Quantcast

Road House – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Road-HouseShout! Factory will release Road House (Collector’s Edition) on September 6, 2016, as part of their new Shout Select line of films. Starring Patrck Swayze, Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliot, the film has become a cult classic since its release in 1989. Road House (Collector’s Edition) offers over 3 hours of extras including several new interviews.  

.

.

.

Road House 3

Film 

Dalton is the best bouncer in the business, but he’s anything but “typical”. He’s a little small for his trade, has a degree in philosophy and he believes in “being nice”. But when he’s hired to clean up the Double Deuce in the small town of Jasper, he’s pushed to his breaking point. Turns out Jasper is controlled by an evil sadist who doesn’t want anyone meddling with “his” town. After he sends his goons to bust up the Double Deuce, all hell breaks loose. Now it’s “no more nice guy” for Dalton as he starts busting heads, leading him to the all-time, no-holds-barred showdown of the century.

Don’t laugh or roll your eyes, but Road House is a masterpiece in its own right.  A B-movie done with an A-level production, its a film fully aware of what it is and never caves to any sort of winking or silly tactics.  The best decision this movie makes it to play everything as serious and straight as possible.  Road House knows its silly, it knows what you’re giggling at and cheering for…but if it acts as if its in on the joke, its no fun and doesn’t work very well.  With the level of commitment set to a high standard behind and in front of the camera, Road House has survived an initial critical drubbing to become one of the 1980s big time cult films and an all-time pure action classic.

Road House really is just a modern western.  Its story isn’t entirely original, just the setting and trade of the characters in it.  And that’s really the spin.  This is no different than the outlaw drifter coming into a rough, ragged town and bringing law and order to it. Westerns typically have a town saloon and this one happens to deal with a big bar/night club and bouncers.  Knock the spurs off the boots, trade in the ten gallon hats for mullets and horses for muscle cars. The fights here are no different than any brawl in a saloon with added pure action stuntwork and fight choreography.  Table still get smashed and bottles will always smash over someone’s head. Toss in those hard ass one-liners for good measure.  Oh and let’s just get western legend Sam Elliot to come on for some good measure and street cred.  See what I mean?

One of the biggest factors in making the entire film work is its star Patrick Swayze.  The commitment starts with him and trickles down to even the guy grabbing people coffee behind the scenes.  His Dalton is the full embodiment of everything you hear people whisper he is throughout the film.  Some of it is right there from the start, but its fun to see the layers peel back and start to reveal that he is exactly who everyone thinks or says he is.  Swayze fully embodies the character, in a performance that almost resembles an American Bruce Lee.  With his actual expertise in martial arts and the nature with which his character commands everything around him, you can help but see similarities to something of Lee in The Big Boss.  Swayze also oozes chemistry with every other performer around him, from the steamy chemistry with Kelly Lynch to the brotherhood and mentor alliance with Sam Elliot. Swayze not only has that chemistry, but everyone is at their best when sharing a scene with him.

Another, maybe under the radar player in the key to success of Road House is the director of photography. That happens to be none other than the man who shot most of our childhoods, Dean Cundey.  When it comes to Dean Cundey, you don’t really think Road House much at all, you’re more drifting toward his work with John Carpenter or Jurassic Park or Back to the Future.  Here Cundey has Road House looking quite beautiful.  He really knows how to shoot Swayze as well as frame the bar sequences to get the most coverage on both action and the regular patron hanging out sequences.  Cundey also provides some very slick shots and camera movements that evoke the old west in modern times feel to the film.

Critics and some film buffs have had a hard time over the years realizing that some films don’t have anything profound to say.  They just want to entertain and engage you on a explicit, exploitative level. And there is absolutely no harm in that.  Road House’s script does find some honesty and reflection on its characters and events that add a bit of a deeper layer, but really this movie is just here to kick some ass and thrill you with tense moments, cheesey one-liners, stuff smashing and some shirtless men and women. Patrick Swayze doe give a hell of a committed performance here that takes this one a notch higher, too.  Many people will enjoy Road House for different reasons, some finding it goofy and silly and some (yes they exist) taking it in serious fashion. Its still going strong over the years and I think Road House gets even better with age.

Road House 4

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  Road House returns to Blu-ray with a brand new 2K transfer of the film.  It looks quite good.  The indoor bar scenes are brightly lit and smokey looking as they should appear.  Detail on the film is plenty good with clothing patterns and texture showing through very well. Also, surface damage looks good and clean.  The image is pretty crisp and looks plenty full.

Depth:  Space is pretty strong here.  Indoor sequences in the Double Deuce impress with good foreground and background clarity and relation.  Movements are cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and deep.  Minimal detail is lost in dark scenes and black hair/clothing/surfaces. No crushing witnessed. A bit of a weak moment to start though, around the neon sign of the bar as the camera pans down.

Color Reproduction:  Colors hold on natural for the most part.  The neon signs and some of the stand out female outfits pop pretty good and stick out as intended.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and hold a consistent appearance from scene to scene throughout the film. Details such as dried blood, wrinkles, scars, stubble and make-up all come through good in close-ups and most medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some minimal grain and dirt/specs.

Road House 2

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  I’m pretty sure this is the same 5.1 mix on the previous releases on Road House.  And you know what? They didn’t need a new one. It sounds awesome.  What you want is this to excel in fights and it really does. Foley work on effects rightfully takes the forefront and kicks as with distinct, layers and fully captured punches, fire, explosions and glass shattering.  Another plus is that it captures Jeff Healey and his band and mixes them quite well.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer literally packs a punch with thumps for haymakers thrown, explosions, monster trucks roaring, car crashing and gun blasts.  Road House comes and it comes pretty hard.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Surround is done pretty well for the most part. The front speakers do an expert and precise job of really catching every spot and movement in action during the bar brawls which have a ton of information going on during them.  Rear speakers provide some unique action sounds as well as some help on the musical end and ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear.

Road House 1

Extras 

Road House – Collector’s Edition is a 2-Blu-ray Disc set.  All special features besides the commentaries are on the second disc.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Rowdy Herrington
  • With Road House Fans Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier

Disc 2

“I Thought You’d Be Bigger”: The Making Of Road House (HD, 1:03:14) – A full on look back at the film with pretty much all living cast and crew sans Sam Elliot.  This one really gets into the grind and goes over all the little details, aspects, performers, directing, camera work…you name it.  Its really impressive and will give you even more respect for Road House. My favorite part, though, is Kelly Lynch addressing the urban legend about Bill Murray and Road House.

A Conversation With Director Rowdy Herrington (HD, 29:38) – This is a bit more of an in depth piece regarding Rowdy ‘s  work on Road House coming into the project and seeing it through.  He talks a little about Jack’s Back as well as early meetings with Joel Silver.

“Pain Don’t Hurt”: The Stunts Of Road House (HD, 22:29) – Interviews with second unit director/stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni, Rowdy Herrington, John Doe, Dean Cundey, Kelly Lynch and others that go over the “real”ness of the fights and destruction in the film.  They get into the techniques and difficulty of staging the 9 fights featured in the film.  Oh, and yeah, they talk about the throat (“It looked so real” says Kelly Lynch).

“Pretty Good For A Blind White Boy”: The Music Of Road House (HD, 9:22) – Rowdy Herrington, John Doe, Marshall R Teague, Kevin Tighe, Kelly Lynch, Julie Michaels, Lisa Niemi Swayze and Red West discuss Jeff Healey’s influence on the film and how his music was the perfect accompaniment.  Healey apparently would rock out during lunch on the set for the cast and crew.  It also goes over what stunts Swayze was involved in and the ones they wouldn’t let him do.

Remembering Patrick Swayze (HD, 15:06) – Lisa Niemi Swayze, Rowdy Herrington, Terry Funk, Kelly Lynch, Marshall R. Teague, Charlie Picerni, Red West and Dean Cundey share their memories of Patrick Swayze. They all share their admiration for his work ethic (Didn’t know what giving less than 100% was), what he was like on the set, how he approach his roles and what a kind  and loved human being he was.

On The Road House (HD, 17:23) – The original, shorter retrospective for the DVD release of the film that includes Patrick Swayze & Jeff Healey in the mix.  The best part of this is the discussion of Swayze’s mullet from Kelly Lynch.

What Would Dalton Do? (SD, 12:26) – Real life stories from bouncers about some of the crazy stuff they’ve had to deal with in their line of work.  They talk about the different roles of bouncers and relate to how stuff is in the film.  Includes some black and white dramatizations.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:57) 

On The Set (SD, 3:44) – Some video of the shooting of a few scenes along with rehearsing/run-thru of them and some chatter between crew and cast.

Patrick Swayze Profile (SD, 2:41) – A little EPK piece from when the film was released, showcasing Patrick Swayze with an on-set interview about the subject matter of the film and stunts on the film.

Selected Soundbites (SD, 11:00) – EPK questions and answers with Patrick Swayze (From the same session as the “profile” featurette), Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Jeff Healey, Rowdy Herrington and Marshall R. Teague.

Photo Gallery (HD, 3:20)

Road House 5

Summary 

Road House is a thrill and joy to watch.  Its a silly movie that commits to selling it in its fullest capacity. Patrick Swayze delivers the perfect performance for it as well.  Whether you like B-action movies like me or you’re a redneck that considers this some sort of way of life; we all think its pretty great.  What’s even greater is that Shout! Factory has really REALLY pumped up this film with a hell of a release.  Its got a good new transfer and a ton of big time new extras for the film.  With this and Buckaroo Banzai, Shout Select has kicked down the door of the Double Deuce and announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Road-House-Blu-ray

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments