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ROAD HOUSE

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Sept. 16 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s yet another curious choice for a Blu-ray upgrade, the brainless, redneck action drama ‘Road House,’ a vehicle for the late Patrick Swayze, back when he was riding high and considered a hunk. The Shout! Factory has released this one on its new Shout Select label. And, as I’m prone to saying about films like this, despite my negative review, published in the Deseret News on May 21, 1989, it has a rabid following.

Though it doesn't say so anywhere in the film, "Road House" must be set on another planet where the inhabitants resemble humans. This can't be the world I live in.

 

How else can you explain a story where nasty Korean War veteran Ben Gazzara "owns" a small town, so much so that he can go around blowing up homes and businesses and even killing people, but no one can seek any legal recourse. The most blatant and bizarre example is a scene where Gazzara orders an entire automobile showroom — complete with brand-new cars — destroyed by his henchmen, in broad daylight and in front of dozens of witnesses.

 

Why? To get Patrick Swayze mad. You see, Swayze is ultra-cool, and it takes a lot to get his blood boiling.

 

If you've seen the ads, you probably know "Road House" has Swayze as a bouncer in a rowdy bar. And Swayze is the only reason anyone would possibly want to see this film.

      

       Sam Elliott, left, and Patrick Swayze, 'Road House'

Essentially, this is an updated Western: A famous bouncer — are there famous bouncers? — comes into a small town to clean it up. Really, though, "Road House" is about nothing more than Patrick Swayze cracking heads and showing off his nude backside. And at the end he turns into "Rambo," going into Gazzara's lavish home to kill everyone in sight, a strange twist since he has been suffering psychologically throughout the film because he once killed a man in self-defense.

This is also the kind of picture where characters, instead of talking like real people, say things like, "It's my way or the highway." Swayze is a hunk, but his role is just too dumb to believe. Aside from the Jeff Healey Band's music, only co-star Sam Elliott comes out unscathed, largely because he seems to be laughing at all of this.

But, hey, you want logic? Go see that other science-fiction film in town: "Cyborg." Even that movie makes more sense than this one. And it can't be much more violent.

But then what else can you expect from a director named Rowdy Herrington?

"Road House" is rated R for violence, sex, nudity and profanity, all in abundance.