Film: Road House

"Peter, the only 'message' in that movie is that every problem in life can be solved by kicking."
Brian, Family Guy

Road House is a 1989 film directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze. It is not related to the 1948 movie.

Dalton (Swayze) is a professional "cooler" (read: Bouncer) with a mysterious past who is hired to work for the Double Deuce in Jasper, Missouri. In the course of cleaning up the seedy roadside bar, he runs afoul of crime kingpin Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) who is extorting from the townspeople. A generous helping of Barfight Fu ensues.

Road House is rated a camp classic not because of its quality, but because it is one of the most implausible films of all time. Much of this is traced to Swayze's character, a modern-day samurai with a degree in philosophy who practices Tai Chi and dresses like a Jedi. A direct-to-DVD sequel, Road House 2: Last Call, was released in 2006 and replaced Dalton with his hitherto unknown son, Shane. A remake has also been announced with Ronda Rousey in the lead role and directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, John Q.).

It inspired the Mystery Science Theater 3000 song, "Let's Have A Patrick Swayze Christmas".

This movie provides examples of:

  • Badass Creed: Dalton scatters these around like confetti.
    "All you have to do is follow three simple rules: One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice."''
    • Until it's time to not be nice.
    • And no one will ever forget this immortal quote:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: For someone who can (and does) rip someone's throat out with his bare hands, Dalton is actually a really nice guy. A good example is when he pays the owner of a restaurant to allow a homeless guy to sleep there for the rest of the night.
    • He also encourages politeness among the other bouncers working under him, telling them to "Be nice! It's nothing personal."
  • Big Bad: Brad Wesley, the crime boss terrorizing the entire town.
  • Blood Knight: Jimmy is this. He wants to fight Wade with as much fury as he wants to fight Dalton.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: Dalton gives his old car to a homeless man, as humorously described by The Agony Booth in the page quote.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ketchum's knife. Pulled from Wade's corpse by Dalton, it's used to pin down the accelerator on his car, and recovered by Ketchum. He uses it later in an attempt to kill Dalton, who manages to get the knife away from him and kill him with it.
  • Cool Shades: Wade makes his entrance wearing Ray-Bans.
  • Corrupt Hick: There's a no-gooder trying to take over the bar and businesses in a little backwater town with his hired redneck muscle.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The Jeff Healey Band play the bar's resident band, and perform "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky" on screen behind the entire end credit roll.
  • Death by Looking Up: Wesley's sole surviving mook gets conked out by a stuffed polar bear which topples. Rather than step out of the way, he screams and fires his gun at it. (He doesn't actually die, though, and gets the last line of the film, trapped under the bear.)
  • '80s Hair: Includes a mullet for Dalton.
    Mike Nelson: Yes, feathered hair and a mullet! His hair came to play.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Brad Wesley loves his sister enough to promise her to look after her only son by forcing the owner of the Double Deuce to make him the bartender, even if his nephew is a stupid failure.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: A polar bear falling on Tinker added enough levity to an intense scene to evoke some weary laughter.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Wesley's goon sets a speeding car on fire with a single shotgun blast. And by "fire", I mean a fireball that can be seen from space.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jimmy to Dalton. The only thing they have in common is the martial arts knowledge.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In the tradition of John Carpenter, everybody who's ever heard of Dalton expects him to "be bigger".
  • Fanservice: Want to see the bare butts of Patrick Swayze and Kelly Lynch? You've come to the right place. (Also, lots of barely-dressed ladies in the bar.)
    • Except for background extras, the pixie-like waitress/singer may be the only woman in the film who never gets at least topless.
  • Fauxdian Slip: Wade Garrett's "accidentally" mispronounces the "Double Deuce" as "the Double Douche".
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Wesley and Dalton first encounter each other on the road, while Wesley is weaving back and forth carelessly and almost runs Dalton off the road. Dalton probably thinks he's an asshole drunk driver and Wesley pays him no mind at all.
  • For the Evulz: Brad Wesley's actions all seem to be justified—if at all—by, "Because I can."
    • Originally his motive is keeping all the businessmen cowed and paying into his town-wide protection racket; he can't afford to let any of them start bucking him by doing things like firing his nephew. He loses it and makes it personal after watching the woman he was obsessed with having sex with Dalton on the barn roof across the lake one night.
  • Friendly Target: Wade Garrett, whose murder sets off Dalton on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Wesley.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Dalton, who teaches his fellow bouncers to "Be nice, until it's time to not be nice."
  • Idealized Sex: There is a sex scene involving Swayze's character, Dalton, and his love interest (played by Kelly Lynch) that reveals that either Swayze's package is located somewhere in the vicinity of his belly button, or else Mr. Swayze is a very, very fortunate man.
  • Ironic Echo: "This is OUR town, and don't YOU forget it".
  • Karmic Death: Wesley at the end gets killed by the same men he terrorized and extorted over the years.
  • Local Hangout: The Double Deuce is where the locals like to hang out.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Inspired the classic Christmas song, "Let's have a Patrick Swayze Christmas" on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
    Oh, let's have a Patrick Swayze Christmas this year
    Or we'll tear your throat out and kick you in the ear!
    • The movie's title, or variations on it, have also become a catchphrase of Peter Griffin's.
  • Pop the Tires: Dalton keeps multiple spare tires in the trunk of his car. He is used to having disgruntled bar patrons put holes in his tires and prepares accordingly.
  • Prison Rape: Mentioned in one fight scene.
    I used to fuck guys like you in prison!
  • Punch Clock Villain:
    • Tinker. He's the only one of Wesley's goons who isn't a straight up asshole, and comes off as more comical than menacing.
    • Morgan is a complete jerk, but he's only with Wesley because Dalton fired him.
  • A Rare Sentence: "A polar bear fell on me," is probably one of the most bizarre last lines of any movie.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Swayze on the box art. You rock that wall, sir.
  • Sadistic Choice: Towards the end, Wesley threatens to kill Elizabeth or Wade. Wade gets killed.

Alternative Title(s):

Road House 2