Movie Review – Road House

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Movie Review – Road House

Category : Movie Review

Director: Rowdy Herrington
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Kevin Tighe, Kelly Lynch
Year: 1989

Patrick Swayze, like Kurt Russell, is a one trick pony.  Sometimes he falls into the perfect role for his demeanor and it just happens to work, through no real talent of his own.  For Russell it was Backdraft, or maybe even Escape from New York.   For Swayze it was Dirty Dancing, which launched him into stardom and got him a ton of jobs: Ghost, Point Break, and of course Road House.  But he never really found that special role again, he had peaked and it was over.  That’s a sign of someone who’s really not that great; Tom Hanks never peaked, Ed Norton never had a perfect moment followed by a downhill slide.  And yet, Swayze is a likeable actor & an icon of an era, so he deserves some credit for at least making a mark and leaving us with some unforgettable if fairly awful films.
In this classic, Swayze plays Dalton, a cooler by trade.  He manages a team of bouncers in a club and is the best that money can buy.  And when a man named Tilghman offers him a boatload of cash to turn a run-down road house into a swinging hot spot, he takes the job & the new challenge.  But he’s about to be in way over his head.  The little town where the Double Deuce resides is controlled by a millionaire madman named Brad Wesley who takes a little from every local business as tax for his ongoing support.  He doesn’t want the club to be cleaned up & independent, and so Dalton’s work is a little harder than he thought it might be.  Teaming up with his old pal Wade Garrett and with a little help from his new doctor girlfriend, Dalton will try to save the Double Deuce, bring justice to a wild town, and face the demons that drive him from place to place without ever calling them his home.
Talk about a mess.  It’s as if a hundred writers got together with a hundred directors and asked a hundred actors what they’d like to see happen, making a movie of everyone’s collective ideas.  A bouncer who knows kung fu!  A monster truck!  Strippers!  Beer bottles smashing!  Polar bears!  Sam Elliott!  If someone had just known when to stop the film could have been salvaged, but it was more a wild rampage than a movie.  That said, it was still pretty fun to watch.  Patrick Swayze kicking people repeatedly in the knees & faces?  Sure, why not.  Add in a rocking soundtrack, a lot of stupid lines, and some naked girl and we’ve got ourselves a good time.  This has got to be one of those movies that’s incredible when you’re drunk, but comes off as a head-scratcher when you’re sober.  It’s hard to imagine anyone taking this one seriously, and really as long as you don’t there are some parts that can be enjoyable.  But watch it for fun & with low expectations.  Just don’t come in expecting Dirty Dancing.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰


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