Road House (1989)

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Released 13-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Scene Selection Animation
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 109:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rowdy Herrington

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Patrick Swayze
Sam Elliott
Ben Gazzara
Kelly Lynch
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Kamen

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
German Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 2.0
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The hardcore action film is fast becoming a thing of the past. This once mighty film genre that reigned supreme from the mid 1980's to the late 1990's is sadly on the brink of extinction. As action fans, we wait in anticipation for the next high-octane action extravaganza, or even a low budget, blood-drenched exploitation pot-boiler, but instead the studios thrust kid-friendly cinematic offal like XXX, the two Rush Hour travesties, the dire Tomb Raider flicks and the beyond awful Fast and Furious duo down our collective throats. And the problem is that as long as these abysmal films make money studios will produce more of them. I weep for the genre.

    All might be lost if it wasn't for action producer extraordinaire Joel Silver. Silver has produced some of the greatest action films of the past 20 years. His producing credits include: Die Hard 1 & 2; Lethal Weapons 1 through to 4; Predator 1 & 2; The Last Boy Scout; and The Matrix trilogy. What is more important is that he continues to make action films with the action fan in mind, and although he occasionally produces a dud like Romeo Must Die, you know just around the corner he'll deliver another action treat like Swordfish. One of his earlier, less successful, producing credits is the Patrick Swayze night club bouncer epic Road House.

    Road House is a violent, misogynistic, testosterone-fuelled action gem. Swayze plays Dalton, considered the best cooler (bouncer) in the business. His new job, cleaning up a red neck bar in small town America, turns out to be a battle of survival between himself and repugnant land baron Brad Wesley, played with devilish delight by Ben Gazzara.

    What separates films like Road House from the abovementioned action duds is simply a respect for the genre. An action film should be violent if the subject warrants it, not cartoonish just to get pre-teens in the cinema in search of greater box office.

    Now don't get me wrong, Road House is no action classic, but it does know how to entertain. Seeing Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott beat rampaging red necks into bloody pulp warms the cockles of my heart. With the exception of Point Break, Swayze has never been cooler than he is here. And it is a real treat to see Sam Elliott in scenery chewing macho mode. After sitting through one of the worst films of the past ten years in The Hulk I had forgotten how good Elliott could be. And we mustn't forget Kelly Lynch as the love interest and Gazzara as the evil land owner, both providing great performances. Director Rowdy Herrington knows how to shoot a fight scene, and the film is littered with numerous bar brawls that are both bloody and brutal. The film's score is by Michael Kamen and he acquits himself well, but it is the music of Jeff Healy and his band that really gives the film that extra element of cool.

    Road House is a fun R-rated, bone crunching good time that should please most serious action fans.

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Transfer Quality


    Road House is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen TV viewing. Sharpness throughout the transfer is first rate, and shadow detail is consistent with strong blacks and plenty of depth. There were no grain or low level noise problems.

    Colours were strong and natural and are a showcase for director of photography Dean Cundy's excellent work.

    There were some minor film artefacts during the film but they were mostly superficial and not distracting.

    Fox have provided a great transfer for this reasonably priced DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are 5 Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio tracks for this film. The tracks are in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. The English track is reviewed here.

    Dialogue is clear and consistent, with no discernable audio sync hiccups.

    The films score by Michael Kamen is excellent and adds the appropriate atmosphere to the on screen proceedings. The movie is also full of great rock music by the likes of Jeff Healy, Otis Redding and Alabama.

    Surround channel use is minimal, with few really noticeable directional effects, but for a 2.0 surround track it is still fairly lively and won't disappoint.

   The subwoofer contributes well during both the action scenes and assorted musical cues, providing your bass management is enabled.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical trailer

    The theatrical trailer is provided with 16x9 enhancement.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   All versions are the same.


    Road House is a prime example of how much fun the action film can be, when not trying to cater to the widest audience demographic possible. The disc has a fine audio and visual presentation with sadly no significant extras, but as the DVD is low in price this is forgivable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215

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