Road House (1989)

Dalton lives like a loner, fights like a professional. And loves like there's no tomorrow.

The Double Deuce is the meanest, loudest and rowdiest bar south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and Dalton (Patrick Swayze) has been hired to clean it up. He might not look like much, but the Ph.D.-educated bouncer proves he's more than capable -- busting the heads of troublemakers and turning the roadhouse into a jumping hot-spot. But Dalton's romance with the gorgeous Dr. Clay (Kelly Lynch) puts him on the bad side of cutthroat local big shot Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara).

The name is Dalton and we thought he would be bigger.
Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is a highly regarded professional cooler of bars and clubs. He is hired by Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe) to clean up his Double Deuce Road House down in Jasper, Missouri. A rough drunken and bloody place, the Double Deuce is just the start of Dalton's problems as he falls foul of town despot Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara).
I don't know if it's the same the world over, but here in Britain a bouncer is very different to that of a doorman. This is something that anyone who has been in and round the profession can attest to. So even though the casting of Swayze at first glance seemed an odd one, his character Dalton (wonderfully essayed by him actually) is the epitome of a doorman, where violence is the last resort and used only in extreme circumstances. All of which makes Road House an interesting film in the context of its subjects, it's only when the makers resort to cheap tricks and heavy formula that the film descends into soggy popcorn fodder.
The fight scenes are competently handled here, and the characters are an engaging bunch (an axis between Dalton and his landlord Emmet is particularly warm). It's also a very sexy film, mucho machismo for the lads and ladies as Swayze buffs up and kicks butt, while Kelly Lynch sets pulses raising as the perfectly toned, obligatory love interest, Doc Clay. A huge question remains though as to if Road House means to be as cheese funny as it is? Because outside of the obvious jokes (plenty) there's cringe moments that make you wonder if it's comedy first, hard buttock actioner second? Be that as it may, Road House is an entertaining film regardless. Scorned by many but cherished by a lot, it remains a late 80s genre splicer that now has something of a cult following. See it at least if only for Sam Elliott's delightful turn as Wade Garrett, the cooler with a reputation as big as Jasper itself. 7/10

United Artists, Star Partners II Ltd., Silver Pictures by Rowdy Herrington, R. Lance Hill, Hilary Henkin.
Stars: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara.

Genres: Action, Thriller

Keywords: new love protection money nightclub revenge bouncer hoodlum brawl

05/19/1989

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