ROAD HOUSE – A Review by John Strange

ROAD HOUSE – A Review by John Strange

Taken from the original Road House (1989), the plot of this reimagining is updated but the feel of the film remains the same.  The location has moved down to the Florida Keys. 

The lead character, Elwood P. Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a disgraced UFC fighter looking to survive after killing someone in the ring.  Unlike his film predecessor, James Dalton (Patrick Swayze), the new Dalton is not a “Cooler”, one of the elite bouncers that can be hired to clean up a bad situation in a bar or club.  He is a very talented brawler/fighter, trained to enter the UFC ring.

Enter Frankie (Jessica Williams), the owner of a bar in Glass Key, Florida.  She inherited the bar and wants to keep it but a bad element has been wreaking havoc and running off the customers and wrecking the place.

It looks like Dalton could be a real badass but under normal circumstances, he is a nice guy… until he needs to step up and put someone down.  Hard.

However it looks at first, the situation rapidly escalates as the film’s bad guy, Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen) gets upset that his biker thugs are not getting the job done.

There is a bit of humor as some of the bikers try not to get hurt, again.  And then, Knox (Conor McGregor) enters into the story.  From the very first scene, strutting down a street, pretty much starkers, we see a man who is very sure of his power and ability.

Many of the fight scenes in this film are much more violent than the 1989 version due to the difference in the type of combatants.  Though Jake Gyllenhaal is not a true UFC fighter, you wouldn’t know it from the physique he displays on the screen.  His opponent, Mr. McGregor, is very much a UFC fighter and he definitely looks like a man who could clear out any bar he walked into.

The secondary characters in the film are well-developed and give us some of the humanity this type of film absolutely requires. 

The music in the film is augmented by the excellent bands that play on the Road House stage.  All are good but my favorite was the Zydeco band.

This is a film that is worth your time to watch.  But be careful and watch out for the alligator.


Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Joaquim de Almeida, Conor McGregor, Lukas Gage, Arturo Castro, B.K. Cannon, Beau Knapp, Darren Barnet, Dominique Columbus, Bob Menery, Catfish Jean, Kevin Carroll, Travis Van Winkle, Hannah Lanier

MPAA Rating: R (for violence throughout, pervasive language and some nudity)

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Runtime: 121 Min.

Release Date: 03/21/2024

Release Location: Amazon Prime Video

Language: English

Trailer: ROAD HOUSE Official Trailer


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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