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Road House 2
You don't dredge up a doofy old mindless action "classic" and give it a direct-to-video sequel because you're aiming to make a good film. You do all that to capitalize on the tongue-in-cheek fandom that Patrick Swayze's Road House has earned over the years ... and you do it cheaply.
So while I (or you) could absolutely trash Road House 2 for being pointless, mindless, and absolutely witless genre junk -- it's important to judge a flick for what it is.
And taking into account what Road House 2 truly is ... it's still a pretty stupid expenditure of 84 minutes.
The plot is this: Apparently there's this always-busy and mega-brawly bar nestled deep in the swamps of Louisiana. And since the local skeevy crime boss likes to deal drugs in The Black Aramdillo, well, he'd really like to own the establishment. Alas, Nate Tanner (Will Patton) is not selling -- especially to a raving blonde scumbag like Wild Bill Lunatic (Jake Busey, and hoo boy).
So Bill beats holy snot out of Nate, which predicates the arrival of Nate's nephew: big-city DEA officer Shane Tanner (Johnathon Schaech). Shane is also the son of the now-dead Patrick Swayze character, dead, one assumes, because Mr. Swayze wasn't offered enough cash to deliver a cameo appearance.
So you already know where this is headed, and how: Shane arrives in Bumbleswamp, Louisiana, to oversee the bar while Uncle Nate recuperates. Meanwhile, Feral Bill Nutjob is still dealing lots of drugs, single-mindedly intent on purchasing that damn bar already.
Conflict introduced, so commence ass-kickery. Shane konks the heads of Wacky Bill Kook's henchpeople on numerous occasions, and the whole chop-socky affair comes to a head when Bill's mafioso superior shows up and wonders "All this hassle over a freakin' swamp bar?"
It's all very broad and obvious, trust me. But, truth be told, Road House 2 is to be commended for one small thing: It's got a half-decent bunch of brawls in it -and- it's got easily one of the most ferocious catfights I've ever seen. (Wild Bill has a knife-wielding she-helper, of course, while Shane is romancing a pixie-cute blondie who also happens to be former Army and seriously catlike.) Even if you just rent Road House 2 to fast forward all the way to the climactic chick-fight, you'll have earned your $2 rental fee right there. Not only is it a vicious and well-choreographed battle -- but it's hilarous, too!
As leading man / head tail-kicker, Johnathon Schaech (yes, the guy from That Thing You Do!) looks like he wouldn't mind graduating into the realm of Wesley Snipes or Steven Seagal. With the aid of an overcaffeinated film editor, Schaech (who also co-wrote the screenpay, weirdly enough) actually comes off as a not-too-shabby b-movie hero. As the leading lass, newcomer Ellen Hollman looks to be quite the keeper. She's not only charming and adorable, but if she fails at acting, she can probably have a career as a stuntwoman. (I'm tellin' ya; that gal-brawl is great!)
And since the saving grace of many B-movies can often be found within the supporting cast, I'll toss out a few more pieces of relative praise:
Someone, somewhere on the set of Road House 2 must have told Jake Busey "play this villain like your father might play him; not the talented Gary from 15 years ago, but the loony one from this morning" -- because good ol' Jakey chews up every piece of scenery in the room, in addition to a few empty barstools, some mugs, and a few unfortunate extras. Busey absolutely raves, rambles, and spittles his way through the role, and his villain goes from cartoonishly evil to "oh dude, stop, you're killin' me!" before the flick is halfway over.
Also somehow worthy of note is the fact that longtime (and very talented) character actor Will Patton is now an action star too! Despite the fact that his Uncle Nate character spends nearly the whole movie in the hospital, Patton gets three or four action scenes all to himself! (You know Patton from his work in Armageddon, Remember the Titans, and Gone in Sixty Seconds, but I bet you didn't know he could barfight like Chuck Norris!)
So yeah, it's a mindless, silly mess. But hell, it's also called Road House 2, so you probably knew that going in.
Video: It's a pretty solid (for DTV, especially) anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer. Nothing too dazzling, but certainly watchable enough.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English or 2.0 French. Audio quality is fine as well. The thwacky fisticuffs are suitably punchy.
Extras: Just a handful of Sony trailers.
When I first looked at the DVD cover, I thought "Sheesh, it looks like a porno flick." And after experiencing the set design, the dialogue, and most of the acting performances, I thought "Yep, still porno."
But then another fight broke out and I got distracted. And then came that girl-battle that I'm gonna go watch again right now...