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Review Road House (1989): A classic for sure!

genre: action, martial arts

Back in the day, when you rented a new film (on videotapes (VHS)) you would get previews from coming features. Usually they did a good job of getting you excited for them. And this was especially the case with Road House. The trailer really emphasized the expectations one had about Dalton, the famous cooler, played by Patrick Swayze. Like how they expected him to be taller and better. Naturally, over time, stories get bigger each time they are told, but this doesn't mean the story isn't true. Just a tiny bit exaggerated. 

Well, Patrick Swayze definitely is owning up to the legend of Dalton that exists. Although he would be the first to claim he is only human. He isn't cocky, rude or showing off. Actually, he is nice and polite as long as people are polite too. And if people aren't polite, he tries to be as much as possible until the line has been crossed. He is a professional through and through and clearly is proud of his profession. Whether you agree with his code or not, you have to respect it. People who disagree will learn the hard way not to mess with him. Once exposed to the force that is Dalton, they stay clear from him. Except Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) and his goons. They don't like his interference into their affairs. Even when Dalton clearly tries not to do so. But there is only so much one can take and accept. Gazzara is a good villain. He is ruthless but charming enough to fool people who don't know him.

The action and fights are down to earth and realistic. Dalton gets hurt as much as he dishes out. Although there is a little subplot in the film that informs you that he might be holding back. At the finale, though, it's Dalton unleashed, which is hella fun to experience. Obviously, the throat ripping is not real, but it sure was cathartic. The way Swayze moves and handles himself also looks real, thanks to Benny Urquidez, the lightweight kickboxing champion, who trained him. Road House clearly knows what it is, a light action drama, but never is afraid to poke fun at itself. There is a right balance of seriousness and comedy without getting too preachy. Although, there are times it came close.

So with all of these good points, do I have any negative ones? Yes. While I kind of understand why there is a romance element. I don't like it that much. It slows down the film every time it comes into play. You could have left it out, and it wouldn't have changed a thing. Its only purpose is to show how attractive and charming Dalton is. Women are swooning over him the second they are introduced to him. And no wonder, Swayze was handsome and a real man. Overall, a classic for sure!

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