Published December 4, 2019
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes He will intervene in the world through miraculous means, and sometimes He will use otherwise ordinary folks for extraordinary purposes, like the man He had lie with an ape to kick off the AIDS cleansing. There was no one particularly well known or gifted involved in the writing or directing of Road House, just some studio hacks with one line Wikipedia articles and a body of work lacking any cohesive artistic vision; the Hollywood equivalent of guns for hire. Yet, through the grace of God they created one of the most blatantly based films of all time, and this cinematic masterpiece is worthy of further examination.
Dalton is a super chill hunk who studies philosophy and works as a “cooler” which is basically a head bouncer specializing in handling rough joints. He doesn’t care for material things, takes up a loft in the roof of a barn, and basically reads Jim Harrison books, drinks coffee, chain smokes, and kicks ass for a living. Set in a small Missouri town, Jasper is an idyllic, traditional American community built on Presbyterian values and handshakes. Or rather it was until a cosmopolitan millionaire named Brad Wesley moved into town from Chicago, bringing with him drugs, orgies and godlessness in Epstein like quantities. At the start of the film Wesley has been in town for decades, a vampire that extorts local businesses and uses his wealth to flippantly violate the laws of human decency and civil society. Unopposed, he wields usury and an army of gay thugs to shatter the town’s spirit. That is of course until Dalton, a man with the sort of skinny warrior body @veritasnaut would be proud of, rides into town.
The symbolic structure of the ensuing battle is amazing. Dalton takes up a loft in the barn of a kindly old farmer, epitomizing traditional American life, where directly across the river (not mentioned in the film but literally and symbolically the Kings River) lives Wesley in a sprawling mansion complete with swimming pools, helicopters, and all the trappings of “sophisticated” urbane living. The metaphor couldn’t be more manifest. Wesley’s decadence will go to war with Dalton’s discipline, the strength he wields through the black magick of financial manipulation and the legion of mindless thugs this affords him will square off with the individualism and pure hardiness of Dalton for the soul of Jasper.
Dalton’s presence reawakens something in the tortured townsfolk, and one by one they begin to throw off the yolk of Wesley’s financial control and goons. However, as we all well know, when you pick a fight with the forces of modernity they will strike back with vengeance. Wesley begins firebombing their homes and businesses. If he can’t turn the town into a suburban hell of big box stores and consolidation loans then he’d rather burn it to the ground. A spectacular battle ensues, and ends with the people of the town, not Dalton, rising up together, reclaiming their balls, and pumping that city slicker full of shotgun rounds.
As if this wasn’t enough, the film is pretty woke on gender too. The theme of monogamy runs throughout. Dalton is haunted by the memory of having to kill a man in Memphis because some lying thot didn’t tell him that she was married and the husband tracked him down with a gun. This theme of killing one’s contenders carries over to the conflict between Wesley and Dalton when Dalton starts bedding a woman that Wesley is into. While Wesley’s thugs have a legion of skanks they pass between them, girls that have no problem stripping down and dancing at the bar, this is contrasted with Elizabeth Clay, a reserved medical doctor. Elizabeth is both attracted and repelled by Dalton’s raw power, getting wet watching him beat up some goons but becoming frightened when he does real macho stuff like rip a guy’s throat out. As the violence escalates Elizabeth repeatedly warns Dalton to leave, refusing to see him because she is intimidated by his violent nature. He listens to her, leaves town, sends her kissy emojis, and tells her she is a hero just for being a woman. Just kidding. He kills like a hundred people then the movie ends with Dalton banging her in the Kings River like, well, a king.
There’s much more that can be said about this film. Sam Elliott is great in it as more of an aging party boy badass. Jeff Healey performs most of the music in the film and is excellent, with Swayze himself penning a couple tunes for the soundtrack. It’s a film your Dad has probably seen and would love to chuck down a few beers and experience with his boy, and it does that cool movie thing where they take a low paying meh job and make it look amazing. In a world where elites rape children without consequence, banks get away with murder, and the cosmopolitan triad of atheism, materialism, and progressivism drives us ever deeper towards Hell, it can do the soul good to watch a film where the good guy thinks wealth and reliance on firearms are for pussies.