Why Patrick Swayze’s Road House Stunts Were Good Explained By Stuntmen

Apr 13, 2023

Stuntmen discuss what makes Patrick Swayze’s stunts in Road House so good. Jake Gyllenhaal is currently getting set to star in a remake of Road House, with UFC star Conor McGregor joining him to give the film some bone-crunching realism. Released in 1989, the original Road House didn’t need a professional fighter to bring a sense of realism to its scenes of barroom brawling, because it had trained martial artist Swayze in the lead role.

Swayze’s legitimate martial arts skills indeed are a big reason why Road House still holds up as a classic ‘80s action film, as discussed in a new video from Corridor Crew, where the gang break down what makes the movie’s stunts so incredible.

As stunt coordinator Eric Linden points out in the clip, “Swayze was a real martial artist. Definitely trained it a lot. Knew what he was doing.” He adds, “Swayze, when you look at his punches, he looks good.” Gui then adds some interesting perspective on what sets Road House apart from other ‘80s action movies:

There was a time in martial arts cinematic history where nobody kicked to the face. Ever. It wasn’t a thing. Kicks started happening around the time of Bruce Lee. Then when it came to America, it still stayed very much, we’re kicking at the chest and at the legs. We’re not going to kick at the head. And you see it in this film a lot. Learning how to kick for the camera is a completely different style than punching for the camera. Also in terms of what was hot at the time in American cinema, that’s not what people deemed as that was what you do. You punch, you throw people around, you hit them over the head with stuff. It’s usually these bar brawls. And then this is one of the closest renditions we have to seeing martial arts kicks.

Road House Was A Key Movie In Patrick Swayze’s Career

Swayze was already well-established as a major movie heartthrob after his iconic performance as Johnny Castle in 1987’s nostalgic blockbuster Dirty Dancing, and could have gone on making bank with solely romantic roles for years to come, as 1990’s Ghost would later prove. But Road House helped Swayze’s career by opening up a new lane for him as a legitimate action star, making him just as popular with male movie fans as he already was with female fans.

Swayze would of course go on to another great action movie role in 1991’s Point Break, before pivoting into a more serious and dramatic segment of his career (with very mixed results). There’s a fair debate to be had now over which Swayze action movie role is more iconic: Bodhi in Point Break or Dalton in Road House. In the arc of Swayze’s career, Dalton is arguably the more important role, because it established the martial-arts-trained Swayze as an action star who was believable in bone-crunching tough-guy roles, adding a new dimension to his movie persona alongside sexy heartthrob.

Source: Corridor Crew/YouTube

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