Monday, January 18, 2010

Road House (the series)

Road House (1989) * * *

Cast: Patrick Swayze, Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Marshall Teague

Now this is a classic in the Bad Action movie staples, up there with American Ninja, Rambo and Kickboxer. Indeed what makes this movie so hard to review is that I really have nothing to add to what everyone else has said about it. Indeed it’s pretty much one long fight sequence where a bouncer with a P.H.D in philosophy wages war against a wealthy tycoon who keeps the town in his iron grip. All you need to know is that this is Swayze’s best effort to date and certainly the most enjoyable movie of his career. Witnessing Swayze spit out lines like “Pain Don’t Hurt” or “Yer too stupid to have a good time!” and the ever hilarious “Be Nice” monologue is worth the price of admission alone. However what makes Road House so re-watchable is in fact its array of endless and senseless action to which bottles are broken over people’s heads, bad guys walk into the bar with blades on their shoes and of course did I mention that throughout Swayze is a kickboxing bouncer who also has a P.H.D in philosophy? Logic and common sense simply don’t apply here, and yet the film works almost too well. This is probably the closest one can get to a modern western without seeing it turn into a post apocalypse Mad Max rip off. Road House is in fact one of the best action flicks from the 80s and really how can you not love a film so shamelessly ridiculous? The action choreography as well as the villains are first rate which also adds to the fun factor, but in reality it’s Swayze that makes it all work, anyone else wouldn’t have been able to pull of such a character and do it in the western style.

Road House 2:Last Call (2006) *

Cast:Jonathan Schaech, Jake Busey, Ellen Hollman, Richard Norton, Will Patton

True, the first Road House was ridiculous, but also lots of fun with a western-like atmosphere that was so over the top one figures some of it had to be intentional, overall it was great because it was the prime definition of a fun B(ad) movie. Road House 2 on the other hand is just ridiculous. Starting with the fact that everything is a virtual replay of Road House 1, only without Swayze which pretty made the first one work so well. Everything in this movie is (very) sub-par in comparison to the original classic, whether it be the fight sequences, the acting and the overall atmosphere that lack the sleazy charm of # 1. The only positive thing I can say is that Schaech is decent (just not as good as Swayze), Patton and Norton have their moments and Hollman is easy on the eyes but overall this is an obvious cash grab at a cult classic that in order of even having a shot at working, needed Swayze. Even without the Road House name, the film is a failure in comparison to action movies on the shelf. In other words stick with the original.

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