Jake Gyllenhaal Road House Is Far Better Than You Think, Here’s Why

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Updated

jake gyllenhaal road house

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this film going in, but I should have known better. I am a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal in all of his iterations, and I love action films, especially those with excellent production quality and tight direction. So seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in Road House was a win and I’d argue that if you give it a chance, you’ll probably feel the same. 

The Remake Has A Lot To Live Up To

Look, the original Road House, produced by Joel Silver and directed by Rowdy Harrington, is a cult classic of the ’80s, likely because of huge film star Patrick Swayze. He really could do no wrong in his time.

Just think of Dirty Dancing, The Outsiders, and Ghost. The world loved Swayze, and seeing him put his dance training into fight scenes was a lot of fun. 

So, of course, Jake Gyllenhaal had big (ballet?) shoes to fill.

The Filmmakers Are Up To The Task

The remake of Road House was also produced by Joel Silver who–along with the original–is known for successful action films like The Matrix, Die Hard, and the Lethal Weapon franchise.

Director Doug Liman, a seasoned professional, made his reputation with films like the Bourne franchise, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow. He’s no stranger to action films with top-notch fight scenes. And our modern huge film star Gyllenhaal comes in to fill those shoes and then some. 

After all, that is what we expect from Road House — great fight scenes. 

Critics Whine About What Makes The Movie A Blast

jake gyllenhaal road house

Critical and audience reviews complain of the movie being either too slapstick or too over the top, or both. But that’s kind of the whole point of this movie! It’s got that Bad Boys feeling of big explosions, trucks driving through buildings, and boats flipping over, while also delivering laughs. That’s why we watch these movies!

The Fight Scenes Are Fun And Exciting

jake gyllenhaal road house

You’ll also hear remarks about how Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t the dancer that Patrick Swayze was, so the fight scenes in this Road House aren’t as elegant. 

The truth is that no, Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t a dancer in his past life, but he was exceptionally well-prepared for his turn as a boxer in Southpaw, and he trained intensively for his Road House role as a washed up UFC fighter who had previously been undefeated. And to go up against an actual UFC fighter, Conor McGregor, he’d better be ready.

Don’t worry, he is. 

The Story

jake gyllenhaal road house

The story is interesting, with Elwood Dalton arriving on the Florida island of Glass Key to help Frankie, played by Jessica Williams, clean up the titular bar, which has been troubled by local thugs. The issues turn out to be much worse, resulting in a final showdown with McGregor as the “crazy” villain.

Oh, and there’s a love interest played by the oh so uniquely gorgeous Daniela Melchior! It’s the perfect date night movie, with a little bit of something for everybody. 

Ignore The Critics And Check Out Road House

Jake Gyllenhaal in Road House offers everything. The fight scenes are directed with maximum impact, the dialogue is both witty and interesting, and the narrative arc works well, closing out at just under two hours and leaving us wondering if we’ll see Dalton again. Correction: hoping we’ll see Dalton again, preferably back with this same crew on Glass Key.