Saturday, November 28, 2009

Road House (1989)

This entire film is a frat-boy’s wet dream. All the men are testosterone pumping ultimate fighters with big muscles and short tempers, and all the women are blonde, big-breasted, and dull as dog shit. The plot is nonsensical and full of holes, and the film is too fast paced for its own good. It’s a film of the lowest common denominator, but it’s pretty sweet nonetheless.

Patrick Swayze, at the height of his pretty-boy glory, plays a man known by one name and one name only: Dalton. Dalton’s a bad-ass motherfucker with a reputation as the best club bouncer in the country. The movie starts with Dalton being hired by an awkward club owner from a small-town in Kansas who owns a bar that resembles a mix between Mos Eisely and a parking lot at a Motley Crue concert. Anyway, Dalton comes in and cleans the place up, turning it into something that looks like a yuppie’s utopia, with pink neon lights and turquoise carpets all around. Radical pad, man!

The second half of the film is infinitely worse than the first. While the first half is genuinely exciting, with edge-of-your-seat style action and pacing, the second half resembles more of a slow-burning action-drama, which is a total boner-killer, especially considering how awesome the first half was in comparison. In the first half, there’s a lot of tension and suspense, as Dalton enters a world that we, as viewers, think is too extreme for him to handle. Once we’re proved wrong, our interest increases, and now, it’s the films job to expand on these obstacles facing the hero, to give him new, interesting things to do in order to keep our interest intact.

Unfortunately, Road House fails to do this. After Dalton has established himself as the baddest mofo around and has rid the bar of all its scumbags, a new set of bad guys enter the picture, this time led by a rich crime boss who holds the entire city hostage in his iron fist of fear. For more than an hour, Swayze battles the same three goons over and over again, and it gets prettytedious after a while.

There’s also a boring love-interest introduced about half-way through, which is a standard part of any stupid action movie from the 80’s or 90’s. This love-interest, though, is one of the most boring and pointless characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of enduring. Her only reason for being in the film is so Dalton can bone her (which he does, of course!).

The crime boss and his goons are boring, unoriginal villains, and the best fighter looks like the lead singer from Krokus, that is, utterly ridiculous, although he does provide a great Mortal Kombat-esque death scene.

Uh oh, hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone. Whatever, if you’ve seen more than two other action movies from this era, then you already know the deal. The second half of the movie is so formulaic and uninspired that I nearly forgot about how insanely cool the first half was. The action is great throughout, yeah, but the fights are too few and far between, and the endless dialogue scenes interrupting them seem to drag on forever. What I’m trying to say is that this movie is over-long, and it loses steam about three quarters of the way through.

I have no complaints about the solid acting, but I must comment that Swayze’s mullet deserved an Oscar nod for its outstanding performance. It is a ‘do’ of unparalleled beauty and grandeur, one that brings an awesome glow of pulchritudinous flavor to every scene. It is, perhaps, the most masculine thing that mankind has ever attempted to capture on film.

I’d also like to point out that this film has a shockingly low supply of one-liners, and that the lines that it does have are utterly horrible (“I used to fuck guys like you in prison!”). Come on! At least it has the obligatory scene of a car exploding in mid-air. Awesome.

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