Photo courtesy Amazon Prime Video

No one would confuse the original “Road House” with high art. A jewel of the late 1980s, it may be one of the most quintessential “it’s so bad, it’s good” movies.

It was the perfect star-vehicle for Patrick Swayze to show off his low-level martial arts skills and his high-level hair-styling skills. It was exploitative and trashy in a way that studio films could never be today; featuring violence, nudity and a plot that bordered on lunacy. This film was very important to my adolescence.

Beloved for all of these reasons, “Road House” is a true cult classic that could never be replicated. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try!

“Road House” updates the story for the 2020s with the only true connection being that they are both about a bouncer saving a hard-luck dive bar from ruffians and a local, criminal element.

This time around, Jake Gyllenhaal plays our hero Dalton who, instead of being a world-famous bouncer (strike one against the original, as nobody believes those actually exist), is actually a world-famous MMA fighter who has fallen on hard times.

Dalton is approached by Frankie (Jessica Williams) with the offer of coming to the Florida Keys to help clean up the riffraff at her bar, cleverly named the Road House.

Dalton is cool and kind-hearted to the point that he even drives the local punks he pounds into oblivion to the hospital. It is there he meets his love interest, an ER doctor named Ellie (Daniela Melchior) who disapproves of his face-punching ways.

Even though Dalton can more than hold his own against anyone who walks in the door, the threat to the Road House becomes more sinister and threatening to the point that Dalton starts to get angry. And you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Is the updated “Road House” a great movie? No, but it is a lot of fun. And while it does lack the greasy charm of the original, Gyllenhaal brings a little more depth and nuance to the character of Dalton and the whole, silly production has a more professional veneer.

That credit goes to director Doug Liman who has directed his share of quality movies in the past (like “Swingers,” “The Bourne Identity” and “Edge of Tomorrow” to name a few). He brings the camera up close and personal during the fight scenes as the punches have their own kinetic energy that shakes the screen to the point you can almost feel the speed and power of every impact.

He also populates the supporting cast with interesting faces, including real-life MMA champion Conor McGregor who plays Knox, Dalton’s insane and menacing physical match.

“Road House” is a good time even though the plot kind of wanders off of the premises in the third act. Fortunately the lack of plot is replaced with more punching. At any rate, it might be worth making this version of “Road House” your regular, Saturday-night thing.

“Road House” is rated R for violence throughout, pervasive language and some nudity.

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