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Film: Road House
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Williams, Billy Magnussen, Connor McGregor, Daniela Melchior, Joaquim De Almeida, Lukas Gage, Arturo Castro
Director: Doug Liman
Rating: 2.5/5
Runtime: 121 min

This reimagining of the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic grunge hunts for a grunt and gruel routine. The motivation is different here and the style is down and dirty too. Dalton of Rowdy Herrington’s 1989 cult classic Road House and the Dalton of Doug Liman’s remake, have different first names. John was Swayze’s and Elwood is Jake’s. This movie is set in the Florida Keys, not Kansas City. Elwood takes a Greyhound bus instead of the new car as shown in the ’89 version. Elwood is definitely not the showboat that John was and he is kinder too. 

Director Doug Liman and his team consisting of Anthony Bagarozzi & Charles Mondry set the proceedings up for a ‘fight’ engagement that keeps getting more and more ridiculous as the runtime proceeds. 

Ex-UFC fighter Elwood Dalton (Gyllenhaal) has fallen from grace. He doesn’t look it by any stretch and we don’t get to see how initially, but he sure scares the hell out of wannabe contenders (including Post Malone).  After a fight gets canceled because the opponent obviously doesn’t want to face the fast and furious Dalton,  a woman named Frankie (Jessica Williams), who owns a roadhouse named Road House in Glass Key, Florida offers him a job as a bouncer  in order to put a stop to the local, motorcycle-riding destructive tough guys she’s been plagued with for weeks.  

There’s a lot more to the violence than the local drunks though. Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen), who inherited an empire from his criminal, incarcerated father, wants to shut Frankie down so as to get hold of the property for some hare-brained real estate plan he has in store. Dalton does a good job taking care of Ben’s flunkies while training his assistants at the bar. In a goofy aside, he also drives his enemies to the hospital after he beats them up.

Don’t expect great character dynamics here. It’s pretty much straightforward. Unfortunately you never feel the heat of the Keys or the blood, sweat and grime that comes with fight sequences that go on interminably for a long time. While the visuals look fair, the action never gets to the feel level.The impact of punches are not felt. Sound effects do their job but the CGI work feels rather underwhelming. For those addicted to actioners, this may seem like a negligible impediment on the small screen.  , 

For most of its runtime, Road House is an unapologetic goofy ‘fight’ movie and as such doesn’t have much of a story to tell. Don’t expect any nuances from this largely toonish escapade that brings on the adrenaline gush from pulverising fights that take place in the ring and out of it. It’s mind-numbing entertainment for a short while before the seriousness creeps in and the hero starts getting emotionally invested in taking out the bad guys in a sort of vengeance spiel. The setup is replete with ridiculous subplots, bad supporting actors and fight CGI that could have been much better.

Jake Gyllenhaal is goofy and menacing but his primary opponent Connor McGregor gets to be the crazy one who comes at him in never-say-die attack mode. If you are not expecting much from it, this movie will certainly floor you!



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