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Movie Review - Amazon's Road House

Take it outside.


Road House is a 2024 action film directed by Doug Liman, written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Silver Pictures, and distributed by Amazon Studios. It is based off of the 1989 film of the same name. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Daniela Melchoir.


"I am afraid. I'm afraid of what happens when somebody pushes me too far." - Elwood Dalton

Plot


When ex-UFC fight Elwood Dalton is hired to be a bouncer at a bar in the Florida Keys, he reluctantly takes the job. After a few days, Dalton falls in love with the city and the people, which commits him even more to stopping the corrupt people who run it.


The Sweet


Road House is such a strange movie, because it's been getting mixed reviews. The film currently holds a 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that is very misleading, because this movie is getting praised for two things and two things only; the entertainment value and Jake Gyllenhaal's performance. For some people, that will make the movie. For others, it won't.


But, as I said, there are two things that critics are praising, and I will praise both of them. This movie is fun. I was never bored during this movie. It was incredibly entertaining. Was it entertaining for the right reasons? I'm not exactly sure. But it's incredibly fun to watch Jake Gyllenhaal punch Conor McGregor in the face on a boat that's speeding through the ocean. And the whole movie is like that. Between the non-stop humor, action, and B-movieness, you will be endlessly entertained.


And Jake Gyllenhaal is another thing that makes this film watchable. He is so sarcastic and deadpan throughout the entire film. Crazy things will be happening around him and he will just sit there and sigh or grin or something like that in reaction to whatever insanity is going on. It feels like he really understands what type of movie this is, so he plays into the ridiculousness and just has a fun time with the role.


I actually do enjoy that this movie does kind of embrace the B-movie vibe that it has. This is not, in the words of Martin Scorsese, "cinema". This is just fun for the sake of having fun. Sometimes, it's so bad that it loops back around and becomes good again, all the while staying incredibly entertaining.


The Sour


I cannot, however, say that Road House is anywhere close to a good movie.


There is a hefty difference between fun and good, and Road House is the evidence that backs that claim up. From a filmmaking standpoint, pretty much everything here is utterly bad.


Besides Jake Gyllenhaal, the acting is...interesting. Daniela Melchior gives a pretty wooden performance as the love interest. Billy Magnussen is a completely over-the-top villain. He was a little too cartoonish for my tastes. But he was overshadowed by another actor who was so insanely cartoonish and so insanely bad that he was the highlight of the movie. And I am talking about none other than UFC superstar Conor McGregor. He is a terrible actor. He plays a complete maniac, and he just goes so over-the-top that it will make the viewer laugh. McGregor is one of the major things that makes this movie so bad it's good.


On an actual negative side, this film is really, really generic. It feels like the writers didn't really try to come up with much of a plot. It felt like they started writing one and just kind of gave up halfway through, so the movie's story is very muddled and unclear. The villain's motivations make absolutely no sense. The romantic subplot is atrocious. And in between all of this is a bunch of crazy action set pieces. It's just all over the place.


One of the biggest shames of Road House was actually the action. I don't like Doug Liman. With Road House, I have now seen three of his movies, and I find them to be extremely generic and I think his direction is one of the weakest elements of all three films I've seen. Here, he tries to do some different things with the action by cutting between wide lenses that are close to the actors as well as POV shots from the characters who are fighting, and none of it works. It pulls the audience directly out of the action sequence. I also think they used CGI to make some of the punches look real, and it actually ends up having the opposite effect. The action sequences are the heart and soul of this movie (if the movie has a heart and soul), and I found them to be incredibly strange and disappointing.


The movie is incredibly funny, but not for the right reasons. The jokes and humor in the film never really land. The movie is funny when it's ridiculous and bad, but not when it tries to be, and I think that's another shame. Movies like this are supposed to deliver on the action and humor. If the story and characters are mediocre, fine, but just make fun action sequences and have good one-liners. Road House does neither.


Final Thoughts and Score


Road House is undeniably bad, but it is also wildly entertaining. Maybe not for all the right reasons, but if you like cheap, so-bad-it's-good movies like this, this is the one for you.


Of course, I'm going Sour here. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Road House"


Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 4.5/10

Story: 1.5/10

Characters: 1.5/10

Quality: 2/10


Directed by Doug Liman


Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, disturbing themes and images, partial nudity, thematic elements


Released on March 21, 2024


2 hours and 1 minute


Jake Gyllenhaal as Elwood Dalton

Daniela Melchior as Ellie

Conor McGregor as Knox

Billy Magnussen as Ben Brandt

Jessica Williams as Frankie

Joaquim de Almedia as The Sheriff

Lukas Gage as Billy

Dominique Columbus as Reef

Hannah Lanier as Charlie

Kevin Carroll as Stephen

Arturo Castro as Moe

JD Pardo as Dell

Beau Knapp as Vince

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