Road House (2024): Jake Gyllenhaal Knocks Down the Aggressive Conor McGregor

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie! With Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead, there’s an automatic draw, no need for trailers or previews. Road House (2024), directed by Doug Liman, is a modern take on the 1989 classic starring Patrick Swayze. As Gen Z, my exposure to Swayze’s work was limited until I saw him in “Donnie Darko,” one of Gyllenhaal’s breakout performances. In that film, Swayze portrayed “Jim Cunningham,” the enigmatic teacher. Observing Gyllenhaal pay homage to Swayze in this remake speaks volumes about his admiration for the late actor. It’s evident from the snippets I’ve seen online and Gyllenhaal’s deep reverence for Swayze that this project held significant personal meaning for him.

Road House (2024) throws us into the story of Elwood Dalton, a troubled former UFC fighter with a fighting past etched on his face, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He lands a gig as a bouncer at the remote, beachside Road House bar in the Florida Keys town of Glass Key owned by Frankie, played by Jessica Williams. The cast is a perfect blend, bringing the Keys to life: from the sun-kissed locals to the weathered sheriff, played by Joaquim de Almeida, Cubans with a twinkle in their eye, Western transplants on vocation, and the occasional biker rolling in for a drink at the bar to stir up some trouble.

Just like in the best movies (and no spoilers here!), Conor McGregor injects himself into the story in the second half. He plays a highly aggressive character, and at times, it feels like he’s improvising, which adds to the intensity. No surprise, he’s the antagonist. And let me tell you, the fight scenes are a blast to watch! This brings up Jake Gyllenhaal’s incredible transformation for the role. Remember how he shed weight for Dan Gilory’s Nightcrawler and bulked up to play Bill Hope in Southpaw? In Road House, he looks like a real UFC fighter!

A detail I noticed: I would have loved to see more of Elwood Dalton’s UFC past play out, beyond the glimpses we see in his dreams. This could have added another layer to his character. However, it doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.

As a music lover, the soundtrack deserves a shout-out! It perfectly captures the vibe of the film – all fight clubs, beach bars, and Florida sunshine. From the opening scene with Post Malone’s “Horsepower” (featuring the man himself in a cameo!), every track seamlessly blends with the action on screen. Whether it’s setting the bridge and sea scene, heightening a fight sequence, or providing the perfect backdrop for a live bar performance, the music selection is spot on.

Road House (2024) is a great choice for a night out with friends (or even family!). There’s no gratuitous nudity, but the fight scenes are definitely on the aggressive side. So, keep that in mind if you’re looking for something more low-key. Overall, it’s a fun and action-packed ride that will leave you wanting more!

Speaking of wanting more, this review will be even better once I’ve seen the original 1989 Road House! I plan to watch it soon and update this review with a comparison and perhaps even include the official soundtrack playlist for both films.

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Picture of Isaac Odwako O.
Isaac Odwako O.
Okumu Isaac Odwako, professionally known as Isaac Nymy, is a Ugandan internet entrepreneur and digital designer. He is the founder and CEO of Nymy Media and the founder of Nymy Net.
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