Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“Road House”: How the remake of the cult “Bouncers” turned out

  • “Road House” is a remake of Rowdy Herrington's “Bouncers” from 1989
  • The protagonist, previously played by Patrick Swayze, was played by Jake Gyllenhaal
  • “Road House” is also the feature debut of UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who is undoubtedly a discovery of the production

The plot is simple. Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal), a former UFC fighter, after a tragic event in the ring, wanders around the country, earning money from street fights. After one of them, he is found by Frankie (Jessica Williams), the owner of a club in the Florida Keys, which is haunted by a local gang. The deal is simple – Dalton will become the head of security and drive away the aggressors, and she will shower him with money. Matters become more complicated when it turns out that the subsequent attacks are part of a larger plot.

Let's be honest, no one expected a complicated plot and psychological depth from “Road House”. Dalton has a sad look and fists of steel – and it is the latter attribute that interests us. The audience may be even more disappointed because more than twenty minutes pass before the protagonist shows what he is capable of. In the original, at that time we already knew that the hero created by Patrick Swayze could tear out the larynx. He supposedly shunned violence, but he quickly started shooting a manta ray.

Meanwhile, “Road House” is afraid of going absurd and exaggerated. This decision itself is not a mistake. The problem is that most of the time it gives nothing in return. Too often there's a gray film about a guy who made a mistake and is now hurting about it. Fortunately, the further into the forest, the better. It is enough to mention the first skirmish with the gang or the well-used comic relief in the form of a good-natured idiot played by Arturo Castro.

After about thirty minutes, levels begin to fluctuate. Sometimes we have a cool fight (although sometimes it's annoying with the computer) and sometimes we have a wake. One moment Dalton is the biggest badass on the East Coast, the next he's making sad faces as if he had kidnapped Liam Neeson's daughter. A hero is most interesting not when he is overwhelmed by the mistakes of his past, but when he balances between his passion for violence and the desire to do good. This is the guy who will beat the crap out of the bullies and break their arms, but then take them all to the hospital. Because this Dalton guy is actually a good guy.

So it would have turned out to be a bit too long of an average film, but then Conor McGregor appears on the screen. I'm not saying that the UFC fighter, for whom this is his film debut, is an acting discovery on the level of wrestlers Dave Bautista or John Cena. Nevertheless, he is having the best time in the world and the audience is with him. His Knox, Dalton's main opponent, is the human embodiment of chaos and a red flag, a Terminator without a fifth stick, whose appearance is announced by loose teeth, destroyed furniture and goofy laughter. Every second of McGregor on screen is gold.

So “Road House” stands at a crossroads – for once it would like to be a serious film (despite the boldly drawn characters and pretextual plot). A moment later, however, he goes on to exaggerate the original, but as if he were ashamed of it, he takes a step towards absurdity and then two steps back. It's a pity, because it could have been another video rental classic. And this is just a nice movie for the evening. There's no tearing out of the larynx here, but that's ok too.


“Road House”, dir. Doug Liman, USA 2024, distribution: Prime Video, VOD premiere: March 21, 2024.