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by Victoria Alexander

Bravo! McGregor makes an auspicious entrance establishing a unique movie star persona.

Gyllenhaal displays a wry humor and a strong dominance as the “done that” bouncer. Gyllenhaal has found his buddy movie co-star. I have one constantly overused movie trope complaint.

Was Patrick Swayze’s 1989 ROAD HOUSE recognized as the CITIZEN KANE of action

movies? Who remembers seeing the original? Why the uproar about a remake? Well, the 1989

ROAD HOUSE is available on a streaming site, so you can judge yourself if the original is an

icon that should not have been messed with.

There are few films that may have to wait several decades before being remade: CITIZEN

KANE, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and GONE WITH THE WIND. You are welcome to add to

the list in the comments.

I’m happy the #MeToo movement has denounced Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO and it will not

be remade any time in the future. CITIZEN KANE held the No. 1 spot on Sight and Sound

GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME for 50 years. In 2012, VERTIGO took over first place, with

CITIZEN KANE dropping to No. 2. In 2022, VERTIGO slipped to No. 9.

Only defiant J.D. Salinger refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye. The book will enter public domain in 2046 — 95 years after the book was published. Salinger’s Literary Trust, which holds the copyright, may stand in the way under the complex terms of Salinger’s Will and Literary Trust. Well, everything has a price but the Trustees have not been seduced yet.

What is so fresh about McGregor’s performance is his attitude of “glee.” Since when has a

vicious villain showed so much joy in hurting people?

Elwood Dalton (Gyllenhaal) is a reluctant Jack Reacher-type loner without a military pension.

Dalton is a legendary UFC fighter who left his MMA career under disreputable circumstances.

He earns money in challenging fighters on the underground circuit. When he shows up, his

opponent, knowing his skill level, forfeits the match money.

We get a sense of Dalton’s state when he almost kills himself. His used car dies in his place.

When Florida Keys bar owner Frankie (Jessica Williams) sees Dalton at the underground fight

club, she offers him $5,000 a week to clean up her popular bar, The Road House, of motorcycle troublemakers. He takes a bus to the town and meets the charming Charlie (Hannah Lanier),daughter of used bookstore owner Stephen (Kevin Carroll). They welcome Dalton to the small-knitted town. Within days of working at the bar – with free rent on a boat and without a car –everyone knows the UFC fighter is not breaking up bar fights but beating them into leaving.

Second generation incompetent mobster Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen) wants the bar’s real estate. His crew, led by Dell (JD Pardo), is not intimidated by Dalton’s reputation. Dell has the numbers behind him. Stabbed by one of Dell’s crew, Dalton finds the sole hospital doctor Ellie (Daniela Melchior) who is interested in him and his cut, 6 pack physique.

Dalton is not gay. The romantic set-ups are low key. Dalton is too movie star handsome to be ignored by the town’s women. Thankfully, we are not subjected to Dalton’s sensitive side or the reason a childhood trauma led him to a brutal career in MMA.

As Brandt’s crew fails to destroy the bar, his imprisoned father makes a call. This is when we get our first look at the gleeful psychopath Knox (Conor McGregor) strolling in his naked glory through a Thai market. This is a career-making introduction.

It is a tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s magnificent arrival in TERMINATOR.

If only ROAD HOUSE had opened before SALTBURN. It’s star, Barry Keoghan, while not possessing a movie star appearance, has leapt to stardom with his sensational nude dance at the end of the film. There are few teases of strategically placed objects obscuring his genitals. Keoghan confirmed he did not use a prosthetic for Saltburn nude scene.

Knox loves his job and its fruits: He drives a yellow 488 Spider Ferrari convertible. The town’s sheriff, (Joaquin de Almeida) introduces himself to Dalton as “Mr. Big Dick.” I hoped Dalton would reply, “Show me.” The hard R violence delivers. McGregor brings his UFC reputation to

ROAD HOUSE. His fights with Dalton have to be vicious and do not end without physical suffering. MMA fans will be pleased. Gyllenhaal and McGregor look terrific and its not easy to create those bodies.

I’m leaving the twists and plot for the viewer to enjoy. The overused movie trope: In dozens of films, the hero gets his hands on a suitcase filled with money and, wearing his only shirt and carrying a bus ticket, gives the stuffed with cash suitcase away. I cannot recall any film where the hero keeps the ill-gotten money that caused his friend’s death.

In the history of humanity, who leaves a suitcase of money on the street and walks away to the nearest homeless shelter?

The ALL is Mind; The Universe is Mental.” 

 Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Critic. For a complete list of

Victoria Alexander's movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes go to:

Contributing to:

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society


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