Van in front of Grand Tetons

Sports Illustrated

Road House (2024): At Least it’s Entertaining

Jackson Nielsen

In this 1989 remake, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Elwood Dalton, an ex-UFC fighter who has turned to a life of unsanctioned, underground fighting in order to support his life of living in his car. Having not seen the original, Patrick Swayze rendition of this movie, I entered knowing only that Gyllenhaal was the main star and Conor McGregor was also featured in this film. Throughout the movie, there were moments where I laughed, not because the scene was particularly humorous, but because the scene was so ridiculous that I had to let out a chuckle. The CGI in this movie was average at best, not something you would expect in 2024. Furthermore, the scenes that featured fighting, which there were plenty of, did little to make me believe that this was something that was happening in a real world scenario. I expected better having seen what other movies are capable of but these fight scenes, although erring on the side of unrealistic, were entertaining nonetheless.

Featuring Conor McGregor, a two-division world champion from the UFC, in this movie was a nice touch given his background in the sport of mixed material arts but I had a hard time getting over his abilities when it came to acting. Ultra-talented combat sports athlete, yes. Gifted actor made for the big screens, I wouldn’t say so. His character, Knox, had a big personality that delivered one-liners with a big, unnatural smile throughout the movie. Perhaps this personality was the choice of the directors but to me, it just lent itself to McGregor’s inability to act. 

The main premise of this movie is that a road house called “The Road House” is being overrun by the wrong crowd and the owner needs Elwood Dalton to come in and clean up the place with his expertise in the fight game. Being a simple storyline, the plot was easy to follow and didn’t take much thinking in order to know what was going on. Bad guys come in, Dalton beats them up. I would chalk this film up as your typical action film. Lots of fight sequences paired with a simple storyline which leads the viewer to a somewhat entertaining experience; if you’re into this kind of movie. Although some of the acting was questionable and the CGI could have used some enhancing, I at least enjoyed this movie.

Would I recommend that you need to drop what you’re doing and tune in right now? No. But if you have a spare two hours and need something to do, Road House is entertaining enough that it is worth a watch. I would even go as far to say that if you’re a fan of Conor McGregor or the UFC in general then you should watch this movie. Seeing Conor McGregor in an acting role gave the whole movie a boost as it was unusual to see this side of him. There are also numerous scenes in the actual UFC octagon that made me think that this movie wasn’t half bad.