Road House, it has to be said, is a very bad film. That doesn't stop me watching it repeatedly, however, since it's also one of the most unintentionally hilarious movies ever made, right up there with Showgirls, although this turkey makes Showgirls seem positively knowing by comparison.
What's wrong with it? So much, and some of the problems run right to the core. And at that core is Patrick Swayze grinning and working out whilst trying to read an upside-down copy of Sun Tzu's "Art of War".
Let's examine the script, which is appalling. Every Swayze retort or one-liner is brainless, and yet people react as if he's some kind of invincible cross between the Hulk and Tennyson. As an example, Swayze is giving a speech whereby he asks his charges to "Just be nice" to the punters in all cases, no matter how vile they are. One of the bouncers asks "What if someone calls my mother a whore?" to which Swayze quips "Is she?". Well, that certainly put him in his place, and the poor thug is left speechless.
Along with his incredible wit, Swayze (make no mistake, he's not playing a character here) is also incredibly muscular. No opportunity to show off his 'guns' goes by without him whipping off his shirt, flexing, and looking philosophical, preferably whilst stitching up a knife wound one handed. One of the funniest scenes of all involves a young barmaid coming to visit Swayze out at his ludicrously good farm-loft apartment, which is also, coincidentally, just the other side of the river from the villain's hideout. She is fortunate enough to catch sight of Swayze's wet, muscular backside as he climbs out of the tub. We are treated to a close-up of her reaction, and one would think she'd simultaneously had an orgasm and won the lottery.
More ridiculous than any of Swayze's posturing is the plot. How Ben Gazzara, the local super-villain, has managed to grow rich off this one-horse town is a mystery. He's almost certainly the number one employer so long as you're looking to move into thuggery, so vast is his army of morons.
Later in the film, the hairy-lipped Sam Elliot enters as his typical slow-talking cowboy/wise-man stereotype. It's here that Swayze's ego actually takes a back seat and we witness him in awe of one of his peers. For some reason, Elliot is the real King of the Coolers, although the question of why a skinny old man should be better than Swayze is never answered. Frankly, who cares. Elliot still reminds me of Jerry Mouse's guitar-playing, whisker-grabbing Uncle.
But the absolute high point of this film comes right at the end. As if you haven't been entertained enough, check out the speedo wearing Swayze's full-length flying dive into the river to swim with his new girlfriend. It has to be seen to be believed, and the young lady herself seems utterly perplexed at her situation - in that moment she realises she's dating not a man, but a two year old in a wrestler's body with a salami for a brain.
This film is a testament to the truly mind-boggling ego of it's star, and the lack of talent of the writer and director. The writer has also written for Bronson and Seagal, and the director has managed only a couple more movies after this monstrosity.