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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Road House
Road House
MGM // R // February 4, 2003
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted February 3, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
I think watching Road House on DVD for review was the first time I've ever seen the film without TBS' dubbing and editing, which would explain why I never heard the line "I used to fuck guys like you in prison" before. The beautiful thing about Road House is the way it revels in crude comments and actions like that, regardless of whether the character is good or bad. Knees are snapped, throats are gouged, heads are butted, but it's all in good fun.

Patrick Swayze was just coming off the high of Dirty Dancing when he made this unrepentantly grimy movie. He was probably looking for something with some edge, a quality that this rodeo of a movie has in spades. The story involves a cooler (head bouncer) by the prissy name of Dalton (Swayze) and his quest to clean up the Double Deuce, the kind of place, as one character says, "where they sweep up the eyeballs at closing." The plot itself can basically be summed up as "That guy is bad! Let's kill him!" The bad guy, in this case, is Brad Wesley (a grinning Ben Gazzara), a corrupt local businessman bleeding the town dry. Dalton's one man war to off the bad guy and get the girl (the impossibly high-haired Kelly Lynch) does hit a few snags along the way (can you say Monster Truck, kids?) but in the end he saves the day and still keep his mullet intact.

Road House is rootin' tootin' moo-vee makin' at its best. Hats off to the screenwriters and director Rowdy Herrington (THAT'S an appropriate name!) for working not one but two huge explosions into a movie about bar-fights.

The cast features a few recognizable names, including Gazzara, a grizzled Sam Elliott, and blind guitarist Jeff Healey in his only screen performance, and everyone does fine work. The villains sneer. Heck, even the good guys sneer in this one. But with dialog like "That gal's got entirely too many brains to have an ass like that" you pretty much get what you want. As far as redneck melodramas go, Road House is among the best. The music's loud, the women are sleazy and blood is red. That's all you need to know.

VIDEO:
The anamorphic widescreen video looks quite good. While it's doubtful that the Library of Congress will be canonizing this film, the print is in decent shape, if a little dull in the contrast department, but the image is reasonably sharp and the workman-like cinematography makes more sense when not cropped for Superstation. A full-screen version is available on the flip-side.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is available in English and French, both Dolby Digital 2.0, and Spanish Dolby Digital mono. The sound is pretty good, although, like the cinematography, doesn't really push the limits. The explosions sure are loud. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese

EXTRAS:
Just a trailer.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I'll proudly shelve Road House next to other cheese classics like like The Last Dragon and Ice Castles, although this one is far bloodier. Perfect for a late-night moviethon, Road House is a certain type of classic. Only Jean Teasdale could have a problem with it.

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