Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Roadhouse: New Movie Not to Be Missed on Amazon Prime

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stony Brook chapter.

Roadhouse is an action-packed movie with heart, empowerment, and twists you never see coming.

We are first introduced to Elwood P. Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) as an ex-ufc Fighter who now makes a meager living in the illegal fight circuit. The trope is something we’ve seen before in many, including 00’ X-Men with Hugh Jackman. Dalton trades on his name, waiting until the pot is high and then relying on his name and reputation of being violent to allow him to make money without actually fighting. 

Frankie, who owns her late uncle’s bar and boat, comes looking for a bouncer who won’t be run off or bought off by the people trying to run her off. After Frankie sees people afraid of Dalton just from his presence, she approaches him, offering a large cash salary and housing. Dalton originally says no, but he goes to Glass Key, Florida, when his car, which he lives in, gets hit by a train with him in it. He couldn’t turn down the $5000 paycheck plus a place to stay. As you might expect, there are a lot of fight scenes. 

Daniela Melchior and Lukas Gage, best known for their roles in Fast X and The Suicide Squad as well as The White Lotus and Euphoria star as Ellie and Billy in the re-imaging of Roadhouse and I got to chat with them about the movie. 

I used the word re-image instead of remake as there are several differences between the 80s version starring Patrick Swayze and this one. 

Gage said “I think it still brings the same amount of fun, playfulness, humor, The incorporation of music and beautiful settings and landscapes […] it’s not taking itself too seriously, which I think we miss in movies right now. I think this movie is meant to be like if you want a glass of wine, have a glass of wine […] and watch the movie.” Lukas gave a few examples of what you can do and watch the movie, but his point about it being something you can sit back, relax, and watch is what I found to be true. What I think makes it so enjoyable is the ludicrousness of some scenes like McGregor walking around naked, we only see his backside, and the comic relief from Moe, played by Arturo Castro, as he pops up here and there with some great one-liners. The first time we see Dalton fight, he tries to de-escalate but can’t. Gyllenhaal masters this scene where he shows concern yet no mercy for the wellbeing of the 5 men in the 5:1 fight, driving them to the emergency room after he won. While in that scene, Dalton can come off as a little apathetic. 

 Daniela added, “That’s why we also don’t want and don’t need comparisons between the original and this one. It’s just to have fun, be entertained, and have a good time .” 

I have to agree. 

That being said, there’s plenty of fighting in this movie. It isn’t all from Jake or Connor, either. Daniela and Lukas get in on the action. Lukas’ character, Billy, works at the Roadhouse and under Dalton’s tutelage becomes a pretty good fighter/bouncer while Ellie is forced to defend herself after being kidnapped by Ben Brant and has moves of her own. As expected, there were a lot of stunts in this film. The stunt coordinator had worked on Avatar and put the actors through the paces with the fight training. 

While both had drastically different fights in the movie they had trained together and were expected to do their stunts, as Daniela explained, “You know, those actors that sometimes they say, yeah, we’ll have the stunts [double] do it for us. ‘No, no, no, you gotta be ready. We need to feel it.’And I felt after that project. That I was ready to protect myself if I needed.”

Lukas said, “We did all our stunts, and we are proud of it.” as well as going on to say, “I can throw a punch though. Properly and well. You do not want to mess with us.”

Something else that stood out to me was the female empowerment in this movie. 

None of the women in the movie are portrayed as victims or as a traditional damsel-in-distress love interest. Daniela spoke to this as we discussed the characters’ arcs, “nonobvious path she’s not the conventional love interest. She has a personality. She’s unapologetic. She’s a badass. She’s very independent and intelligent. Yeah, and I love the fact that I’m not giving the audience what they’re expecting” She is a doctor in the local hospital, sees all the men Dalton just brought in after beating them up, and then goes to confront Dalton. Not many people would have the guts to go after a man who just beat up five guys and stare him down and, in my opinion, she won.

 The same can also be said of Frankie. The owner of The Roadhouse isn’t going to back down, but she knows when she needs help and isn’t afraid to get it, which I believe is the mark of a strong leader. While the trope of an owner of a land/building getting harassed to sell to a developer isn’t new, the way the director and writer went about avoiding the traditional pitfalls and obvious storylines was, in my opinion, brilliant. Frankie is a strong woman. She knows she needs help and isn’t ashamed or apologetic. She is doing what must be done to keep her bar and workers safe. She is being a good boss.

Then there is the quintessential evil businessman whose name starts with the same first letter, B, Ben Brant, played by Billy Magnussen. However, it’s a bit of a square-in-rectangle issue whose story evolves with Dalton’s. As Dalton’s life looks up, Bens looks down. We see Ben assert his power over his men on a boat when he is getting a razor shave, which results in him getting cut a few times because of the rocky water. What I thought was interesting is how when he goes after someone who isn’t the person who cut him but rather the Captain of the boat, he punches out in anger. That is the best foreshadowing I have seen in a while, as it is not an obvious foreshadowing. Brant is and isn’t the man in charge. As his father tries to influence him, Brant wants to do his way, scoffing at the ridiculous violent muscleman his father sent in in the form of  Knox (Connor McGregor) to get the Roadhouse to sell. While muscle being sent in from an incarcerated father isn’t unusual, what is, is that the muscle in a rampage kills Ben.

What also makes those stand out from a typical action movie is the comparisons and the foils. While I don’t want to spoil everything, it is obvious that Knox is what Dalton could have become, given what happened in the ring at his last UFC fight.

I also like how the writer used the word Glass not just as a noun for a location or store but as a parallel to what is happening in the story so much. Glass is easily breakable, especially if it hits the floor the wrong way; it can be chipped as well and it can be melted and reshaped. Glass Keys are corrupted and broken. Dalton learns that within about 48 hours, The Roadhouse gets broken, as well as when Glass Books gets broken and set on fire- you could almost say melted, which happens within the same 48 hours as well. Dalton was actually going to leave, which could be seen as he broke, he gave up. 

The only thing I didn’t like about this film was the three car accidents Dalton was involved in without getting hurt. The first one is when his car stalls on the tracks and the back gets hit by a train. The back of the car is ruined, but otherwise, it’s fine and Dalton is fine. While it was the reason Dalton took the job, I think it would’ve been just as effective if Dalton did what every reasonable person does when they see a train barreling down at someone whose car stalled on the tracks and get out. The other two occur in the same scene when a car purposely goes after Dalton. Dalton is walking back to his boathouse when the car hits/collides with him. He doesn’t even look like he stubbed a toe. Yes, I understand this is movie magic, but give the guy at least a couple of painful bruises on him.

Aside from the car accidents, I found the movie to be very enjoyable and fun to watch. It’s not stressful or scary and has a lot of great comic relief moments. Not to mention the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal takes his shirt off a lot. You can watch The Roadhouse on Amazon Prime.

I love writing about beauty, entertainment, fashion and accessories and more. I love musicals, singing, movies and all things beauty including hair! I've acted in movies, sung opera and won pageants. I also write fiction and many of my stories have been featured in anthologies.