Road House is not a “good” movie. It’s poorly directed, mostly has a weak cast, and it’s full of ’80s cheese. It is, however, an entertaining movie, largely thanks to the persuasively charismatic persona presented by Patrick Swayze. Everything happening here is pretty silly, but with Swayze in the lead role, you can almost buy into the myth of the legendary bar bouncer, James Dalton.
The plot of Road House is incredibly simple: Dalton gets hired to clean up a bar, goes out, and finds that there’s corruption in the town preventing him from cleaning the bar out. It’s a classic cop story, or even something straight out of a western; here we see through the slightly different lens of a bouncer, but practically speaking, there’s not much difference.
Despite a game appearance by the great Sam Elliott, the supporting cast here fails to live up to what Swayze is putting out there – they don’t feel on the same wavelength, which is a shame because if everyone were as willingly over-the-top as Swayze this movie could be even more fun than it is.
Though the direction is at odds with itself at times (in particular, the music scoring is odd – the diegetic choices of music played in the bar are great but some of the synth score doesn’t fit tonally with the film), the movie definitely has a character to it.
Ultimately, I found Road House to be a disappointing watch, not living up to the hype of its cult classic status, and not something I’d go out of my way to recommend. I can see the appeal, particularly for a Swayze purist (I, personally, don’t subscribe to the cult of Swayze), and I respect the appeal of the film, but this film was, simply put, not for me.