‘Road House Review: Kicking It Softly

Posted in The Screening Room by - December 02, 2015

Road House is about Dalton, a small-time cooler, no, not the one that keeps the beers cold, but the kind that directs the bouncers in bars. He ends up in a town in that seems to be under the domain of local magnate Brad Wesley, and Dalton, not being the shit-taker type, soon finds himself pissing off Wesley and having to protect himself and his new friends from Wesley’s thugs.

Road House was intended as a star-vehicle for the late Patrick Swayze, and that is usually code for: make the star look cool. Road House is no exception. Throughout the movie we see Dalton shirtless, showing off his muscles, the guy can take pain, he’s mysterious, and oh yeah, he seems to know philosophy and have more going on in his head than the whole town put together. In short: Dalton seems to have been designed and calculated as an artificial being instead of existing as an actual human. The kind of character that the filmmakers seemed to have created with the hopes of coasting on Swayze’s charisma and looks, and always with the intent of making him seem cool. We like him, but we don’t believe him, and in turn we don’t really believe in anything else in the movie.

For all the power Wesley has in the movie, we never understand or come to understand how come the cops or anyone else hasn’t gotten involved. Not even at least a throw-away scene where we see Wesley giving money to the local sheriff. Details like these constantly stretch the credibility of the film. Wesley’s control over the town takes too long to become clear and in turn, it becomes hard to care about what happens in the movie.

But then comes the third act; the movie stops dilly-dallying over superfluous bar fights and weak romantic subplots, and we get the final confrontation between Dalton and the thugs. The movie finally explodes in more ways than one; cars fly and explode, stuffed bears are used as weapons, blood and bullets splash the screen, cheesy one-liners and gunshots blast out of the speakers. It’s an entertaining, cheesy, bloody climax in a way that 80’s movies used to deliver in spades. One wishes the whole movie would’ve been like this from the start, it surely would’ve been more fun.

Final Say: Skip It

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