evan’s ‘The Raid’ (two of the greatest action films ever made in my opinion) films. You can literally see the sweat and spit fly from people’s faces upon impact. Rarely have I seen a film this physical and you do really do feel the pain inflicted on characters, its fantastically and painfully well captured.

Gyllenhaal and the whole cast are exceptional when it comes to the action with wildly silly and over the top set pieces that are also extremely well choreographed, handled and executed. The film does have a tie in with the UFC which doesn’t work as well I had hoped and feels a little too disjointed and forced. This film also marks the acting debut of Conor McGregor (a UFC champion) who just steals the show here in spectacularly over the top fashion.

He is every bit as deranged, crazy and awesome as you’d expect and the film knows exactly how to introduce him in the most hilarious and memorable fashion that is perfectly suited to his character (and his personality in real life); what a way to mark your debut in a film. It is an excellent piece of self -awareness, and I have no doubt he is finished playing villains in the future, he is simply too good not to. They know how to get the most out of him here. The film, somehow, also manages to balance a great sense of humor too (in this sequence most notably) which was virtually non-existent in the first one.

Despite being heavily influenced by the original film, some of this being a shot for shot remake in some areas, it still manages to do it’s own thing and then some. It takes what action was seen the first time round and turns it all the way up, delivering an adrenaline fueled romp. An honest and admirable enough remake that also just happens to be one of the best action films I’ve seen in a long time. One of the most entertaining film’s you’ll see this year.

On Amazon Prime Video.

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: strong violence, language

Recommendation: Yes