(director/writer: Doug Liman; screenwriters: Anthony Bagarozzi, Chuck Mondry, based on the 1989 film written by David Lee Henry “Road House”; cinematographer: Henry Braham; editor: Doc Crotzer; music: Christophe Beck; cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (Elwood Dalton), Daniela Melchior (Ellie), Conor McGregor (Knox), Jessica Williams (Frankie), B. K. Cannon (Laura, bar worker), Billy Magnussen (Ben Brandt), Post Malone (Carter) Joaquim de Almieda (Sheriff), Lukas Gage (Billy), J.D. Pardo (Dell), Craig Ng (Dockmaster), Arturo Castro (Moe), Beau Knapp (Vince), Darren Barnet (Sam), Dominique Columbus (Reef), Bob Menery (Jack), Catfish Jean (Clyde), Kevin Carroll (Stephen), Travis Van Winkle (Dex), Hannah Lanier (Charlie); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Joel Silver; MGM/Amazon release; 2024)

“Campy and entertaining but ridiculously ultra-violent remake.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Doug Liman (“Swingers”/”American Made”) with a cool style, grit and some cheese, he slickly  directs a campy and entertaining but ridiculously ultra-violent remake of the 1989 Rowdy Herrington trashy, grindhouse cult film that starred Patrick Swayze. The new version has a fit, buffed up, Jake Gyllenhaal do a bang-up job in the Swayze role, even outplaying him. He’s the hapless broken-down tough guy savior of a dive Road House bar, who takes on Swayze’s signature smile without any false moves.

Liman co-writes with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry, who get help from the original screenwriter David Lee Henry to put this baby over. It’s filmed in the Dominican Republic, which takes the place of south Florida.

For some odd reason, the studio bosses took the movie (which would look great on the Big Screen) straight to streaming via Amazon Prime Video and had no theater showing.

It’s set in the Florida Keys, where Elwood Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal), the troubled, low-key and philosophical professional mixed martial arts fighter leaves the honky-tonk town of Jasper, Missouri to become the bouncer at the Road House bar on a south Florida beach.

The guilt-ridden ex-MMA fighter, who killed a friend in the ring, gets the job because local hooligans, led by a boxer, Dell (J.D. Pardo), are terrorizing a family bar. The bar’s owner Frankie (Jessica Williams), after she sees a fierce looking, body tattooed, well-muscled ring opponent (Post Malone) forfeit his match with Dalton of fear, offers him $5,000 a week to restore order in the joint as the bouncer. The generous money offer convinces him to take the job, and the next morning he’s on the Greyhound to the small town of Glass Key to begin work.

On the job, on his first day, he wipes out a rowdy biker gang.

He then makes friends with a stubborn teenager (Hannah Lanier), the daughter of a bookstore owner, trains amateur fighters to help him as bouncers (Lukas Gage and Dominique Columbus), and also makes some dangerous enemies with mobster connected rowdies.

Dalton also finds time to diddle around with a curious ER doctor, Ellie (Daniela Melchior), whose father is the corrupt sheriff (Joaquim de Almieda) working for the local mob.

After a slowdown with dull subplots, things forge ahead when the action returns to save the film, just as the bouncer says such shit as “Nobody wins a fight.”

Dalton uses his smarts to put down the bar bullies from starting fights to drive out the patrons. They are the goons working for the sleazy drug-dealing gangster Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen). His father is a mob boss serving time in prison, who from behind bars is giving his son the marching orders. Ben wants the Road House destroyed to build in its place a fancy beach resort for a group of wealthy businessmen. It leads to Dalton fighting the crime boss’s hired gun, the sociopath Knox (Conor McGregor, former MMA boxing champ).

The flawed flick might chill you, but if you have the stomach for such a violent and empty film the action scenes might thrill you.

It played at SXSW.