Road House

doctor: "How'd this happen?"
Dalton: "Natural causes."
doctor: "Looks like a knife wound."
Dalton: "Like I said."

release year: 1989
genre: action
viewing setting: home Bluray 12/16/17 and 1/13/16 and DVD, 11/12/04 and 2/7/03

synopsis: Dalton's the best bouncer in the business - but when he takes a job in a little town ruled by a corrupt boss and his goons, people and things get broken.

impressions: This is the ultimate guy movie: tough guys and hot women bound together by a plot heavy on machismo and revenge. Throw in some good music, the always-reliable themes of standing up for yourself and revenge, and a little monster truck destruction, and you end up with this movie full of bad-asses and the people they beat up. As I said, the basic idea is that a bouncer gets hired to clean up a club that, as it turns out, is being harassed by a rich white-collar bully who can buy whatever and whoever he wants. Since nobody will back down, the fighting escalates until the fatality level is reached. One criticism: when you're in the violence business and someone tries to kill you, you should go ahead and kill them first...because if you don't, they will likely come back and try to kill you (or people you care about) again, and when they do that, you've basically lost a good guy because you went easy on the bad guy, who you're going to end up having to kill anyway. It's bad math.

things to watch for: Any fight scene (and there are plenty.)

acting: Patrick Swayze did pretty good as Dalton, famous bouncer who has a PhD in philosophy, knows martial arts, and only fights when forced to. However, the real bad-ass factor here belongs to Sam Elliott as Wade Garrett, Dalton's rough, Harley-riding old friend and mentor. The dude is just one of the coolest characters ever. Jeff Healey is the blind guitarist who knows Dalton from way back. Ben Gazzara is great as the ruthless, power-hungry head bad guy. Marshall Teague is also great as his dangerous right-hand henchman. Kelly Lynch is a good blonde-bombshell doctor but a poor supporter of a man's right to fight back.

asses-kicked counts: Dalton 15, Wade 5, Jimmy 3 (these are only on-screen ass-kickings and a few are repeat victims because someone didn't learn their lesson the first time)

body count: a suprisingly low 4, only 2 by Dalton

the "hey, haven't I seen her somewhere else?" factor: Kathleen Wilhoite, who plays a waitress here, was the female DJ and protagonist in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, part 2 with Dennis Hopper.

the "you wouldn't know that was her" factor: Julie Michaels, who plays the bad guy's slutty girlfriend here, was the hot FBI agent used as bait in the opening scene of Friday the 13th part 9: Jason Goes to Hell.

the "I blinked and missed him" factor: Keith David appears very, very briefly as a bartender who comments that they're running low on whiskey

final word: The ultimate testosterone fest.

back to the main review page