Two Road Houses

Thirty-seven-year-old Patrick Swayze had only twenty more years to live, a fact he was obviously unaware of at the time. In 1989, he starred in "Road House", a film I only learned about last week. My familiarity with his work was limited to "Dirty Dancing", better known in my home country as "Spinning Sex". The alternative title was perhaps dictated by the presence of the lady with impressive melons.

Recently, I watched the 2024 version of "Road House", the latest iteration starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Subsequently, a Major Streaming Platform suggested the original, which I also watched.

The plots of both films are generally similar. They differ in details, but both feature a main character skilled in fist fighting, carrying a profound, mysterious sorrow, and hired by a beautiful woman to protect her restaurant from local thugs.

The main difference between the old and new "Road House" is that while the 1989 version was filmed in a more serious manner, the latest one has a strong comedic tone (though not in the style of "Airplane!"). The most colorful character is Knox, played by Conor McGregor, a thirty-five-year-old Irish boxer known for being the first person to win UFC championships in two different weight categories. After a 2021 defeat by Dustin Poirier, which resulted in a broken shin, McGregor decided to retire. However, due to recent economic challenges and the need to make a living, he agreed to act in this film, and in my opinion, he did very well. Knox is a dramatically exaggerated, almost cartoonish character that adds zest to the film. Female viewers might also be interested in the fact that his musculus gluteus maximus is showcased not once, but twice, in its full glory. While the 1989 film featured more melons, this version definitely highlights the gluteus.

Jake Gyllenhaal (I think I’ve finally mastered spelling his name, I always struggle with names containing double letters, like "Gerritsen") also did well; he trained for a year, undertaking rigorous exercises and diets, reducing his body fat below five percent and building a considerable amount of muscle mass. He looks very authentic in the film.

The main female roles were played by Jessica Williams and the previously unknown to me Daniela Melchior, and I think they did quite well too.

The film is quite enjoyable to watch, despite a relatively shallow plot.

I recommend it to all fans of solid action, though I must loyally warn that it is not a film to which one returns often.

My personal rating: around 8/10. Both of them.

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