Road House: The Long Journey to Reboot a Martial Arts Cult Classic

The action is solid too. This was back in the day before CGI explosions, and the pyro is impressive. When Red’s (Red West) shop blows up, the fireball is towering, and cleanly captured from multiple camera angles. The concussive impact on the stunt people running from the blast is palpable. The fight choreography is also noteworthy. Swayze can move. His mom was a dance choreographer, so he was formally trained in dance, plus despite his weak Tai Chi, he was a genuine practitioner of the martial arts. Swayze could sell a punch and throw decent high kicks.

After taking over as cooler of the Double Deuce, Dalton tells his fellow bouncers “Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he’ll drop like a stone.” Consequently, many of the fights pivot on knees shots, so there’s an intelligence to the choreography. It’s not just random fisticuffs. The fight scenes move the plot forward, as any good fight scene should. 

Another contributing factor to the film’s cult success is its rocking soundtrack. The lead guitarist for the Double Deuce’s house band is blind Cody, played by the bluesman extraordaire (and genuinely blind) Jeff Healey. He throws down searing guitar riffs throughout the film, and essentially plays himself playing guitar. It’s notable that the Music Supervisor was Jimmy Iovine, who was one of the top music producers of the day. Iovine produced albums for U2, Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits, The Pretenders, and many more. This might also explain the appearance of John Doe, the founder of the punk band X, as the seedy Pat McGurn, a skimming bartender and nephew of Wesley. 

What Happened to the Road House Reboot?

Road House has been frequently referenced throughout pop culture in shows like Family Guy, Parks and Recreation, Weeds, and more. On top of that, there were some notable projects in the wake of Road House. There was an off-Broadway comedy musical that opened in late 2003 with the long-winded title Road House: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80’s Cult Classic “The Last Dragon” Wearing A Blonde Mullet Wig. It played in New York from mid-December to the beginning of February and as promised, starred martial artist actor Taimak Guarriello.

A direct-to-DVD sequel, Road House 2, was released in 2006. None of the cast members from the original film appeared. The cast included Jake Busey (son of Gary) who plays the villainous Wild Bill; Ellen Holman, who played Zypher from Into the Badlands as Beau Hampton; seasoned martial arts actor Richard Norton as another villain Victor Cross; and Will Patton, who played Garrett Randall on Yellowstone as Dalton’s brother. The story takes place years after the original movie and Dalton’s been declared dead. Much like this terrible sequel when it went direct-to-video.

In 2015, MGM announced a Road House reboot starring Olympic Judo medalist and MMA champion Ronda Rousey, who had just started to break into movies the previous year with The Expendables 3, followed by Furious 7 and Entourage earlier in 2015. Rousey, a fan of the film, allegedly reached out to Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, to get her blessing.

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