on December 28, 2003
Forget "Dirty Dancing": Patrick Swayze's career peaked in this and the similarly underrated "Point Break." It doesn't quite reach the stratospheric heights (or is it depths?) of Arnold Schwarzenegger's deservedly legendary "Commando," but "Road House" is still the stuff of which B-movie legend is made. Starring Swayze as the head bouncer at a rowdy Southern bar called the Double Deuce, "Road House" derives its appeal largely from the ingenious idea of having a bunch of rednecks for villains. You get to see Swayze's Dalton, perhaps the only Mercedes-driving, philosophy-majoring bouncer in history, take on a seemingly endless succession of slack-jawed inbred troglodytes as he tames the Double Deuce and ensures victory for truth, justice, and the American way.
The Double Deuce is one of the those bars where it seems half the patrons are on parole, but that doesn't stop them from throwing fists at the proverbial drop of a hat. I've always believed that bar fights held vast, untapped potential for the action genre, and this movie more than delivers the goods in that department. There are about five solid bar brawls in "Road House," with glass flying around, Dalton employing his martial-arts expertise against dimwitted thugs in tight jeans, and blind guitar whiz Jeff Healey providing some rock-solid background music. Suffice to say, if you're looking for a fair and dignified look at life in the South, you won't find it here. A trip to the Double Deuce promises to be as nasty and brutish as Hobbes's state of nature, and a lot more fun to watch.
And even for those who can think of nothing that beats Patrick Swayze as an action hero, it gets better: they got Sam Elliott, one of America's most underrated actors ever, to play Dalton's long-haired, hard-living friend Wade! With an unkempt white mane and that unmistakable Southern drawl, Wade dispenses plenty of rapier wit along with some ...-whippings before outliving his usefulness. You also get to see Ben Gazzara, slumming it as the snake-like villain Brad Wesley, somehow manage to maintain a semblance of dignity in a movie that seems committed to insulting your intelligence every chance it gets. And as Dalton's love interest, Kelly Lynch adds little in the way of plot advancement or dialogue, but she does provide some nice scenery... buying it.
To avoid any confusion, by rating this movie 5 stars I am NOT suggesting that it is in the same league as GLADIATOR, THE LORD OF THE RINGS (trilogy), GONE WITH THE WIND or any other top-calibre flick. However, this film doesn't try to compete with the likes of top-rated movies, and that's the beauty of it.
The story is based on a top-notch bar bouncer (Patrick Swayze) who is compelled to call in his old mentor (Sam Elliot) for an especially tough project. Instead of just busting heads and throwing hoodlums out of the bar, these guys end up having to save the whole town!
This is a B-movie all the way. In my opinion, it COULD be the greatest B-movie of all time. In short, despite being stupid it is also immensely entertaining. The plot is contrived. There are aspects of it that are way, way beyond being remotely believable. It seems the whole movie was inspired by pushing the envelope on the concept of the bar brawl.
Despite its limited plot, the DVD is surprisingly watchable. I've seen it at least 4 times and it's always fun to re-watch. Patrick Swazye's considerable acting talents are wasted in this farce, but that's OK. The film contains a nice sampling of gratuitous nudity, and Kelly Lynch is not exactly hard on the eyes.
So, if you want to watch a movie with minimum seriousness and maximum action, hang a left into the Roadhouse tonight. You won't be disappointed.
on October 16, 2002
1. It has the best fight scene by Americans, directed by Americans, in an American movie up until the Matrix (I'm forgiving the Wacowski's for their excellent choreographer, Yuen Woo Ping.)
2. An ex-BOUNCER, Rowdy Herrington, directed this movie. That is why it is so serious, so get over it all you pretentious movie snobs.
3. Yes, next to Die-Hard, this movie was the 2nd most cigarette industry plugged film ever made. But hey, it was set in a bar.
4. Kelly Lynch really is that smart, and powerful to boot. Anyone thinking that her image contributes to teen bulimia/anorexia needs to check their agenda at the door.
5. Music, good music, and people tied to good music. Red-West of the Memphis Mafia, John Doe (Pat) former lead man of the punk band X, and of course the Jeff Healey Band (where are they now?)
6. A Jumping, Spinning, Exploding, and upright landing Mercedes. Two Guns UP!!!
7. The denouement of the final action scene where two bad guys are down and you don't get to see Swayze do it. Then you get a two for one, by knife. Rambo,get a hair-dresser.
8. Marshall Teague (I know this is mentioned elsewhere.) Rarely has a bad guy actually looked better that the lead.
9. Sam Elliot singing along to George Strait. Texans everywhere are grateful.
10. And finally, the IT'S JUST A JOB speech. As much as a degree in philosophy seems so incongruous in an action setting, I worked a maximum security prison for a good long time, all the while in possession of a BFA, and let me tell you, others so degreed worked right along side me. We knew first hand that you had to out-psyche your opponent, and this element in ex-dancer Swayze's character was fitting and welcome.
11. And in the tradition of Spinal Tap, it's just a flick, so lay off the cheese remarks, you art farts.
I can have my Bergman and my Swayze too.
on June 6, 2009
At this point, I'm sure pretty much everyone has seen the movie so I won't go into the details about why this movie is so fun and rewatchable. Overall, this is a good blu-ray release as far as content. The blu-ray is bare bones, however this release includes the DVD that has all of the extras from the last DVD release(yes, it has Kevin Smith's and Scott Mosier's commentary track).
Now for the bad. The packaging is awful. The case looks like a normal blu-ray blue plastic case until you remove one of the discs and reveal the spaces or holes in the plastic. And the best part? The holes are right where the disc is resting in the case, which means if any blunt or sharp object hits the case, it will go through the thin plasic sleeve cover and the paper cover and damage the disc. I imagine amazon will have a lot of damage returns with this one since they are sending it in a bubble lined envelope (it really needs to be shipped in a box). My blu-ray cover was punctured in the front and the DVD was slightly damaged by a very visible scratch. Fortunately the disc still played just fine, but now the Road House front cover has a small hole right on Patrick Swayze's neck line. Lovely. I won't be returning it since the same thing will probably happen again (possibly worse) and both of the discs play anyway.
The eco-friendly packaging was a HORRIBLE idea. Since I like my discs to have some kind of protection, I'll be putting the discs in a different case and tossing this eco-friendly junk. They might as well send these in a thin paper sleeve. It's ridiculous.
on August 2, 2006
Road House mania has finally hit in 2006! Not only has this movie, which has been to late night TBS what Whoopi Goldberg is to Hollywood Squares, finally been reissued in a special edition, but now Mike Nelson from MST3K has released a RiffTrax for it! Road House was long acknowledged as a target that Nelson and the 'bots wished they could skewer on MST3K and he finally got his wish.
Listen, Road House is great. Tinker, Sam Elliot (voice of the beef council) and the oh so creepy owner of the Double Deuce are some of the best characters to ever populate small town Missouri. But watching it with Nelson's RiffTrax playing in the background took the unintentional (i think?) comedy of Road House to an entirely new level. Nelson is both knowledgable and funny, the kind of guy you wish your friends were as clever as. If we are ever blessed with a 20th anniversary edition of Road House, I would hope that Nelson's riffing can be included, because I can't imagine watching this movie again without it.
Check it out: [...]
on May 21, 2003
This is an all-time classic B-movie that's so incredibly stupid that it transcends stupidity and attains cinematic greatness. I actually think this movie had to have been written with this goal in mind. I'm not sure (even in Hollywood) that anyone could have written this nonsense and expected an audience to watch it with a straight face. Watch the movie with lots of friends, have several cocktails, and make fun of the endless classic scenes involving monster trucks driving through car showrooms, bar fights where they "sweep up the eyeballs after closing", a bouncer with a master's in philosophy who spouts such pearls of wisdom like "Pain don't hurt" and carries around his own medical files to save time in ER. Brilliant stupidity!
on July 6, 2005
What we have here is a big ol' slice of cheese from the 80's in the form of the Patrick Swayze vehicle "Road House". Back in the late 80's, Patrick Swayze was riding a wave of popularity that even HE didn't maybe expect, thanks to his role as Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing". Movies like this weren't meant to be Oscar winners, they were meant for basically what it amounts to, which is a couple hours of brainless fun.
Swayze plays "Dalton" (not sure if that's his first or last name, that's all he goes by), a COOLER, mind you, not just a bouncer, who more or less specializes in cleaning up the worst bars and makes them respectable establishments. Dalton gets paid ungodly sums of money, almost unrealistic amounts as you will find out about, to perform this feat. Dalton is paid a visit by a seedy looking guy named Tilghman, who hires him to help clean up the "Double Deuce", which is nothing more than a massive toilet that serves booze and a whole lotta trouble.
Dalton makes it to the Double Deuce, and starts to "take out the trash". What Dalton was unaware of, which is mysteriously never explained to him by Tilghman prior to his hiring, is that all of the businesses in town, including the Double Deuce, pays extortion money to the town kingpin Brad Wesley. Dalton fires a bartender who was "skimming the till", which apparently is bar slang for pocketing money from the register. This is how the Double Deuce was fleeced. And wouldn't you know it, the bartender is Brad Wesleys nephew!
Now. A normal person would have quit and moved on, but Dalton meets the sexy town doctor, and begins a relationship with her. Dalton eventually learns that she was once romantically involved with none other than Brad Wesley. What a small town!
So, thus begins the jealous battle between her ex-lover Wesley and the new guy threatening his stronghold over the town, Dalton. A great cameo by Sam Elliott as Daltons mentor and best friend Wade Garrett makes for good chemistry and drives what story there is along. The music is great, mainly featuring The Jeff Healey Band.
This is actually a pretty good movie, and entertaining right up until the predictible violent ending. Dalton slowly lets Wesley push his buttons until he blows a gasket and speeds to Wesley's compound to chew bubble gum and kick butt, but runs out of bubble gum on the way.
This isn't by any means a "MUST SEE" movie, but it has it's moments, and for the cheap price, its not a bad movie for your collection. AND...for you ladies, there's a naked butt shot of Swayze. Let me tell you something, if I was a woman and found that sort of thing attractive, well, I guess that would be a good thing. But I'm not, and I don't!
on June 8, 1999
This is perhaps the most sophisticated action film ever made. It is a mixture of rugged sensuality and brutal naturalism. Swayze is at the top of his game and Lynch gives a persuasive, dynamic performance. The action, characters, and plot interweave perfectly. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes their action mingled with philosophy.
on November 24, 2009
I love the movie. It's bad, but a good kind of bad. Especially if you watch the movie with the Rifftrax commentary. But they made some odd choices with this release. First is the packaging that is designed with holes. Tolerable if you're careful, but I can see some mishaps. The other is the way they decided to do the extras. See, it comes with the Blu-Ray version and the DVD version. Not sure why. Perhaps they want you to lend it to a friend who doesn't have Blu-Ray. I dunno. Or perhaps they were just too lazy to put the extras onto the Blu-Ray disc and had a whole bunch of DVDs left over from last release. That's right. There are no extras on the Blu-Ray disc but the DVD has all the extras from the DVD release. Hmmmmmmmmmmm....
-Full-Length Film in 1080P
DVD "Bonus" Disc:
-Full-Length Film in SD
-Commentary with Kevin Smith and Scott Masier
-Multiple Language Tracks
Yep, that's right. If you want commentary ([...]commentary aside), you have to watch the movie in standard definition because for some reason, they could not be bothered to move such features to the Blu-Ray disc itself.
on December 13, 2000
I couldn't believe my eyes last night when I was watching ALL THE KING'S MEN:THE SECRET LIFE OF ELVIS, about Elvis' so-called Memphis Mafia, when I got so fascinated by these men and their behind-the-scenes stories about the King, and then one of them started to look familiar..."Wait a minute!" I thought, "That red headed man looks like the guy from ROADHOUSE!!!" I remembered hearing about Red West years ago but I didn't know he was an actor and so I just looked him up on the cast list for ROADHOUSE and there he was!
This is an entertaining movie, with a good hero, terrific supporting actors, and Ben Gazzara is just right as the small town mean rich guy! The women are attractive, and the bar scenes are a lot of fun, too. I just wish the story had been written to lead to a sequel, and that Sam Elliot hadn't been killed off, as he and Swayze worked well together.
The photography is excellent, and there are several unusual character actors. And one other thing... RED WEST IS GREAT IN THIS MOVIE!!!