The world has changed a lot since 1989, but that does not mean action movies should. At the end of the day, there is something quintessentially appealing about the lone individual standing tall against the many, and the underdog who is ready to do what is right, one bicep curl at a time. For a generation of specific barfly moviegoers, Road House (1989) is an undisputed classic that is probably playing tonight in a dive somewhere out there. In that cult favorite, Patrick Swayze’s tough guy bouncer (or “cooler”) James Dalton travels from New York City to Missouri in order to bring big city values to the sticks.
Yet in this year’s upcoming Road House remake, it is Jake Gyllenhaal’s washed up UFC fighter Elwood Dalton who travels to rural America in order to protect it from the most hideous villain of all in the 21st century: luxury developers.
“Brand wants to take the road house away from me,” Jessica Williams says in the trailer about an aptly named corporate scumbag played by Billy Magnussen. “He wants to build some bullshit resort for a bunch of rich assholes.”
That’s right, in Road House ’24, our hero is not so much trying to get his groove back by smashing good ol’ boys heads together; he’s instead protecting the good ol’ boys (or girls?) from douchebags who want to build another trust fund kid vacay spot in the Florida Keys. In other words, it is more or less the same story but with an apt wrinkle for a modern audience who has seen off-screen the best rat-infested, hole-in-the-wall, favorite-little-shitholes become few and fewer while making way for yet more Starbucks’, more banks, and of course more resorts in slices of paradise that will price out locals and anyone else making less than six figures annually.
You know what, Gyllenhaal? Give Magnussen’s character another swift kick to the guts for us! Heck, even do the highly implausible and try to survive three minutes of “play time” with Conor McGregor!
Road House 2024 also stars The Suicide Squad’s Daniela Melchior, Darren Barnet, and Joaquim de Almeida. The film is directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, the original The Bourne Identity), and will make its world premiere in March at the SXSW Film Festival. Afterward, expect it to arrive on Amazon Prime Video on March 21. Fight on.