Doug Liman’s Remake Is Bigger, Louder, And Slightly Dumber Than The Original

Mar 11, 2024


Road House
remake, led by Jake Gyllenhaal, is bigger and louder with some fun creative choices.
The film features a strong cast, humorous moments, and entertaining, destructive action.
Despite lacking depth,
Road House
is engaging and built for a fun big-screen experience.

Remaking Road House is a choice. The Patrick Swayze-led actioner wasn’t highly regarded upon its release, despite audiences gravitating towards it for decades. It wasn’t a massive box office hit, but gained momentum on cable, a standard tale for many films from the past. High-profile celebrities have spoken highly of Road House over the years, and Swayze’s enduring popularity has always attracted people to the movie. Ultimately, it was an 80s flick with a little too much going on. Fast-forward 35 years, and we have an unexpected remake from director Doug Liman and actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Road House is a remake of the original 1989 film, which followed protagonist Dalton, a Ph.D. educated bouncer at the roughest bar in the south known as the Double Deuce. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Dalton, with two major changes including Dalton being a retired UFC fighter and the bar locale being in the Florida Keys.ProsRoad House can be creative & the cast is greatThe film’s action scenes are loud and entertaining ConsThe characters and story lack depthThe film’s action scenes are too neat despite the destruction

2024’s Road House transplants the story to Florida, switches out the primary motivation of the bad guy while keeping his general shadiness intact, and features rising star Daniela Mechior as the obligatory love interest, and a decent crop of fresh new talent that are at the precipice of great careers. Oh, and Conor McGregor and Post Malone join the fun, continuing the trend of popular athletes and musicians jumping into acting.

Doug Liman’s Road House Amps Up The Energy With Bigger Fights & Action
Custom Image by Grant Hermanns

Road House is the prime example of a remake wanting to be bigger and louder than its predecessor. Liman makes it clear that he is interested in Road House being the vessel with which he can make some creative choices. The director is no stranger to compelling filmmaking techniques, and he ensures the camera and editing have a huge role in most of his projects. The script is mind-numbingly silly and, at times, doesn’t try to elevate the remake meaningfully; it’s really about engaging with the wild action and nothing else.

Liman envelops us in the disorientating, fast-paced, and nauseating nature of bar fights and mixed martial arts — the two are intrinsically linked here due to the change in Dalton’s backstory. Liman unleashes his inner Guy Ritchie, borrowing the British director’s signature style with hand-to-hand fights, but he ramps it up. Considering how gnarly the fights get and how destructive the bad guys and Dalton are, the action is just a touch too clean and sharp, the CGI a bit laughable, and the destruction defies physics and medical possibilities. However, the goal is clear, and it’s all so very entertaining.

Jake Gyllenhaal Reaffirms Himself As A Versatile Actor

Gyllenhaal is the shining star of the movie. Like the original, Road House relies on objectifying the desired male physique while starring a very well-liked actor. Liman and Gyllenhaal deliver on both fronts. It isn’t just the washboard abs, the thick thighs, and that shit-eating grin that Liman captures so beautifully on camera, it’s the whole package. Gyllenhaal has this incredible ability to modulate his acting to suit different projects. His ability to shift from serious mode to silly fun mode to subtle and cool is palpable.

The cast also perfectly nails the juvenile humor that reinforces Liman’s vision to make a fun, rowdy movie that feels like one big glorified bar fight.

Dalton is not a unique role, but Gyllenhaal injects the right amount of brooding, charm, and silliness that makes this film so much more entertaining than a remake usually is. Typically, actors attempt to recapture the performance their predecessors gave; here, Gyllenhaal takes on Dalton as if he is an entirely new creation.

The script doesn’t give us too much. In fact, it leaves out critical components of Dalton’s motivations for us and the characters to speculate about. Yet, Gyllenhaal tunes his performance to make Dalton the ideal figure for such speculation. Any reasoning the characters come up with can be true. As one character rightly expresses, he is neither the hero nor the villain, similar to the classic Western protagonist.

The Ensemble Cast Elevates The Film With Their Talent

The cast is balanced, with up-and-coming talent on both sides of the good and bad spectrum. The Road House staff (Lukas Gage, B.K. Cannon and Dominique Columbus) are perfectly utilized. They are present long enough to create the bar’s atmosphere and illustrate why Jessica Williams’ Frankie is so right to hire Dalton to protect her bar, as well as why the community continues to visit despite such violent disruptions.

Arturo Castro (a scene-stealer as Moe), JD Pardo, Darren Barnet, and Beau Knapp round out the hilariously incompetent lackeys for Billy Magnussen’s Brandt. Crucially, the community in Glass Keys is wonderfully fleshed out, especially with Kevin Caroll’s Stephen and Hannah Lanier’s Charlie, the initial people Dalton meets, who embody the community’s peaceful, genuine, and bright spirit that Frankie and, subsequently, Dalton wants to protect.

Road House
premiered during the 2024 SXSW Film & TV Festival. It begins streaming on Prime Video on March 21.

Jessica Williams & Daniela Melchior Deserve Better, But Road House Didn’t Need Both

Where Road House stumbles is with Jessica Williams and Daniela Melchior. Williams is engaging from the jump — her dry, sardonic delivery and dark jokes set the bar for what we should expect in the comedy department. Yet she is grounded enough to have us root for her and the Road House as it faces escalated attacks from Brandt. Melchior, who gets her moments, is the obligatory love interest, directly referencing the character from the original. Both women know more about the dark underbelly of Glass Keys than they care to admit.

They withhold the information for too long, and we never really understand why, despite getting along with Dalton. Ultimately, the film would have probably benefited from blending the two characters, giving Williams more space to showcase her skills as an actress while taking advantage of the undeniable chemistry between her and Gyllenhaal. Sure, it’s amusing when Joaquim de Almeida appears for the first time, and we quickly put two and two together about Melchior’s dynamic with Dalton. However, the roles could have very easily merged, especially since Melchior doesn’t elevate the thin role she’s given.

Road House Is A Rowdy Good Time That Should Be Seen On The Big Screen

Road House is loud, abrasive, and maddeningly entertaining. What it lacks in depth or nuance it makes up for with charm, lazy wit, and style. The cast is the winning component. They are so likable that it’s hardly noticeable when their characters are underutilized or wasted entirely. The cast also perfectly nails the juvenile humor that reinforces Liman’s vision to make a fun, rowdy movie that feels like one big glorified bar fight. It can be a stupid waste of time, but it’s also hard to look away from.

Liman was right to believe that Road House belongs on the big screen — it’s engaging. The situations that make us laugh or groan feel the most effective with a crowd of people to experience it. Like a UFC fight, the audience is as integral as the fighters in the pit. Road House is explicitly built like this, and it’s a shame that this film won’t have an earnest run in multiplexes before hitting Prime Video. Still, there is no reason to believe it won’t attract its fair share of fans.

Road House (2024) Director Doug Liman Release Date March 21, 2024 Studio(s) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer , Silver Pictures Distributor(s) Prime Video Writers Anthony Bagarozzi , Charles Mondry , David Lee Henry 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

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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