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Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Elwood Dalton is on the ropes.

After the tragedy of his last UFC fight, he’s been kinda staggering through life. He killed a man. And that’s left Dalton so emotionally wrung out that he can’t seem to move forward. But he can’t call it quits either. He parked his car on the railroad tracks at one point, but couldn’t force himself to stay there.

So, when Dalton gets a job offer, he reluctantly grabs a bus down to the Florida Keys to check it out. The place is called the Road House, but ironically it looks like a pretty sweet set up with a cool thatched roof and a huge deck facing the ocean.

It’s not the kind of place that looks like it needs a former UFC scrapper. But Frankie, the owner, says she needs Dalton to clean out some of the seedier types that have been causing trouble.

Dalton is reluctant initially. But he steps in to help after a motorcycle gang rolls up, ready to trash the place. “Before we start, do you have good insurance?” he asks the leader of this thuggish group. And then he proceeds to show the gang of hooligans why he was hired.

Oh, and he meets a pretty doctor named Ellie when he drives some of the broken thugs to the local hospital. All in all, it seems like a good first evening in Florida.

Turns out, though, that that biker gang wasn’t there on some drunken whim. And Frankie doesn’t just have trouble with some “seedy” types. Seems a guy named Ben Brandt has been trying to buy Frankie out. He wants to tear down the Road House and build a hotel there instead. And he’s more than happy to apply whatever pressure is required to see that happen.

‘Course, the tight-lipped Frankie hasn’t exactly shared any of that with Dalton. So as the ex-UFC guy goes about recruiting a few extra bouncers to help keep the Road House quiet, he’s got no idea that Brandt is moving forward to his next step. If a little lightweight pressure like a biker gang isn’t enough, he’ll just have to increase the pressure.

And there’s a particularly crazy heavyweight MMA fighter who fits the bill.

He’ll just have to see if this Dalton guy has the muscle to handle it.

Positive Elements

On the face of things, Dalton comes off as a rather nice guy who feels comfortable in his own skin. He’s polite with the other workers at the Road House and several locals he meets. In fact, we see him go out of his way not to hurt people in the early parts of this film. (All of which is oddly in direct conflict with the killer he becomes later on … which obviously isn’t so positive.)

Dalton meets a young girl named Charlie when he first gets to the Keys. She’s a brave soul who’s ready to stand up to bullies in order to protect her father and his bookstore (though her courage alone isn’t enough to stop them.)

Spiritual Elements

Frankie has a picture of Martin Luther King on her office wall. Dalton is nearly hit by an oncoming train. (A situation he purposely put himself in.) When he barely escapes with his life, he looks skyward with a sigh of relief.

Someone says, “God bless, God bless,” as a casual comment without any intended spiritual significance.

Sexual Content

When we first meet a hired thug named Knox, he’s jumping naked from a married woman’s window. The camera follows behind him as he casually walks past a number of people while totally naked. Then he steals a man’s coat. (We see Knox in a similarly naked state late in the film.) The woman in the window is nude, too. We see her exposed breasts.

The camera also takes it’s time closely examining Dalton’s ripped body as well while he exercises, fights and rolls out of bed in the morning. In most of those instances, he’s simply shirtless, but on one occasion he’s wearing nothing but briefs.

We see a number of young women in tight and low-cut tops at the Road House. The camera also focuses on the features of a woman in a bikini who’s dancing at a pool party. And Ellie wears a bikini-like top when she and Dalton go out on a boat. She and Dalton kiss passionately.

A local sheriff refers to himself as “Big D–k.”

Violent Content

Early on, Dalton tells someone, “No one ever wins in a fight.” And though that may be true, fighting is pretty much all anyone does in this movie.

A large man gets pummeled ‘til he’s bleeding from his nose, ears and eyes in a backroom cage fight. We see flashbacks of the UFC fight where Dalton killed a man with incredibly vicious blows to his head. We also see him punch a man in the throat, crushing his windpipe, after which Dalton lets him fall into a pool (where the man drowns). He later shoots that man’s corpse several times with a stolen gun. A badly bloodied man has his neck snapped by a visceral twist.

Those deadly examples are the just tip of the bloody iceberg here. Subsequent brawls and beatdowns are so brutal that surely others were left just as dead afterwards. The camera catches sight of a number of people as they’re bashed down on table tops and bars head- and face-first.  A man who’s set on fire is pounded in the face. Dalton gets stabbed several times to bloody effect, and another guy is impaled with wooden stakes repeatedly, leaving large bloody meat gashes on his torso and stomach.

Someone is nearly run down twice by a truck and then falls into the ocean as the truck comes down on his head. Another guy plunges into swampy water and is quickly thrashed by a hungry crocodile. People get hit with tables, chairs and pool cues.

A man is nicked several times on the throat by a straight razor. Fingers and arms are broken and twisted backward. Guns blast through boats and other vehicles. A guy in a motorboat attempts to run swimmers over. A motorboat smashes into the Road House deck, then flies up through the building’s roof.

Dalton is in the midst of pretty much all of the action described above, bashing, mashing and bloodying people. He takes on Knox and scores of others in prolonged and brutal fights.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 100 f-words and 20 s-words crowd this movie’s dialogue, along with multiple uses each of “h—,” “d–n,” “a–,” “a–hole,” “b–ch” and “b–tard.” We also hear crude references to the male anatomy. God’s name is misused some 10 times (and paired with “d–n”).

Drug and Alcohol Content

Beer and hard liquor flow freely throughout this pic. Empty bottles are generally scattered about in the Road Hose and regularly smashed on the floor (or on someone’s head).

We see a number of different people who are quite inebriated after drinking. Some end up in drunken brawls.

Dalton is given antibiotics for a potentially infected knife wound. We hear that Brandt’s father is in prison on illegal drug running charges.

Other Negative Elements

Dalton steals a trunk of stolen money from a crooked cop and gives it to someone in need. Several police officers make illegal choices at the behest of a drug lord.


Back in 1989, actor Patrick Swayze starred in a B-grade flick about a philosopher/bouncer hired to clean up a trouble-spot honkytonk in a small Missouri town. And while that movie packed enough content issues to make a Plugged In reviewer blush, it also delivered some character-driven charm. The lines, “Take it outside,” and, “Be nice,” kinda fit with Swayze’s smiling, dance-like fight moves.

Those lines of dialogue also turn up in this 2024 remake. However, this pic sports a much more … gritty perspective. In fact, star Jake Gyllenhaal is as chiseled and gritty as it gets. He looks like he could take a knife wound (or several) without noticing. In fact, you could probably get a concussion just by looking his steely six pack abs for too long. His look screams character.

But that’s pretty much all this film has in its arsenal. Other than that, there’s very little “character” in anything here. We’re introduced to people and see their story unfold. But it’s all blandly rote and meaningless.

Let me give you an example: If you heard that UFC champ Conor McGregor was going to be the muscular baddie in this film, what kind of performance did you expect from him? Screaming? Psychotic? One-dimensional? Yep. Then toss in a guy who’s repeatedly naked for “good” measure, and you’ll know what direction this pic is headed.

It’s all one beat. And I do mean beat.

In this reboot, heads get pounded on tables. Bones snap like twigs. Flesh is rent. People bleed profusely and pointlessly. Oh, and dialogue is cram-packed with f-bombs.

On top of that, heads get pounded on tables. Bones snap like twigs. Flesh … oh, I already said all that, didn’t I?

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.