The entire entity of UFC can be as polarizing as a remake of a classic Hollywood movie, but when it comes to blending those two concepts together in Road House, we’re in for something special if the trailer is any indication.
Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most fiercely committed A-list actors on the planet. Any one of his films is typically a Day 1 butt-in-seat for me. Unfortunately, this particular project is a direct-to-streaming release on Amazon Prime Video. No matter. It still looks like it’ll have some of the most grounded, gritty, hand-to-hand fights in the past several years of any action release.
I feel like sometimes fight scenes can be over-choreographed, or it’s made too obvious that the hits aren’t real. That doesn’t appear to be a problem in Road House. Whether it’s this hilarious opening clip where Gyllenhaal’s ex-UFC fighter Elwood Dalton slaps the sh*t out of a group of thugs, or when actual IRL UFC champion Conor McGregor whacks Jake G with a very real-looking headbutt, there’s a brutality and dark tone to these brawls where you feel every hit in a visceral way.
With McGregor in the cast, you’d assume he wouldn’t have that meaty of a role. Maybe the marketing team decided it’d be smart to gas up his part in the trailer as much as possible to help sell the movie. However, there are multiple sequences in here that have McGregor front and center. Can’t say I saw that coming. Any MMA fan knows that McGregor has a singular sort of strange charisma. It’s one thing to do that as your profession. It’s another thing to play a version of that persona, as a character in a movie, and pull it off convincingly.
To share scenes with an actor of Gyllenhaal’s caliber and hold your own is quite an achievement. Obviously McGregor doesn’t lack confidence. He seems pretty hyped up about Road House, and from what we do see of him in the trailer, he’s a pretty menacing guy who just might actually pull this off.
Fighting, acting, there’s nothing this Mac can’t do! Here’s the trailer featuring my brother, Jake Gyllenhaal, and me going toe-to-toe in the wildest action movie ever – Road House! My acting debut is gonna leave a mark! Long live Knox!” Road House is open for business March 21… pic.twitter.com/0DaNup9MWj
It’s also cool to see Shrinking star Jessica Williams take on a more dramatic role. She’s one of the funniest comedic actors out there but is playing something a little straighter here. Didn’t even know she was in this, so that only adds to the intrigue. Then you have Billy Magnussen playing what appears to be an enforcer type. Magnussen wins the superlative for Most Innately Convincing Sociopath among all working actors today. I feel like that dude would kill it as The Joker in a Batman movie. Maybe someday he’ll get a crack at it.
Finally, director Doug Liman wouldn’t be on board to do a remake like this if it weren’t worthwhile. The fact that Gyllenhaal has top billing and Liman is in the director’s chair feels like a winning combination. Liman directed The Bourne Identity, kicking off that Matt Damon franchise vehicle with some of the best close-quarters fights you’ll ever see that still hold up today.
Bring on Road House. The release has been a long time coming considering production began in August 2022. I assume that has a bit to do with the industry-wide strikes. Now we’re less than two months away. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend this BTS video Gyllenhaal released from a UFC event last year.