House by the Road

The movie Remake “House by the Road,” hits Amazon Prime later this month.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Road House remake has just premiered at Austin, Texas’ annual SXSW festival. So, how is it? Ahead of the Amazon Prime movie’s debut, the action movie was attached to a slew of controversial headlines between director Doug Liman blasting Amazon for having it go straight to streaming and a lawsuit from the original movie’s screenwriter. With the first reviews here, the feedback is mostly positive, and it’s Conor McGregor who is getting a considerable amount of praise.

Conor McGregor is an Irish MMA fighter and UFC champion who makes his acting debut in Road House alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays protagonist Elwood Dalton. So in the lead-up to the premiere, it was hard to predict just how McGregor might perform. Well, check out what CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell said about Road House after attending the SXSW premiere: 

It didn’t hit me how pedestrian and flat Road House was until Conor McGregor showed up in the story… and finally, the movie wasn’t so humdrum anymore. McGregor (an actual UFC champion) provides the necessary spark every single minute that he’s on screen. His scenes with Gyllenhaal are the film’s most kinetic, and most dangerous.

While Sean O’Connell shared that he “wouldn’t want a whole movie centered around McGregor’s character,” he felt the movie only reaches its “fullest potential” thanks to his presence. O’Connell is far from the only attendee of the premiere that is gassing up the championship-winning fighter’s debut in a major way after seeing Road HouseIndieWire’s Christian Zilko also said this: 

McGregor, on the other hand, steals every scene he’s in. It’s unclear how much of what he does is actually acting, as he simply plays a rowdy and charismatic Irishman who likes to hit people and show off his ridiculous tattoos. But his first acting role (the end credits cheekily say ‘Introducing Conor McGregor’) could establish him as his generation’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, an inimitable sports figure whose very existence is unique enough to justify plopping him into countless blockbusters.

The pundit notably knocked Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in his review, saying the actor doesn’t really sell it as a “conventional ‘80s macho man.” However, he also thought Conor McGregor, who plays the role of Knox, made up for what Gyllenhaal was lacking. On top of that, check out the praise The Guardian had to give the flick:

McGregor, it turns out, is a natural at playing a devilishly flamboyant villain, at times stealing the show from a more grounded Gyllenhaal. Liman keeps the camp in check, though, with a focus on the visceral – broken bones and bloody noses, concussed POV, the sickening crack of a fist connecting with skull. If you have a fear of brain damage or your teeth getting knocked out like piano keys, tread carefully.

The publication’s Adrian Horton gave the movie three out of five stars, sharing that it delivers on a “good time” with some “knuckle-crackling fights” throughout. The Daily Beast also added to the praise for the Ireland native, saying this: 

…it’s when Ben enlists the psychopathic leprechaun Knox (MMA fighter Conor McGregor) to assist him that Road House starts pulsating with sinewy adrenaline and never lets up.

It sounds like the flick is most definitely lucky to have Conor McGregor! The cast also includes Daniela Melchoir, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Lukas Gage and Post Malone. It’s obviously inspired by the iconic Patrick Swayze film from the ’80s but, in this version, Jake Gyllenhaal plays an ex-UFC fighter who takes a job as a bar bouncer in the Florida Keys. Here’s how IGN described McGregor’s performance: 

Somehow, it works – kind of – and that’s mostly because of McGregor’s outlandish villain and Gyllenhaal’s play-it-straight approach. Dalton is brooding and angry and you best believe he can rip your throat if he wanted to.

Overall, following Road House’s buzzy premiere, it sounds like this is an entertaining (but not perfect) revamp of a classic film. All in all, its first audience seems to have had a great time, especially thanks to Con McGregor’s debut as an actor. We’ll see if general audiences enjoy his work as much as critics did at SXSW. Road House will be available to stream exclusively with a Prime Video subscription starting March 21. You can also read up on other hardcore flicks on the 2024 movie schedule later this year.

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