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  • Hamish Hart

Road House (2024) Review

RATING: 6/10

PATRICK Swayze's 1989 cult classic, Road House, was always begging to be remade. Nowadays it seems like an inevitability that every 80s action film will receive a fresh coat of paint - even if it's already brimming with intensity.

Troubled ex-UFC fighter Elwood Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) is left with no choice but to scam fellow fighters on the underground circuit. But after one too many scams, Elwood decides to take a job offer as a roadhouse bouncer in Florida Keys where he discovers a criminal syndicate involving newfound enemy Knox (Conor McGregor).

While Gyllenhaal's interpretation of Dalton certainly fits the story they're going for, the story that's being told isn't one that fits the eccentric tone of the original. The 1989 version, while serious in many ways, revolved around a man who possessed a black belt in karate and a PHD in philosophy; a combination of skills that the film continually advertised as being farcical. In this 2024 version, the idea of an ex-UFC fighter scamming on the underground circuit, while out of left field, feels at least somewhat realistic, yet the film treats it like it's the most ludicrous thing in the world. But to its credit, Road House (2024) does pick up the cult-classic vibes towards the third act, especially with the final fight scene between Dalton and Knox which is incredibly non-sensical in all the right ways.

Gyllenhaal carries much of the remake with his performance, bringing the right balance of intensity and charm needed for Swayze's iconic role. Making this even better is the fact that it genuinely feels as though he's enjoying the character; a common must that is, sadly, becoming less apparent from many actors nowadays. Conor McGregor is McGregor: he isn't terrible in his one-dimensional antagonist role, but isn't tremendous either, with the same going for Post Malone and his performance as Carter. Rising actress Daniela Melchior brings some refreshing levity to this reboot, playing off Gyllenhaal in all the right ways as Ellie, and considering the fact she landed this prominent role to begin with, it's safe to say we will be seeing much more of the Portuguese actress - especially with her equally-as tremendous roles in The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy 3.

Prime Video's reboot of Road House isn't as good as the original, but it was never going to achieve the success/failure that Swayze's cult classic did. Being a cult classic in the first place meant that the 1989 version was heavily critiqued when first released, gaining popularity over time. So the fact that Gyllenhaal's admirable attempt got a number of things wrong; perhaps it means that it will only get better with time. How much time you're going to leave until it does get better will have to be up to you. For now, however, just stick with the classics.


About Me

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Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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