Considered one of the quintessential action movies ever made, ‘Road House’ is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people. It contains pure testosterone, manly men being manly, and Pre-dead Patrick Swayze fighting with his fists AND emotions, unlike ‘Ghost’ where he’s just fighting against NOT being a vagina. I love action movies, so I was certain that I was going to love it on the same level as anyone who ever raved about it.
Nope. It sucked.
Rating: CRAM AS MUCH MANLY STUFF IN AS YOU CAN (NEVER MIND STUFF LIKE THE PLOT)!
Ah, Jasper. A town where anyone can punch anyone, shit can explode with the intensity of military grade weapons, and hot and cold running tits fill the streets. Don’t worry about the police, they won’t show up until you’re done doing whatever illegal shit you’re up to. And that includes killing someone. This is the world of Road House. Where men are men, and women have sex with you because they want to, not because they have to!
The basic story goes like this. Dalton is a bouncer. The best of the best. After a night of awesomeness, Frank Tilghman wants to hire Dalton (and his fabulous hair) to sort out his new dive, the Double Deuce (or as Sam Elliot pronounces it, the Double Douche). Dalton accepts (because his manly sense is tingling) and he heads on over to the Double Deuce to set things right. After one night, Dalton lays down the law and sets the bar on a path to country nirvana (where you only hear about people’s shitty lives while you’re drinking and don’t have to live it..
It’s about here my attention wandered. There were several blonds, and all of them got naked, so I’m guessing the love interest was the one he fucked. This girl had a fling with Brad Wesley, a corrupt business man, and I guess he doesn’t want her to be with Dalton because he’s a prick. He also extorts all the local businesses because…he’s a prick. Things get personal for Dalton, Sam Elliot shows up to do things and…I don’t know…it’s a pretty stupid plot.
To make up for the shittiness of the story, they shoved in as much fighting and tits as they possibly could, with a few explosions thrown in for good measure. Throughout this ever piling mess, Dalton remain calm and cool. After all, if you can beat the ever loving shit out of every redneck and fat guy who comes along, why not take your time? Bad asses don’t rush a good ass kicking. They also try to make us believe that he has guilt over ripping out a man’s throat (in self defense), yet I’m still convinced that he did it because the guy was a time traveler who told him that he’d be in Ghost.
It’s too bad too. Dalton could be an interesting character. He has a mysterious, haunting back story driving his motivation. This leads to the unorthodox methods he has when doing his job. We see how his behavior causes a rift with other characters and drives future conflict. With a little more development, this could have been very interesting. But what we get is a story that feels like an episode of The Simpsons that was taken way to fucking too seriously (that includes a scene with a monster truck crashing through a used car dealership). I’d describe other characters, but they’re terrible. Just terrible.
Bad acting is one thing, but when the entire movie relies on constant fighting to keep people more interested in the movie than the unmoving hands of the clock on the wall, it better deliver some amazing, world destroying shit! It destroyed my perception of manhood, if that counts. Patrick Swayze isn’t a fighter, he’s a dancer. He was trained to twirl, and dip, and braid hair, not deliver ass kickings by the grosse tonne. Yet, this is still no excuse. Christian Bale was trained as a dancer and his fight scenes in Equilibrium were outstanding. The only culprit I can fully blame for the slap fights that make up Road House is the 80s. Unless your DNA was crossed with a wrecking ball during this decade, your fights looked like two irate drunk computer programmers in an Applebees parking lot at 2am.
Swayze goes through a few Tai Chi katas to show off, but the rest of the time he looks like he got his training by taking two or three kick boxing classes at the community center. It’s amazing Dalton hit anyone. His kicks were sloppy, his strikes were as varied as Christmas M&Ms, and he was constantly dropping his guard, like he forgot his other hand was supposed to do something. I know I’m going on about this for a while, but remember, he’s supposed to be able to take down anyone. When his super amazing special takedown is a kick to the back of the leg, it makes you wonder, what technique he uses to reverse a hold? A kiss on the lips?
Final Thoughts: If romance movies are ‘woman porn’, then this is the male equivelant. I’d call it ‘man porn’, but that’s just regular porn. It’s a male fantasy. The little guy can take down the bigger guy, sex is as easy as someone walking up to you and asking you to fuck, and a bouncer, usually a pretty shitty job, seems like a glorious lifestyle. This is a glance into the Bizarro world men dream about. Sure, it may not exist, but it’s an escape. One where men don’t have to pretend that they liked Titanic for anything besides the boobs and where Commando is a thought provoking art film. That’s why it’s a cult classic.
However, this movie sucks. It’s a 114 minutes of me not giving a fuck. I gave a shit about no one. The story seemed like it was thrown together during a night of drinking. Other than the overall sensation that testosterone became a primary color and painted this movie, there’s nothing about it that makes it stand out. If you need something to look at between shots of tequila, but before you punch your friend in the eye, then it might be a good pick for you. Otherwise, don’t bother.