Monday 8 April 2024

Movie Review: Road House (2024)

Genre: Action  
Director: Doug Liman  
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Conor McGregor  
Running Time: 121 minutes  

Synopsis: Former mixed martial arts competitor Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) accepts a job as a bouncer at a Road House eatery in the Florida Keys. He soon tangles with local goon Dell (JD Pardo), who is causing nightly chaos so that owner Frankie (Jessica Williams) sells out to corrupt land developer Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen). Dalton starts a romance with emergency room doctor Ellie (Daniela Melchior), but once he subdues Dell bigger challenges await in the intimidating form of Knox (Conor McGregor), who is brought in by the Brandt family to settle scores.

What Works Well: The production values are high, Jake Gyllenhaal adopts a less-is-more attitude in mimicking Western heroes-with-a-past, and professional MMA champion Conor McGregor unleashes bare-assed cartoon levels of villainy with a perpetual sneer.

What Does Not Work As Well: This unnecessary and charisma-free remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze original replaces low-budget cheese with distracted bloat. The nefarious plot recycles tired evil land developer clich├ęs and loses sense-of-place intimacy by expanding too far beyond the Road House. The music is uninspired, the romance inconclusive, and the climactic scenes over-cooked with Bond-level stunts and explosions. A subplot featuring another local business owner and his daughter drifts sideways and is then abandoned. 

Conclusion: Gracelessly rowdy.

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