The upcoming remake of the '80s cult classic Road House is making a key change by focusing more on the villainous character Knox, played by Conor McGregor.
In the original Road House, the main villain, Wesley, primarily lets his henchmen do his dirty work, while Knox takes a more prominent role in the remake.
The new Road House trailer emphasizes McGregor's Knox as the focal point of the film's villainy.
The upcoming remake of the ‘80s cult classic Road House seems to be making one key change from its predecessor that is to its benefit. Directed by Doug Liman, the new Road House stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Elwood Dalton, a down-on-his-luck former MMA champion who is recruited to be the bouncer for a road house in the Florida Keys. However, Dalton finds himself up against a local crime boss causing trouble for his new establishment. In the broad strokes, Amazon’s Road House remake is bringing the basic template of the original into modern times, while tweaking some elements to tell its own distinct story, as any remake should strive to do. One difference that really stands out in the new Road House is that the villainous Knox, played by real-life MMA legend Conor McGregor, seems to be the real baddie of the movie even as he operates as a hired gun.
In 1989’s Road House, Patrick Swayze’s Dalton finds himself up against Brad Wesley (Ben Gazarra), a ruthless businessman who rules Jasper, Missouri with an iron fist. While Road House is full of rough-and-tumble bar-room brawls and martial arts battles, Wesley himself is a villain who primarily lets his henchmen get their hands dirty on his behalf. Dalton fights plenty of unruly Double Deuce patrons and Welsey’s subordinates in Road House, with his main rival being Wesley’s right-hand man Jimmy (Marshall Teague), but Welsey himself mostly just pulls strings behind-the-scenes or orders attacks and assassinations to push Dalton to his breaking point.
It isn’t until Road House’s final showdown in Welsey’s mansion that Wesley engages Dalton directly in a fight. It’s also clear that Welsey is no match for a highly seasoned martial artist and legendary bouncer like Dalton, with Wesley mostly attacking Dalton with bullets and spears until his defeat. While this isn’t a knock against an action classic like Road House, Liman’s remake seems keen to make Knox more the point of focus from the villain’s side of the story. The casting of a UFC great like Conor McGregor certainly sets up the expectation of some rollicking fight scenes in the new Road House, but the movie’s new trailer also emphasizes McGregor’s Knox as the focal of the film’s villainy far more so than property developer trying to get his hands on the road house.
Indeed, the big boss employing Knox is glossed over so quickly in the Road House trailer, it’d be easy to come away thinking that Knox himself embodies both the Wesley and Jimmy roles in the remake. While McGregor’s Knox might technically be a henchman in the same way that Jimmy was for Wesley, the new Road House is also recognizing the former as the far more fun and entertaining antagonist in the 1989 original. In establishing Dalton as the most respected and feared bouncer around, Road House also sets up Jimmy as one of the few villains in the movie who can hold his own against him. And hold his own Jimmy does in his brutal smackdown with Dalton in the best fight scene of the original Road House. For the remake, Liman seems to be cutting out the middleman in a very tangible way with Knox as the most prominent and direct threat to Gyllenhaal’s Dalton.
That isn’t to say that the original Road House made a narratively flawed choice in positioning Wesley as a villain who doesn’t step into battle until his supply of henchmen has been exhausted, but there is also more than one way for an action flick to emphasize the threat its villain poses. In Wesley’s case, he gives the orders and his henchmen get to work, a clearly winning strategy for him with the vice-like grip he has over Jasper in the original Road House. For the remake, the villainous hierarchy seems to be taking a different approach of Knox being called up for the job and completely stealing the spotlight from his employer. In the aim of the Road House remake crafting its own identity with plenty of its predecessor’s testosterone, Conor McGregor’s Knox could be the key it needs to stick the landing in the new Double Deuce.
How does the Road House remake compare to the original? Let us know.
Ex-UFC fighter Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes a job as a bouncer at a Florida Keys roadhouse, only to discover that this paradise is not all it seems.
Studio: Amazon Studios
Running Time: 1h 54m
Release Date: March 21, 2024
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Darren Barnet, Conor McGregor
Director: Doug Liman
Writers: Anthony Bagarozzi, Charles Mondry, Chuck Mondry
Brad Curran is a dedicated writer from the United States with a love of all things nerdy. Brad’s interests range from action and martial arts flicks to superhero movies from both the DC and Marvel universes, to horror movies and sci-fi epics, with all of his interests united by his innate love of adventure.
Since 2013, Brad has brought his deep love for and experience with martial arts to his work with Kung Fu Kingdom, where he has covered everything from movies and TV to training and interviews with stars likes Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Tony Jaa, Jackie Chan, Joe Taslim, and Shannon Lee, to name just a few. Brad also expanded his career in entertainment journalism in his work with as a features writer for Screen Rant, where Brad brought his skill as on a range of topics like superheroes, the Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise, and the history making story of the Snyder Cut. Brad also utilized his skill as an interviewer to his work with Screen Rant, where his interview resume includes big stars like Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Dante Basco, Janet Varney, Annette O’Toole, Dolph Lundgren, and many others.
Most importantly of all, Brad also considers Raul Julia’s M. Bison to be the most quotable movie character of all time, bar none.