Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Roadhouse Micro-Review

I can't review Roadhouse more simply than this: Insane 80's actioner works on the sheer ludicrousness of its plot and its over-the-top fistfights.

And that's it, really. This is a cult pic that I'm interested around, not actually in. Roadhouse came up before on this site, in a wonderful way. As such, I can keep that trend alive by pairing segments of today's skimpy review with some examples of what this movie has inspired.

It should go without saying that Patrick Swayze was a charismatic man with a lot of physical performer's talents. At various times in this picture, though, he doesn't come off so much like the "in control Zen master/slugger" that the script is going for; actually, Swayze's Dalton can come across a bit stiff or wooden, at times, not so much "centered."

I know it's the same thing that I posted last November, but it's great to see someone take existing footage and manipulate it to rework the tone of a picture. Yes, it's what Uproxx posted - Reel Bastards' great vid of the movie with Patrick Swayze as the villain.

It also goes without saying that the movie does a lot to make sure that it doesn't focus on building up a lot of characters that we see change and grow. The events and plots that make up "the story" just allow us to have some downtime - or sexual thrills - to keep us busy until the next dustup starts.

How much action? Well, this video is long old, but my favorite internet gang, Red Letter Media, was the first to turn me on to the supercut of every face punch in Roadhouse:

Throughout, though, the movie has a bipolar pull between treating Dalton as if he were a wise wandering do-gooder or if he's a demanding, hard mercenary. I think this contrast add a harsh vibe to the beatings that Swayze's role administers. The director, Rowdy Herrington, made a violent version of Porky's almost; it's a summer popcorn picture with some cold s--t. And, yes, that is his actual name.

At some point in the near(ish) future, I'll be writing about these guys more - MST3k, one of my favorite TV shows ever. Clearly, the movie was so vivid and impressive that the gang wrote a Christmas carol about the picture:


  1. The thing that makes Roadhouse work is Ben Gazzara's performance as the villain, Brad Wesley. Wesley talks and acts like a freakin' Bond villain, even though he's just some guy living in small-town Missouri. He goes from bragging, "Christ, JC Penney is coming here because of me. You ask anybody, they'll tell you." to gloating "I see you found my trophy room, DaIton. The onIy thing that's missing... is your ass."

    In response, Dalton's musing go from the philosophical "Nobody ever wins a fight," to "Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone," (which sounds a lot like a discussion about winning a fight to me). Speaking of which, I would gladly have watched a spinoff TV series where Dalton traveled around the world, trying to find the biggest guy so he could shatter his kneecap.

    1. It embarrasses me that I left him out! I considered it, and decided against - but you're right. Gazzara plays it to the nines (more like elevens), which does a lot to generate some weight to the conflict. Actually, so does baddie #2, who makes a prison insult unlike any heard before on film.

      Yeah, Dalton's got a philosophy that's expounded upon at length - and yet incredibly loose. I think that TV show would work if it also included the joints of dangerous animals! And, of course, the season-ending duel with a master villain; one who wears steel kneepads.


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