Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 12th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1989
Director: Rowdy Herrington
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara
DVD released: July 18th, 2006
Approximate running time: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Surround & Stereo
DVD Release: MGM / UA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is the best cooler in the business and a owner of rundown bar in Jasper, Missouri hires him based on his legendary reputation. Dalton quickly cleans things up at the double deuce bar. The whole town is being terrorized by a wealthy business man named Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) who has his sights on taking over the double deuce bar. Can Dalton rid Jasper of all of its vermin or will silence him like everyone else who has opposed them in the past?
Road House was the perfect swan song to the 1980’s over the top larger then life action films which often featured lead characters’ that were nearly flawless as they crushed every new opponent who dared to question their manhood. The skeleton which the films plot is built around is nothing more then a modern take on the western film. The plot is filled with colorful characters that all add to film in their own special way. One of the most enjoyable things about Road House is that one is not totally sure if this film is send up of action films because of how well each actor/actress approaches their parts
Visually director Rowdy Herrington keeps things simple as he focuses mainly on the T&A and the action sequences. The film moves quickly with no moment wasted over the course of its glorious two hour running time. Cinematographer Dean Cundey who is known for his work with John Carpenter on such films like Halloween, Escape from New York and The Thing gives Road House a stylized look that puts this film a notch above your average action flick.
Overall the cast is exceptional and virtual whose who when this film was made in the 1989. The main attraction is beef cake actor Patrick Swayze as Dalton a intellectual Cooler with the world’s most awesome mullet and hands that are deadly weapons. Through out the years Swayze has had a few choice roles like Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing or Sam Wheat in Ghost and yet he is possible most remembered for the Character of Dalton. Other notable performances Kelly Lynch as Dr. Elizabeth Clay, Dalton’s love interest and Sam Elliott as Wade Garrett Dalton’s older mentor. This film also features two superb villains Marshall R. Teague and Ben Gazzara as Brad Wesley the ring leader of the bad guys.
One can’t talk about Road House without acknowledging its mind-blowing actions set pieces like the river fight between Dalton and Jimmy. In which we get to see that dark side of Dalton as he rips Jimmy’s throat out and sails his corpse down the river. Another stand out action moment is the films finale in which Dalton’s and his hands of death take on Wesley and his men almost single-handedly. Ultimately Road House is a film that draws you in every time it appears on late night cable T.V. with its bombastic dialog and bone crunching fights.
Road House is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid and details look razor sharp. Re-mastered in High Definition the film has never looked better on home video.
This release comes with three audio options English, French and Spanish. All audio options are available in a Dolby Digital stereo surround. The audio is loud and spacious during the action sequences. Dialog is clear and there are no audio defects. Removable English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include a sneak peek at Road House 2, a trivia track and trailers for other titles currently available on DVD form Sony. Also included with this release is a twelve minute segment titled “What Would Dalton Do?” where real life bouncers/coolers talk about the movie and how they would handle situations. Other extras include a seventeen minute documentary titled “On the Road House” which includes interviews with Rowdy Herrington, Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Marshall R. Teague, Jeff Healey and Benny Urquidez. A lot of ground is cover in just seventeen minutes with all the participants offering great stories about the production. The extra for this release is an audio commentary with director Rowdy Herrington who keeps things interesting and informative. This is the best extra included with this release. Rounding out the extras for this release is an audio commentary with Road House fans filmmaker Kevin Smith and Producer Scott Mosier. Smith and Mosier balance facts about the production with their unique observations and humor about the film.
Road House is a perennial fan favorite among action film aficionados that finally gets its long overdue definitive release, highly recommended.