Road House (1989)

When a film, not particularly well-liked at the time by critics, goes on to earn back four times its budget, there had to be something to it. Road House is the go-to for many Gen-Xers (myself included) for a bit of dumb fun. It’s ridiculous, set-your-brain-to-neutral, action fare; the kind made for (and seemingly written by) teenagers. It’s crass and asks for major leaps in logic, believability or even relatability. Its characters are all paper-thin stereotypes of the genre, not given particularly clever or interesting dialogue. Geez, am I sure I like this movie? Actually no, like Peter Griffin, I love Road House!

"This is pure, no holds barred, entertainment! A craptacular masterpiece"

Directed by Rowdy Herrington, this—ahem—tells the story of Dalton (Patrick Swayze), an in demand ‘cooler’ (head bouncer) that’s poached from his big city/big paying job by a downtrodden bar owner from Jasper… for more money. With all the empathy of a serial killer, Dalton quits and drives his Mercedes to a town at the mercy of a corrupt and dangerous local businessman, Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara). When Dalton starts firing rotten staff and doing the no pants dance with a local doctor (who of course has a history with Wesley) he puts a target on his back and anyone close to him and shit gets deadly fast… Yeah, that’s about it.

With the depth of a baby bath this story is not going to surprise. It does cleverly and obviously follow the tropes of a stranger coming to the untamed west flick. As stated before, there some huge leaps in logic, none the least being that a knuckle dragger from a club sways any influence in town at all, but this knuckle dragger is Patrick-friggen-Swayze! Road House (1989)

He leads a very talented cast that make lines like: ‘I thought you’d be bigger’, ‘When a man points a gun in your face, you got two choices: you can die or you can kill the mother fucker’ and ‘I used to fuck guys like you in prison’ land. The always legendary Sam Elliot elevates his role notably. And Gazzara’s moustache twirling villain brings it without the moustache in a memorable love to hate performance. In fact, the entire cast are the reason this flick made its mark. It lesser hands Roadhouse would have crashed and burned. If you need proof, look no further than the shitty direct to DVD sequel, and, playing Nostradamus for a moment, wait until Amazon’s remake lands this year.

The fights, the gals with ten metric tonnes of hairspray holding up their bouffant, the bad guys, the mullets! The Jeff Healey band! It is all gloriously, garishly, trashy perfection. Road House holds the winning trophy for so bad its good to me now and forever more. This is pure, no holds barred, entertainment! A craptacular masterpiece.

3/5 stars

Road House (1989)

4k details divider

Magnet Clasp Box Limited Edition / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- November 15, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A


Vinegar Syndrome offer up the debut UHD home release with confident aplomb. The picture, a native 4K scan of the camera negative is glorious. You can almost reach out and touch the blazing 80’s neon lights or the hairspray in everyone’s hair. Skin tones are, for the most part, natural a nuanced. You get to enthral at the patina and grafitti of the Double Deuce in all it’s crappiness. Film grain is present and remiss of any obvious DNR. The HDR10 certainly benefits the mostly night set picture, with fantastic deep blacks and bold highlights. All the neon pops! It’s a top draw release from the Vinegar Syndrome folk.


We get a robust 5.1 DTS-HD mix here that sufficiently delivers some surround work like explosions and bar ambience well. It’s a solid mix that only falls short of greedy bastards like me, who want an Atmos 7.1 with it as well. It’s a solid, immersive experience, nonetheless. Also included is a DTS-HD 2.0 stereo mix.



  • Commentary One
  • Commentary Two

Special Features:

MASSIVE amount of stuff on the two included blu-ray discs, making this an exhaustive 3-disc set. A lot of this stuff has been released before but is a welcome addition to the newer entries, from back of house workers, that contribute new interviews and inputs. Sadly the likes of Swayze and Healey are no longer with us, but Herrington is still around and there’s plenty to mine through. The magnetised hard box packaging also presents as quality with some really great art by Tom Hodge. You also get a 42-page booklet. OUTSTANDING!

Disc 1

  • I Did It My Way (30:44)
  • Ain't Nothing Gonna Kill Me But Me! (21:22)
  • Blonde Ambitions (19:12)
  • Fightin' Man (14:01)
  • Still Gallery

Disc 2

  • I Thought You'd Be Bigger (63:14)
  • A Conversation with Director Rowdy Herrington (29:38)
  • Pretty Good for a Blind Boy (9:23)
  • On the Road House (17:23)
  • Pain Don't Hurt (22:29)
  • Remembering Patrick Swayze (15:07)
  • What Would Dalton Do? (12:27)
  • Interviews (11:00)
  • Profile
  • Behind-the-scenes footage

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

Road House (1989)

MPAA Rating: R.
114 mins
: Rowdy Herrington
Hilary Henkin
Patrick Swayze; Kelly Lynch; Sam Elliott
: Action | Thriller
The dancing's over. Now it gets dirty.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 19, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 25, 2022.
Synopsis: Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is the best bar 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 (Ben Gazzara) who doesn't want anyone meddling with "his" town. After he sends his goons to bust up the Double Deuce, all hell breaks loose.


Road House (1989)