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Road House (SXSW Review)

Photos of the premiere below!

Reboots and sequels are always bound to happen. Some people love them and others get upset. I'm here to state that I'm here for it all. The original movies don't disappear when a reboot happens. You can always go back to it and rewatch them. Having a reboot for a newer generation, will not tarnish the original. If anything, it can introduce more people to the source material. Road House, directed by Doug Liman, not only stand on its own, but also pays homage to the movie before it. I was lucky enough to see this movie opening night at SXSW. What an opening it was. Before the movie even played, the big screen showed an honor to Patrick Swayze and Road House (1989). It was a really cool thing to see pop up on the big screen. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), who plays Dalton, an ex UFC fighter turned bouncer, at a Florida Keys road house. This movie is stacked with talent, with an all-star cast, that includes Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad), Billy Magnussen (Game Night), Jessica Williams (Book Smart) and introduces Conor McGregor. We even get a small bit of Post Malone in the movie and even a song of his. Dalton is there to keep control of the road house to the best of his abilities. Road House is ferocious, mean and packs a real hard punch. Some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Also hilarious throughout! Jake Gyllenhaal killed it! It was such an incredible movie to launch off the start of SXSW.

Doug Liman was at the premiere of this movie, but didn't go on the red carpet or participated being on stage. There has been some back and forth with him and Amazon Studios, for having his movie go straight to streaming. I agree with him. Road House deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. The action starts immediately and offers some of the best fight choreography. It is well edited and stylized in a way that has Doug Liman's signature all over it. He is a great action director who knows how to deliver great iconic moments of action. Coming from movies such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Edge of Tomorrow, it comes to no surprise that he can bring on the mayhem. With Road House, Doug Liman is able to not only honor the previous movie with its similar story, but update it for the modern audience. That can turn away some fans of the original, but I think this way works better for a re-telling. I think it's great that the movie plays homage to the original, but is a standalone for itself. The action is very impactful and you can feel every hit. The editing is very fast paced and delivers a chaotic sequence of violence. The movie does not pull back and leans into its R rating very well. Backed with a subtle, but explosive performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Dalton is a guy who has been through a lot and has a sad back story. You can really see that pain behind Gyllenhaal's eyes in this role. His character may be troubled, but he knows what is right from wrong. It was really cool to see these layers play out. To see him in full control of his anger and pain, until it gets pushed far enough, where he lets loose on his enemies. I did think the love story did feel a little forced, but it was great to see Daniela Melchior in this movie. She always steals each scene that she's in and is in incredible actress. The whole cast put their all in it. You can really tell they had a ton of fun with this movie production.

Movies often are sometimes only as good as their villains. We get a ton of cool villains in Road House. Billy Magnussen (Game Night) is great in this movie. He is honestly great in every movie that he is in. He is the main antagonist for Dalton in this movie and executes a lot of the hits on him. He is the one who is trying to take control of the bar and It is his duty to control all of the henchmen to get the job done. He plays Ben Brandt very well in the aspect that he seems super smart, but a bit unhinged. Almost portraying a Bond villain. Road House never takes itself to seriously and I think that works well for the movie. There are some over the top moments that play very cartoonish and almost like a comic book. This allows the characters a little bit more freedom to be exaggerated. No one does this better than Connor McGregor's character, Knox. The truly unhinged villain of the entire movie. He in some way plays himself in the best way possible. Connor McGregor makes his debut in movies and does it with style. He brings such a showman presence in this movie. He is wild and uncontrollable. For a villain, he ups the stakes and gives Dalton a real run for his money. A great duo to see on screen. Every time they confront each other, put me at the edge of my seat. They both beat the living hell out of each other in some of the best action sequences I've seen in a very long time. The punches are brutal too. The velocity of the action moves very quick and we get one of the best uses of a POV shot, I have ever seen. Huge props goes to the stunt teams and fight choreography for this movie. This movie was made for fans of street fights. It is the best you will get all year and has to be seen. Action fans are going to fall in love!

Overall Road House will make fans of the original happy. I think it does a great job of recreating a very beloved film. The star of this movie is Doug Liman. He was able to capture some of the best action with some movie magic. There are some great sequences that had my crowd in a roar. I do wish that this movie could be seen on the big screen, but at least it will be accessible to a ton of people streaming. Jake Gyllenhaal is an action star through and through. He is one of the best actors in the film industry and is always great seeing him take on so many different roles. He is a chameleon. I do have to give a very special shoutout to Conor McGregor for bring such an energetic presence in this movie. He may play a character that feels over the top, but he does it so damn well. The movie is just a good popcorn flick with some great action pieces. I do think people will be somewhat divided by its style, however.. Some will even be turned off by some of the heavy use of CGI. I think it made a positive impact and it was super impactful when it came to the action. The movie propels itself because of its style. This will be a great movie to watch if you love old school action movies and those who like MMA. A good one to watch with friends and cheer at the iconic moments. I can defiantly see myself rewatching this one over and over again. Even maybe having a double feature with the original. Movie releases on Amazon Prime this Thursday, March 21st.

Rating: 90/100

Photos from SXSW (Shot By Frederick Nuti)


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