Roadhouse (2024) | Review by: Benjamin Garrett

1989’s Road House is cheesy and ridiculously sleazy, but also brimming with personality, which is a big part of why it’s become a beloved cult classic. This remake is a little less fun and a little more dumb, failing to match the nostalgic charm of the original. 

Although it follows most of the same story beats, the movie feels messy and overcrowded. The overcrowding is because of way too many characters, most of which don’t get satisfying or even necessary arcs. Even with a runtime of two hours, the movie fails to develop anyone other than Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, and even he feels underbaked. The messiness comes from a plot that can’t stay focused on its own premise. Dalton (Gyllenhaal) is brought in as a bouncer at an unruly roadhouse to fend off violent patrons, and bring order to the business. In the original, the audience gets a real sense of progress, as we see Dalton whip the business into shape during his time there. Here, he doesn’t actually do much of anything for the roadhouse. Actually, he arguably makes things worse, bringing even more senseless violence and destruction through his presence there. 

For everything it lacks in cohesive narrative and character development, it makes up for with violence (sadly no throat rips this time around) and an often hilarious sense of humour. This is not a movie that’s meant to be taken seriously, and I think for the most part it understands that. We’re here to watch Dalton kick ass and we get that. The fight sequences are mostly fun with some quippy one liners and sense of playfulness through even the most brutal of beat downs. Gyllenhaal is good, but it’s McGregor who steals the movie with his ridiculously cartoonish villain. He isn’t a good actor, but the insane energy he brings to the performance makes it a great one. 

However, for every decent bout of action, there are just as many ugly VFX shots that ruin the fun, and left me questioning how they made it into the finished product. Seriously, this movie had a budget of over 80 million, and it does not show. So many moments could’ve and should’ve been achieved practically, but instead are done with CGI so bad it looks unfinished. There’s also a lot of heavily digitized camera tracking, which takes the weightiness out of most fight sequences. You can see there’s some decent choreography going on, but the digital camera effects are a total eyesore. Also, this has to be some of the worst audio mixing and sound design I’ve heard in a production of this size. The whole film, apart from the music, sounds flat and lacks detail. 

Road House aims for dumb fun, but it isn’t quite dumb or fun enough to make that happen. It’s watchable, but poor production value and a messy plot get in the way of a potentially good time. The original is no masterpiece, but it delivered a quintessential ‘80s action experience that understood exactly what it set out to do. Like many remakes, this one does little to justify its existence. 


Review by: Benjamin Garrett

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