Road House (2024)

  • 30 Mar - 05 Apr, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Synopsis: The narrative unfolds around Frankie, proprietor of a rustic roadhouse, enlisting the aid of Elwood Dalton, a retired UFC fighter, to shield her establishment from a menacing gang. While Dalton initially quells the threat, their victory is short-lived with the arrival of Knox.

Critique: In a Doug Liman production, certain trademarks are guaranteed: breathtaking action sequences, relentless pacing, and a central protagonist embodying genuine heroism. Drawing inspiration from the 1989 original starring Patrick Swayze, 'Road House' doesn't shy away from delivering entertainment and remains a thrilling journey from start to finish. This gritty action saga vividly illustrates the repercussions of a shattered hyoid bone, with bone-crushing sounds punctuating the narrative. However, beneath its vengeance-driven plot lies a thread of humanity, embodied by a father-daughter duo managing a bookstore. While the storyline may appear linear and predictable, it's Liman's adept direction that transforms it into a thoroughly captivating cinematic escapade.

Centered around Elwood Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal), a former UFC fighter burdened by a violent past incident during a match, the plot delves into his struggle to reconcile with his reputation. Offered a position as a bouncer by Frankie (Jessica Williams), the proprietor of a roadhouse in Glass Keys, Dalton views it as an opportunity for redemption. Frankie's primary objective is to safeguard her establishment from Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen), who seeks to replace it with a modern structure. Despite excelling in his new role, Dalton faces adversity when Knox (Conor McGregor), an associate of Ben's incarcerated father, disrupts the peace, unleashing chaos.

The film maintains a light-hearted approach, with the screenplay updated to resonate with contemporary audiences while retaining the essence of the original. It remains faithful to the core plot while infusing modern sensibilities. The fight sequences are meticulously choreographed, lending an aura of authenticity. Doug Liman displays a keen grasp of the film's premise, despite its simplistic storyline. With corrupt law enforcement, narcotics, a compassionate physician, and an almost superheroic protagonist, the film offers a thrilling experience. It's a rollercoaster ride that leaves little room for introspection, with action and music dominating the screen, ensuring viewers remain thoroughly engaged.

The film's allure is largely attributed to Jake Gyllenhaal's presence. Renowned for his acting prowess, Gyllenhaal seamlessly integrates his talent with thrilling action sequences, heightening the film's excitement. Portraying an ex-UFC fighter with a subdued demeanor, he delivers a commendable performance, particularly shining in combat scenes opposite Conor McGregor, when shirtless. However, Conor McGregor's portrayal of Knox in the latter half nearly steals the spotlight. The UFC champion makes a captivating debut, adding an extra layer of excitement to the narrative.

Despite suffering from mediocre cinematography and subpar lighting, 'Road House' compensates with its compact plot, gripping action, and a fierce performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. It epitomizes the archetype of numerous 80s films flooding theaters. Some films, like "Road House," are best enjoyed without overanalyzing them. Their primary objective is to provide entertainment in any form, and 'Road House' admirably fulfills this objective. Gyllenhaal's portrayal of a contemplative man skilled in hand-to-hand combat serves as reason enough to give it a watch.