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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

Road House

Road House is a 2024 Amazon MGM Studios movie directed by Doug Liman. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal with support from Conor McGregor and Billy Magnussen. It’s based on the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie, Road House. The original was a campy, cult classic given extra exposure by Family Guy. This new rehash of an old movie is available to watch on Prime Video.


For his role, McGregor claims to be the highest-paid first-time actor ever. This may be true because clearly they didn’t spend any money on the supporting actors. The bad acting in this movie is staggering. B.K. Cannon almost wins me over after a good scene with Gyllenhaal, but immediately lost my intrigue in her following scene. Post Malone has a cameo; he should stick to music. Arturo Castro has one good bit of comedy, largely thanks to the camera movement, then falls flat in his remaining scenes. Road House is a mix of bad writing and bad acting to the point where it’s hard to tell who to fault more – the writers or the actors. What I know is that Gyllenhaal had the same script as the other actors and he still made his dialogue natural and believable.


A white man stands and looks over his shoulder to his right. In the background, people walk and a car approaches. It is night time.

I am a fan of Gyllenhaal and he, again, puts in a good performance in Road House. Why Gyllenhaal did this movie, other than his desire to play a washed-up UFC fighter and to cash an Amazon cheque, is beyond me because the quality of this movie is way below his skill level.


Magnussen is the one supporting actor that puts in a decent performance. However, his skill is undercut by the ridiculousness of his character. His opening scene, where he receives a shave on his rocky boat, is so stupid that it’s unbelievable that nobody thought to change it.


As for McGregor, he surprised me with his skill. His influences seem to come from the silver-screen era of movies. I was getting the vibes of James Cagney in The Public Enemy as well as the Three Stooges and even some Groucho Marx. McGregor’s character is not difficult to play; he doesn’t develop and is only in the movie to cause havoc. I would be interested to see him take on a more serious role. He has so much confidence that it’s easy to believe his character. This is especially true when compared with some of the actors who are noticeably nervous in front of the camera.


Outside of the acting, the story is good enough – a group of rich guys try to buy the Road House in order to tear it down and develop it while the bar owner (played by an insufferable Jessica Williams) tries to keep them from taking it over. Gyllenhaal’s character has a dark past that is superficially explored. It’s simple enough and effective.


As stated in the introductory paragraph, the original Road House is remembered as a campy, cult-classic movie. As such, fans love that it’s rough around the edges. This year’s Road House is rough around the edges too but not in a admirable way. There’s one shot of a boat cruising along the water that is just horrible. The scene this shot is in is equally bad with a stupid setup that raises more questions than answers (don’t worry, the answers have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, even though there was the chance for the writers to connect the dots).


When the credits finally roll, don’t let the cool credits montage fool you into thinking you’ve watched a good movie. Remember the past two hours and the horrid acting, the ugly CGI and the stupid plot points. Remember what they made you sit through to see McGregor act. Although Liman directed one of my favourite movies in Swingers, this new rendition of Road House feels like a vanity project of the worst kind. I don’t know who wanted to see this get made but, whoever it was, I hope they’re happy.

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