Road House: A Remake Review

Road House

The crazy bar fights are back in this remake from Amazon Prime.

In preparation for this remake (excuse), I watched the 1989 original. I had a blast with those barfights when the live band didn’t stop playing. Fortunately, that’s still happening in the new version. Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed as wonderful as the cult classic it’s based on. 

A new retelling of the classic movie set in the Florida Keys, the Roadhouse is a beach bar in a small town where the son of the incarcerated villain wants to build a resort. This time, Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an ex-UFC fighter hired as a bouncer to clean up the bar and save the town from the rich young bully. Therefore, current themes like MMA fighters, gentrification, nepotism babies, and corruption are there. To top things off, an insane performance from real-life MMA fighter Connor McGregor adds to the fun. We now have a crossover star who does even better than pro wrestling legend Terry Funk previously. 

All the potential to be a better movie went to waste with the visual effects. Director Doug Liman (who said this is his best movie) seems like he just wanted to play with new toys when filming it. That must be the only logical explanation for having CGI in a simple movie about barfights. CGI…in a bar fight movie. One would expect that a veteran like Doug Liman should know better. After all, he did phenomenal action hits such as The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. 

Not everything is bad.

Property of Amazon MGM Studios

Even though those were real distractions, they didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride. Action sequences and fights were enjoyable when they didn’t have bad CGI. Gyllenhaal’s version of Dalton didn’t rip any throat but still was closer to the classic drifter in town. He’s way darker than his predecessor, a guy who still dreams about his downfall and who’s escaping from himself. 

Though far from perfect, Road House is still the kind of movie that’s made to be enjoyed. We’ve all seen this tale in the original 1989 cult classic or other acclaimed classics like Kurosawa’s Yojimbo to Leone’s Dollar trilogy. As long as the live band keeps playing, Dalton can come back and clean up a roadhouse any time and any place. 

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