April 14, 2024

ROAD HOUSE (2024) – Buffed up Jake Gyllenhaal delivers in this rollicking remake

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Jake Gyllenhaal is ex professional fighter Dalton with a dark past, who takes on a job as a bouncer for a small roadhouse in Florida that has a recurring problem with rowdy patrons who end up fighting and damaging the premise. For the role, Jake transformed his body to look amazingly buff and convincingly fights in a lot of scenes. Jakes does a great job in making us believe he is a professional fighter.

The plot for Road House is nothing to shout about as it is cliqued with the baddies being portrayed as ruthless brutes out for a good fight while our reluctant hero with a tarnished reputation, goes about being the savior to the weak and victims. Nevertheless, to Road House’s credit, it manages to rise above this well-worn formulaic storyline, and end up being a pleasant joyride.

This film is actually a remake of the 1989 cult classic starring the late Patrick Swayze. Since I have not seen the original, I am unable to give my opinion about how this matches up to the original. But even without that benefit, I am quite certain that this version has pumped up the action and violence several folds compared to the original. Not surprising since this is directed by Doug Liman who has an impressive resume of making action films with the likes of Go, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the Bourne franchise. As with so many movies today, much of the action is hugely glorified and over the board. But Doug has a talent for making all this silliness feel fresh and entertaining through well choreographed and elaborate fight scenes that look and sound authentic. The characters are generally likeable, and the dialouge is laced with natural dark humour. Additionally, the film is also pretty to look at as he photographs the film with imaginative angles, makes the mundane idyllic sleepy town look pretty, and has some cool looking locations. Much of the film was shot in the Dominican Republic.

A word about Conor McGregor, a former UFC champion making his Hollywood debut as the merciless and menacing killer Knox. Many may cringe at the way he carries himself as the obnoxious, irritating and awkward swagger each time he comes on screen, blaming Conor for being a terrible actor. I on the contrary thought he did a good job in giving us all a villain that is memorably offensive and unlikeable. He does come across like he is overacting but then, one can see that as being part of his character’s personality. Now, IF he behaves the same way in his subsequent roles, then, I will attribute it to his limited acting skills. But until then, it’s a case of giving him the benefit of the doubt. His Knox, does add colour to the fights and makes we worry for Jake even though we all know, the hero will eventually win.

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