It was the early 1990’s and I was around 7 years old give or take, I was obsessed with a movie that my parents had taped onto VHS direct from TV, that film was Road House. I would watch Road House at least once a month; I knew it word for word, and I knew exactly when to fast forward through the commercials. I’m aware that it’s probably not a suitable film for a 7-year-old, and some might say I had negligent parents, but personally, I believe they were responsible enough to make sure I had good taste in films.
So, is it still any good?Okay, so first off I think I need to inform you all that I am extremely biased here, I love this movie. Road House is an unashamed, straight up action movie. It’s dated, it’s 80’s as fuck, the fashion is bad (bleached hair with black roots was a fashionable thing), and it has all sorts of bad assery (SPOILERS) such as Patrick Swayze tearing out a dudes throat with his bare hands. Seriously, what’s not to love? All 7-year-old me wanted to be when I was older was a hybrid mix of Dalton, Jack Burton and Han Solo.So what is Road House about? It’s a simple movie, Swayze plays Dalton, who is a cooler. A cooler is a guy that runs the bouncers, runs the bar, and makes sure people don’t get too hammered. He makes sure that fights don’t happen, or if they do, they don’t get too out of control and Dalton, well you guessed it, he is the best in the business. Dalton is the cooler of a respectful and popular establishment in New York, he is approached by Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe).
Tighlman owns a road house called the Double Deuce in Jasper County, Missouri. The Double Deuce is a rough joint, full of hard drinkers, brawlers and all sorts of degenerates. Tighlman is desperate to have his road house become a safe and prospering establishment. Obviously, Dalton takes the job. As he goes about turning the Deuce into a popular place again, he attracts the attention of local rich asshole villain Wesley (played by the brilliant and late Ben Gazzara), who pretty much runs the town. I’m sure you can guess what happens when they cross paths.
I’d be as negligent as my parents if I didn’t let people know that Road House only gets better when Sam Elliot rocks up as Dalton’s BFF, Wade Garrett. Wade is pretty much Dalton’s mentor, he is older but can still hold his own by saying quippy one liners and punching people in the dick.
Now what makes Dalton awesome is that while he is a total bad ass, he also has this whole zen thing going on. He is like a kung fu master full of philosophy, but you know, if a kung fu master could have sex with your girlfriend just by giving her a glance. Road House is a simple movie; it doesn’t have much depth, it’s just a lot of fun. If you go into this film expecting some higher form of art you’re going to have a bad time. It’s straight up pointless action with manly men beating the shit out of each other. It doesn’t try to pass the Bechdel test, but if you watch it for what it is, it is such a good time.
If Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing was actually Dalton, I sometimes like to think what the hell would have happened to Mr. Houseman if he refused to take Baby out of the corner, because the story is, if you fuck with Dalton, he’ll seal your fate.