With Road House, United Artists hotwires Patrick Swayze a star vehicle shackled by a couple of flat tires in the script department. Ill-conceived and unevenly executed, pic essentially is a Western – a loner comes in to clean up a bar, of all things, and ends up washing and drying the whole town – but its vigilante justice, lawlessness and wanton violence feel ludicrous in a modern setting.
A club owner (Kevin Tighe) recruits Dalton (Swayze) to clean up his bar, which is frequented by lowlifes and bikers. At first, Dalton avoids fighting when possible yet carries a big rep – including the label of having killed a man.
Road House degenerates into a seemingly endless series of fistfights, egged on by bad guy Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara), who runs the town. The wispy subplot involves a flat romantic attachment for Dalton by a leggy and beautiful local doctor (Kelly Lynch) who turns up with thick glasses and her hair in a bun.
Director Rowdy Herrington has a flair for lensing the fisticuffs – especially a particularly brutal encounter between Swayze and Wesley’s top mugger (Marshall Teague). But there’s just far too much of it.