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Road House (Blu-Ray and DVD Double Disc Set) [Blu-ray]

 

(Rowdy Herrington, 1989)

 

 

 

 

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists

Blu-ray: MGM/UA Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked

Runtime: 1:54:09.926

Disc Size: 21,591,186,040 bytes

Feature Size: 20,131,325,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.05 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-Ray Case

Release date: June 2nd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG2

 

Audio:

English (DTS-HD Master Audio 3411 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3411 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit))
English (Dolby Digital Audio 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround)
French (Dolby Digital Audio 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround)
Spanish (Dolby Digital Audio 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB)

 

Subtitles:

English, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with Director Rowdy Herrington

• Audio Commentary with Kevin Smith and Scott Moser

• What Would Dalton Do? (12:23)

• On the Road House (17:20)

• Trivia Track

• Previews

 

Description: One of those movies that helped usher out the era of action films that had plots that made any sense (and also helped reverse the direction of Patrick Swayze's career arc), Road House concerns a handsome, existential bouncer in a rinky-dink honky-tonk who owns both a degree in philosophy and a Mercedes. And that's perhaps the most believable aspect of the whole movie. Swayze stars as Dalton, "the best bouncer in the business," who runs afoul of Wesley (Ben Gazzara), the meanest SOB round these parts, by taking up with his former girlfriend, Doc (Kelly Lynch)--the only woman in town with an IQ approaching double digits, even if she had unfathomably hooked up with such a lowlife. Swayze had complained about being typecast as beefcake when this was made, but that didn't stop him from revealing as much skin as possible--even guys like him, as revealed in a luridly seedy scene in which one of Wesley's goons tells Dalton that he reminds him of the kind of boyfriend he had in prison (albeit in much saltier terms). It's so insulting to its audience that it's nice to be able to turn the tables and laugh at the filmmakers. --David Kronke

 

 

The Film:

Swayze gives up 'Dirty Dancing' for dirty fighting in this violent, spectacular and immensely enjoyable study of Zen and the art of Barroom Bouncing. A former philosophy student now majoring in martial arts, he is hired to clean up the Double Deuce, a beleaguered Missouri nightclub where the band plays behind wire and the staff 'sweep up the eyeballs after closing'. Like a modern Western hero, Swayze cleans out the sadists, till-skimmers, drug dealers and loafers, but he's also up against a ruthless businessman (Gazzara) whose heavies extort money for a 'town improvement' scheme. When Swayze's employer refuses to cross Gazzara's palm with silver, heads roll, bones crack, blood flows, buildings explode, and plausibility flies right out the window along with the bodies. Swayze's drippy romance with the local Doc, a leggy blonde (Lynch) who tends his wounds and more besides, slows things down; but when his ageing mentor (Elliott) comes to town, they kick serious ass, while director Herrington and stuntman Charlie Picerni pile on the senseless mayhem as the two factions perform their Dance of Death. Mindless entertainment of the highest order.

Excerpt of review from Time Out located HERE

 

Image:

Unfortunately, MGM really skimped on this release, and nowhere is that more evident than in the film's image. Right off the bat, the disc's producers decided that this cult classic didn't deserve more than a MPEG-2 encoding. As a result, the disc fails to make use of the best that blu-ray has to offer and has an average video bitrate of just 18.05 (very low for this format). Sharpness varies from scene to scene, with some scenes coming off rather dull and others looking as clear as can be. With the exception of the bar's neon signs and a few of 80s pastel fashions, the colors are rather muted and never achieve the vibrancy that they likely had in the theater. Grain structure is similarly inconsistent, with some telltale signs of DNR use throughout. Overall this is not the transfer that this film deserves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

The news is better on the audio front. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is very strong and does a great job of bringing to life the film's action sequences. Jeff Healey's bar room blues music sounds very vivid as well, with the songs really coming to life. The balance is good and there's no unwanted background noises (hisses, pops, etc.). The film also comes with optional English, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish subtitles.

 

 

 

Extras:

Before diving into the individual extras, it's worth noting that none of them are in HD. In fact, MGM has included a standard edition DVD of the film in the set that has the entirety of the film's special features. Why did MGM do this? I can't say. It may have been a cost cutting measure since it doesn't require the conversion of the featurettes into HD, but this is pure speculation. Now, let's talk about those individual extras. First, there are a pair of audio commentaries. In the first we get director Rowdy Herrington discussing and defending the film. Here he reveals that it was never meant to be a straight and serious film, but rather was an over the top take down of 80s action pretensions. The second audio commentary featuring filmmaker Kevin Smith, and his View Askew producer, Scott Moser. As fans of the film, the two discuss the filmographies of the participants and the often interject Dalton facts, a riff on the Chuck Norris facts phenomenon from a few years back. As anyone knows who has heard a Kevin Smith commentary in the past, they can be quite hilarious and this one is no exception. We also get a standard retrospective documentary called "On the Road House" which features the film's participants reflecting on the movie nearly twenty years after making it. Additionally there's a featurette called "What Would Dalton Do?" that looks into the lives of real life bouncers complete with cringe worthy reenactments. Finally, there's a trivia track that I haven't had times to explore, but seems to have gotten high marks from other reviewers. Finally, we also get a series of trailers including one for a straight to video sequel to the film.

 

Bottom line:

"Road House" is the best film ever made about a philosopher that rips out people's throats with one hand (although Roberto Rossellini's "Blaise Pascal" comes in at a close second). It's one of my favorite so-bad-its-good films and one that actually deserves the cult status that its achieved. I'm glad to have the film in HD, but MGM really did screw this release up. Since it clocks in at about $10.00 for most retailers and you do get some entertaining extras, I'll give this film a mild recommendation and hope for a better release at some point in the future.

August 7th, 2010

 

 

 

 

 




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