The New Road House Movie’s Positive Reviews Are A Miracle After Last Year’s 22-Year-Old Remake Failure
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The New Road House Movie’s Positive Reviews Are A Miracle After Last Year’s 22-Year-Old Remake Failure

Summary

  • Road House’s 2024 remake impresses critics with genuine praise, nearing double the Rotten Tomatoes score of the 1989 original.
  • The remake stays true to original’s cheesiness and emotion, favoring action-packed cheese over storytelling smarts.
  • A risky straight-to-streaming release on Prime Video may hinder the Road House remake’s potential for winning over audiences.



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The critical consensus on the 2024 remake of Road House is that it’s a surprisingly great movie, which is especially astounding after last year’s failed remake of a different cult classic. The original Road House, released in 1989, stars Patrick Swayze as a bouncer at a newly refurbished roadside bar who defends a small Missouri town against a crooked business tycoon. The remake, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, revolves around a former UFC middleweight fighter who winds up taking a similar job as a cooler at a roadside bar in the Florida Keys and running afoul of some local troublemakers.


When a remake of Road House was first announced, it seemed wildly unnecessary, because the original isn’t a particularly great story; its popularity rests entirely on Swayze’s star power, so remaking it seemed like a fool’s errand. However, now that the reviews are in, it seems that 2024’s Road House is actually an awesome movie, and might even surpass the 1989 original. Filmmaking is challenging, so it’s a miracle when any movie turns out good, but the Road House remake’s positive reviews are particularly miraculous, considering the circumstances (and the fate of a similar remake).


Why The Road House Remake’s Reviews Are So Great (& How They Compare To The 1989 Movie)


The 2024 remake of Road House has an impressive “fresh” score of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is nearly double the “rotten” score of the 1989 original, a dismal 41%. The reviews for the original Road House either appreciated the film in a so-bad-it’s-good way or denigrated the film in a so-bad-it’s-bad way. It received some points for Swayze’s typically charismatic performance and the shameless cheesiness of the action scenes, but most critics agreed it was nothing special. The 2024 remake, on the other hand, has received genuine praise from the majority of critics.

This new version of Road House has been lauded for maintaining the original movie’s best qualities. It’s refreshingly heartfelt, leaning into its cheesiness and unembarrassed emotions without any winking self-awareness. Critics have noted that the remake favors action-packed cheese over storytelling smarts, but they’ve also pointed out that that’s faithful to the original film. Doug Liman’s grounded direction has been hailed for his Jonathan Demme-like approach to ludicrous material, and the performances of Gyllenhaal and his co-star, MMA legend and first-time actor Conor McGregor, have been positively received for their commitment.


The
Road House
remake will drop on Prime Video on March 21.

Road House’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Is A Welcome Change After 2023’s Cult Classic Movie Remake

Kamal and Jeremy in White Men Can't Jump

When a cult classic like Road House gets remade, it’s par for the course for critics and audiences alike to hate it. Usually, the critics have written half of their review before they’ve even seen the movie, because it’s become so predictable for remakes to be bitter disappointments that pale in comparison to the original. In many ways, it’s even harder to remake a cult classic than a regular classic. Regular classics are just timeless gems with well-told stories, and it’s obvious why they work, but cult classics with a certain so-bad-it’s-good charm are trickier to pin down.


Last year’s White Men Can’t Jump remake is a perfect example. The 1992 original succeeded because of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson’s unique on-screen chemistry, and because it brought clever storytelling and sharp characterization to the familiar genre of sports comedy. The 2023 remake was panned for smoothing down the edges of the original for a safe, formulaic sports movie. Based on the reviews, it seems that the Road House remake is everything the White Men Can’t Jump remake wasn’t: it’s true to the spirit of the original and it’s a fresh take on a well-known story.

Road House 2024 Still Shares 1 Major Obstacle With White Men Can’t Jump’s Remake

Jake Gyllenhaal looking serious as Dalton in Road House


While Road House has won the battle for positive reviews, the war isn’t over yet. It still needs to win over audiences, which will be tough because it’s being released straight to streaming on Prime Video. Road House had a bit of behind-the-scenes controversy with Liman strongly opposing Amazon’s decision to skip a theatrical release and Gyllenhaal claiming that a straight-to-streaming release was always the plan. Either way, the Road House remake won’t be coming to theaters and will go directly to Prime Video to be watched at home.

This means that the Road House remake could still face the same fate as the White Men Can’t Jump remake. 2023’s White Men Can’t Jump was buried in the streaming library of Hulu, and as a result, it made no splash in the cultural conversation. Sadly, the same could end up happening with 2024’s Road House. Some of Road House’s reviews have pointed out that it could have been a decent-sized hit if it was released in theaters, but it’s too late for that now.

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