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Road House

Road House

What He said:


It was a rainy day – the perfect kind of day for watching a movie – I was home alone, and I was in the mood to be entertained. I was in the mood for pure escapism. Having complete control over the TV, I decided to treat myself to this cult classic. This movie pops up on TV a lot, but I can’t tell you the last time I actually sat down and watched the whole thing. It has been years since I have watched it from start-to-finish, so I decided to revisit this kick-ass action flick.

Patrick Swayze plays Dalton. Dalton is a “cooler”, which is what we lay people call a bouncer. He’s not just any bouncer either, but the best around. He’s so good that people in the bar/night club biz have heard of him all over the country. This is what leads Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe) to seek despite the fact he owns a nightclub in Missouri and Dalton works in New York.

Road House

Frank is about to invest a whole lot of money into his club, the Double Deuce, but he has a problem. His club is a total dive. I don’t mean that it simply looks bad either. This place is where all the lowlifes in town come to buy their drugs, get ridiculously drunk, and pick a fight if they are so inclined (and it would seem that most that frequent the Double Deuce are so inclined). There is not a night that goes by that there isn’t a brawl at this place.

After some initial hesitation, Dalton accepts the job and moves to Missouri. Dalton isn’t one to plant roots though. He comes to a new town, cleans up trouble bars, trains the staff in his methods, and moves on to the next town. This job turns out to be a little different though.

Road House

The town is actually run by a local “businessman” named Brad Wesley. Wesley (Ben Gazzara) is running the classic “protection” racket. He forces people to pay him a “protection fee” or he makes their lives a living hell. Nobody has the guts to stand up to him and his henchmen. This really bothers Dalton. He has grown to like several of the people in this small town. Red (Red West), the owner of the auto store, Emmet (Sunshine Parker), the guy who rents him a place to stay, and most of all the town doctor, Elizabeth Clay (Kelly Lynch). They are good people and he hates seeing them suffer at the hands of this wannabe mobster and his cronies. The act of standing up to Wesley ends up igniting a small war between the two men. Dalton even ends up calling on mentor and friend, Wade Garrett (Sam Elliot). Garret is the guy who taught Dalton everything he knows. The two of them usually just do their job and leave down when done, but this time it’s personal.

Road House did not receive favorable reviews from critics when it was released, but that always cracked me up, because this movie has built up a reputation as a cult classic today. To guys my age and lovers of action movies in general, this movie is pure awesomeness. This movie has everything you want from an action flick: brawls, babes, and just enough of a storyline to hook you.

Road House

Patrick Swayze was made for this role. His mixture of Zen beliefs and ass-kicking abilities – which he integrates into Point Blank as well – work perfectly for the character. The movie doesn’t explain just how Dalton ended up a bouncer, but he’s damn good at it, and seems to genuinely want to deflate a situation with as little violence as possible. But when it’s time to get your hands dirty, Dalton roles up his sleeves and gets to work like nobody else. The people in his league are Wade – who Sam Elliot plays perfectly – and Wesley’s main goon Jimmy (played by Marshall R. Teague). Sam Elliot just looks so freaking cool with his silver mane, beard, and deep voice. For an old guy, he can still scrap too! Marshall Teague was so good as the villain I can’t believe this guy didn’t have a bigger career. He was in his prime in this movie and it was also the heyday of action movies, so it baffles me how this guy wasn’t a star. He was the perfect bad guy. He was a total sociopath.

Road House

The supporting roles were all good too. Red West and Sunshine Parker both shared the sidekick role. Kevin Tighe played a bit of that role as well. All three of them each brought something to the table without making the movie seem overcrowded. Kelly Lynch was a good love interest too. She’s drawn to Dalton because he’s good looking and smart, but also leery of him because of his lifestyle. Lynch does a really good job at portraying the torn character.

Ben Gazzara was fantast as Swayze’s counterpart. Brad Wesley is not a physical match for Dalton, but he sure is a bastard.Plus, he has his goons to fill that role, and there are plenty of them (one played bt wrestling great Terry Funk). He was the perfect brains to Dalton’s brawn. These two played off one another really well.

If you are a fan of old-school action flicks with memorable music, good fight scenes, and just enough emotion to keep you interested (in a cheesy 80s kind of way), this should be right up your alley. It’s one of the all-time great action movies. They don’t make movies like this anymore.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on December 29, 2013.