BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Perhaps there is no other movie that best exemplifies the highs and lows of the 1980s than 1989's Road House. It's got mullets, monster trucks, martial arts, naked chicks, big hair, and a bunch of white guys beating the living shit out of each other for no real reason. It also has Patrick Swayze in the role of the mythical hero who is going to do exactly what the audience expects him to do: kick ass and chew bubblegum. Well, not quite. Welcome to the Double Deuce. It's got the Jeff Healey Band as the house band and, with fights and stabbings happening on a nightly basis, it owns its well-known reputation for being a legitimate shithole on the outskirts of Kansas City.
But all that's about to change. And we get to witness it. There's no shame in my telling you that this bad, bad, very bad movie is one of the most enjoyably awful experiences of my youth. Seriously, this movie is absolutely insane. And it makes no apologies for its ridiculousness, which makes it absolute film fodder for traditional critics ... yet the film, directed by Rowdy Herrington (Striking Distance), keeps turning up in conversation and in our pop culture.
There must be a reason. And maybe it has to do with Swayze's steely-eyed performance as a specialized bouncer. Maybe.
You see, the Double Deunce's owner, Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe), has just made a power play in an effort to clean up his bar for good. He's hired a specialized bouncer – a cooler – to bring order to its floorboards. Dalton (Swayze) is a mysterious figure that can't help but draw a lot of attention to himself, no matter where he goes. Maybe it's the hair. Or the shoulder pads in his loose fitting suit jackets. Or maybe it's the fact that the aura surrounding this prized bouncer enters the bar before he does. He's that smooth.
When the Double Deuce finally gets its makeover, local business entrepreneur and constant irritant Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) sends his henchmen in to make sure it fails. Enter Dalton's backup plan: aging cooler Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott). The two rekindle their friendship as they confront the constant stabs and jabs of the foul-mood mindset of Wesley.
Featuring Kelly Lynch as the blinde-haired apple of Dalton's eye and the striking street-wet cinematography of Dean Cundey, Road House is a rocking affair. STILL. It wears its flaws like a freaking badge of honor. While definitely following a well-established formula, the film and its character actors – including "Sunshine" Parker and Red West – keep the grain of the picture on earth as its producers go for the gold with over-the-top choreography in its many fight scenes, car explosions, and demolitions performed by the original monster truck, Bigfoot.
Once nominated for worst director, worst movie, worst screenplay, worst villain, and worst actor, Road House is definitely B-grade material. Blood pools on the floor. Boobs are on prominent display. And the cheesiness is contained by the film's natural grind and groove on a dance floor that's seen better days. The film is oblivious to everything that is wrong with it. And that makes it legendary. Everyone must see Road House. See how that being awesomely bad works?
It is definitely a product of producer Joel Silver, who ensures the monster-sized machismo in the film is rewarded with plenty of big-breasted (and blonde) chicks eager to remove their shirts. The villains laugh maniacally and Swayze, sans shirt, has many a takedown next to a lake. No doubt about it, Road House is beer-drinking Friday night entertainment, with a few laughs along the way.
And then Swayze kills a goon by ripping out his throat. Yep, there's that. With the kung fu kicks on display throughout Road House, who needs realism? Ultimately, the film's action scenes derail the film by topping themselves in a stylized manner time and time again. Thankfully, it was the tail end of the decade of excess and few films after it tried to do as much with so little.
Released on blu-ray as the 4th title in Shout Factory's newly launched Shout Select series, Road House, all these years later, definitely does not disappoint. Tails again!
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 114 mins
Director: Rowdy Herrington
Writer: R. Lance Hill
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott
Genre: Action | Thriller
Tagline: The dancing's over. Now it gets dirty.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice."
Distributor: United Artists
Release Date: May 19, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 6, 2016
Synopsis: A cool-headed bouncer (with an NYU philosphy degree and a gift for martial arts) is hired to calm an extra-rowdy midwestern tavern. Along the way he falls in love with a beautiful doctor, and runs up against the local kingpin.
Available on Blu-ray - September 6, 2016
Distributor: Shout Factory
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BD-50)
Region Encoding: A
With Shout Select, Road House gets to be brand new all over again. The new 2K scan of the original film is as crisp as every. It is at once brighter and cleaner and, as cinematographer Dean Kundey supervised this scan, it has the legitimate seal of approval. Colors absolutely pop. Neon-lit locales are vibrant. Black levels as solid and deep. Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the 1080 transfer looks great. The all-new DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is a must-hear. Fans won't be disappointed.
- Wait for it. There are two SOLID commentaries. The first is by director Rowdy Herrington, but the second one is the better deal. It features superfans Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier waxing poetically about the film. It is a hilarious offering that must be heard.
The supplemental material is all found on the second disc of this release. There are NEW looks at the filming of the movie, interviews with director Rowdy Herrington, actors Kelly Lynch, John Doe, Kevin Tighe, Julie Michaels, Red West, Lisa Niemi Swayze, casting director Jackie Burch, director of photography Dean Cundey, editor Frank Urioste and more. There is also a NEW rememberance of Swayze that features interviews with Lisa Niemi Swayze, Rowdy Herrington, Terry Funk, Kelly Lynch, Marshall R. Teague and several others. A NEW conversation with the film's director is included and a NEW look at the stunts of the film with second unit director/stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni, Rowdy Herrington, John Doe, and Kelly Lynch.
- The Making of Road House
- Remembering Patrick
- A Conversation with director Rowdy Herrington
- Pain Don't Hurt: The Stunts of Road House
- The Music of Road House
- What Would Dalton Do?
- On the Road House
- Vintage Interviews
- On the Set: Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Vintage Profile on Patrick Swayze
- Theatrical Trailer