Though I’m sure it wasn’t the first, Road House is one of the first action movies I can remember that was equally enjoyed by male and female. Fresh off of the success of Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze stepped up to play badass bar bouncer Dalton, an expert at his craft, but still a stranger in a strange land. Based on reputation alone, Dalton is hired by the owner of a notorious bar called the Double Deuce. It seems the bar has been taken over by the seedy elements that haunt it, and so it’s time for Dalton to clean it up. When he realizes that the it’s the town that houses the bar that is the root of the corruption, Dalton calls in his good friend and mentor Wade Garrett, played cooler and badder-assed than ever by Sam Elliott, to help him tear it to the ground. Road House is an iconic film. Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve seen it. Countless parodies, and even a running gag on Family Guy have paid tribute to this cult classic, high budget B-movie. And now Shout! Factory has given it the Collector’s Edition treatment it deserves.
I was born in ’78, so the first really violent action movie I can remember watching with my dad was Die Hard, which was 85, I probably saw it in 86 which would have made me 8 years old. I was primed and educated in the genre by the time I was able to see Road House on video in late ’89 or early ’90. It had violence, it had nudity, it had funky southern music, and a badass characters played by badass actors, so I was in love from the first moment. A lot of people see this as Patrick Swayze big tough guy movie, and while that’s true, and he does an excellent job here, I always felt like Sam Elliott was the badder ass of the movie. Swayze was younger and far more agile I’m certain, but something about grizzled and cranky Wade Garrett always stood out to me. Swayze was probably in the best shape of his career when he made this movie. He ran around shirtless for half of the running time, and I damn sure would too if my torso looked like that.
Road House was already on Blu-ray, but other the mostly poor MGM release from 2009, severely lacking in both care for the transfer as well as bonus content, nothing much has come along. It has been repackaged a few times with prettier cases and artwork, but near as I can tell it has always been the same disc. Shout Factory’s release is a beefy double Blu-ray disc set, with a brand new Dean Cundey approved and supervised 2K scan of the interpositive, and an all-new retrospective documentary, this release is now unquestionably the definitive edition. This transfer is easier on the eyes than the previous release, with better details and clarity, improved brightness and contrast levels, and a pleasantly thin layer of film grain. You have multiple audio options, and thankfully, you can’t go wrong with either. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 track might be your instinctive choice, but the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is worthy as well. Normally I opt for the original mix because upmixing or remixing a track to have six channels doesn’t always benefit the sound, but in this case, I think it did. It was great to see so much of the cast and crew showed up to discuss the film all these years later. And while Patrick Swayze left us in 2009, his presence is very much felt in the documentary. It’s safe to say that he made lasting memories with everyone he worked with. Finally we can honor his contributions to this film, and the genre a whole, with a release that is worthy of his memory. Road House is now available on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout! Factory under their Shout Selects line of releases. You may purchase your copy here. See a full listing of features and bonus content below.
CONTENT AND SPECIAL FEATURES:
NEW 2K Scan of the interpositive, supervised and approved by director of photography Dean Cundey
Audio Commentary by director Rowdy Herrington
Audio Commentary by Road House fans Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier
NEW The Making of Road House – interviews with director Rowdy Herrington, actors Kelly Lynch, John Doe, Kevin Tighe, Julie Michaels, Red West, Lisa Niemi Swayze, casting director Jackie Burch, director of photography Dean Cundey, editor Frank Urioste and more…
NEW Remembering Patrick – interviews with Lisa Niemi Swayze, Rowdy Herrington, Terry Funk, Kelly Lynch, Marshall R. Teague and more…
NEW A Conversation with director Rowdy Herrington
NEW Pain Don’t Hurt: The Stunts of Road House interviews with second unit director/stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni, Rowdy Herrington, John Doe, Kelly Lynch and more…
NEW The Music of Road House – interviews with director Rowdy Herrington, John Doe, Red West and more…
What Would Dalton Do?
On the Road House with Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Rowdy Herrington, Marshall Teague, Benny Urquidez
Vintage interviews with Patrick Swayze, Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot, Benny Urquidez and Rowdy Herrington
On the Set: Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Vintage Profile on Patrick Swayze