How Does This First Look at Prime Video’s Jake Gyllenhaal-Led ‘Road House’ Remake Strike You?

poster from the 2024 Prime Video movie
Amazon MGM Studios
Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton in Prime Video's Road House (scroll down for the full poster)

If I’ve learned anything from the 1989 cult classic movie Road House, it’s that you should be nice … until it’s time to not be nice.

So, for now, I’ll be nice and not weigh in a whole lot on Prime Video’s upcoming Road House remake (or “adrenaline-fueled reimagining,” as Prime describes it), which debuts on the service March 21, 2024, after making its world premiere on opening night at the SXSW Film & TV Festival on March 8.

The film is led by Jake Gyllenhaal, who steps into Patrick Swayze’s shoes as bouncer Dalton. You can see a first look in the poster for the film (please hold any “I thought you’d be bigger” jokes):

poster from the 2024 Prime Video movie "Road House," a remake of the 1989 film. It shows a photo illustration of star Jake Gyllenhaal sitting on a bar stool and facing away from the bar. He is wearing a Hawaiian shirt that is completely unbuttoned, exposing his chest and well-developed ab muscles. He is wearing jeans, his legs are spread a bit, and he is sitting back with a confident expression on his face. Above him, in blue neon light lettering, reads the title "Road House." Across Gyllenhaal's knees are the words "Take It Outside" in white lettering.

Amazon MGM Studios

Gyllenhaal’s Dalton is an ex-UFC fighter who takes a job as a bouncer at a rough-and-tumble Florida Keys roadhouse, only to discover that everything is not what it seems in this tropical paradise.

Listed cast members also include Daniela Malechior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Joaquim de Almeida, Conor McGregor, and Lukas Gage.

You can see a lot of them in action in the trailer:

The new Road House does have potential to be entertaining. I enjoy Gyllenhaal as an actor, and the film is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), and cowritten by Anthony Bagarozzi (The Nice Guys) and Charles Mondry.

Joel Silver, who produced the original Road House as well as other ‘80s action classics like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, is also producing this one.

“The original Road House has a special place in my heart,” said Silver when this project was announced last summer, “and I am so excited to bring this newly imagined version to audiences around the world. Doug and I have each made some big, boisterous action movies and are ready to bring everything we have to this one.”

Liman added, “I’m thrilled to put my own spin on the beloved Road House legacy, and I can’t wait to show audiences what Jake and I are going to do with this iconic role.”

image from the 2024 movie "Road House." It depicts Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton. He is wearing a casaul shirt that is unbuttoned enough to show some of his chest. He is crossing a street at night and look back a bit behind him with a sense of anger and concern.

Amazon MGM Studios

So, there’s a nice creative team of people who clearly know how to make well-done action movies behind the new Road House.

For his part, Liman thinks the film is “fantastic, maybe my best, and I’m sure it will bring the house down and possibly have the audience dancing in their seats during the end credits.”

He wrote this in his scathing op-ed for Deadline in which he explains why he is boycotting Road House‘s SXSW screening because of Amazon’s refusal to release it in theaters.

Liman also wrote that he thinks Gyllenhaal gives a career-best performance as Dalton.

I can see how it could be that good, but — and this may sound odd — I kind of hope it isn’t too polished. On the other hand, I also don’t want them to purposely make something cheesy or overly tongue-in-cheek, or filled with non-stop references to the original, either.

One of the things that makes the original so enjoyable, despite how frankly cheesy it is, is that it walks the fine line between its cheesiness and its action; the cheesy moments just spring naturally from the filmmakers’ honest efforts to make a genuine action movie (especially the film’s director, a guy with the terrific name of Rowdy Herrington, who received a Razzie nomination for his work). In the process, it ended up with the feel of some low-budget ‘70s grindhouse action flick with a larger budget.

The tone and presentation of the original Road House honestly give it the feel of something that could only have been made in the ‘80s. It would be hard to recapture that specific feeling effectively without being a parody, and I hope the people behind the new one don’t try.

I do think this team can craft something fun and original that can coexist with the original classic we know and love.

Road House opens SXSW on March 8, 2024. The film begins streaming on Prime Video on March 21, 2024.

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