Road House, released in 1989 and starring Patrick Swayze as a legendary “cooler” who doles out sage wisdom between knuckle sandwiches while cleaning up rowdy honky tonks, is beloved by many as one of the greatest dumb movies of all time. And as Hollywood producers are fond of saying, “You liked that thing? Well, what if we were to resell it to you?”
So here comes the Road House remake, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton. A long-in-the-works project once slated to star UFC-turned-WWE star Ronda Rousey (who shares a nickname with original Road House director “Rowdy” Herrington), the version that actually made it into production teams an insanely ripped-looking Gyllenhaal with director Doug Liman (American Made, Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity), who’s occasionally one of the best action directors working. It’s set to hit Prime Video Thursday, March 21st, and the trailer is right here:
It’s hard to imagine world famous coolers like Dalton and Wade (Sam Elliott) existing in the same universe as MMA fighting-as-a-career, but that’s exactly what we’re getting in this new Road House iteration, which reimagines Dalton as an ex-UFC fighter sleeping in his car and slapping around townies for folding money. It also trades Jasper, Missouri (actually shot mostly in Reedley, California) for the Florida Keys. “I own a ROAD HOUSE, out in the Florida Keys,” Daily Show alum Jessica Williams tells Dalton in the trailer, cuing the DiCaprio pointing gif.
Meanwhile, Dalton is still named Dalton, and while he seems a lot more smart-alecky than Patrick Swayze’s monk-like, chain-smoking, black-coffee-drinking, NYU-philosophy-degree-holding Dalton, he’s still delivering some of the same spooky platitudes, like “Nobody wins a fight.” (It’s not in the trailer, but whenever Jake Gyllenhaal gets around to saying “Pain don’t hurt” will surely be the chug-your-beer moment in the Road House remake drinking game.)
Billy Magnussen, who has been low-key excellent in a lot of underseen movies (2017’s Ingrid Goes West being one) seems like a solid answer to the original heavy, Brad Wesley, played by the late Ben Gazzara. Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor makes his cinematic debut in the role of Magnussen's number-one henchman. Although his scar tissue and cauliflower ears will undoubtedly add a layer of verisimilitude, McGregor's acting doesn't look impressive enough to justify hiring a performer whose Wikipedia page has a 2,200-plus word “Controversies” section that lists multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and includes a subsection on “Punching the Miami Heat mascot.” (They could’ve gone with Paul Felder, a retired UFC vet who was studying for the theater when he took up fighting).
While some might appreciate the convenience of being able to stream Road House on Prime Video, one person who isn’t happy about the home release is director Doug Liman, who says he plans to boycott the premiere over the decision. Deadline published an open letter from Liman this week, saying he wouldn’t be attending Road House’s SXSW debut, writing in part:
“When Amazon bought MGM, one of the few remaining studios making big commercial films for theatrical release (movies like Bond, Creed) they announced that they would put a billion dollars into theatrical motion pictures, releasing at least 12 a year. They touted it as 'the largest commitment to cinemas by an internet company.' I can tell you what they then did to me and my film Road House, which is the opposite of what they promised when they took over MGM.
The facts: I signed up to make a theatrical motion picture for MGM. Amazon bought MGM. Amazon said make a great film and we will see what happens. I made a great film…
“What else could I have delivered to the studio? Nothing, it turns out. Because contrary to their public statements, Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas. Amazon will exclusively stream Road House on Amazon’s Prime. Amazon asked me and the film community to trust them and their public statements about supporting cinemas, and then they turned around and are using Road House to sell plumbing fixtures.”
As of now, the Prime Video release is set for March 21st, which gives Jeff Bezos slightly less than two months to do the right thing. Let’s hope he listens to reason, and doesn’t just send a monster truck to flatten Doug Liman’s house.
Originally Appeared on GQ