I was scouring the Internet some time ago and found out they’d made a sequel to Road House. I’m not sure why. The original came out in 1989, starred Patrick Swayze playing a bouncer in a hick bar and has been routinely included on “enjoyably bad” film lists ever since. The new one stars Johnathon Schaech. He’s a po-faced hunk with ‘the charisma of a crocus’, I tell my friend Benno (a.k.a. Benito Robinsoni, whose horror short Neon Killer caused a murmur of approval amongst splatter afficionados some years back). Then I ask him to watch the film with me.
Road House 2 sees Johnathon playing the now-dead Swayze’s son, who has to go help his uncle at a bar being overrun by drug dealers. It’s got good potential. Normally the girls in these sequels are exponentially more unattractive than the previous film, because the budgets are less and Benno and I are convinced more often than not, the director just casts whichever babe he is currently sleeping with. But the heroine in this is hot. There’s also a random dwarf, which is always a good sign.
‘I bet this film was directed by someone on hiatus from Smallville,’ says Benno. ‘It looks like an episode of Nash Bridges.’
I can feel his blood beginning to boil and stifle a laugh.
‘We’ve only watched 25 minutes and it feels like I’ve lived a lifetime inside this movie,’ he says. ‘I want to ring Schaech and slag him off down the phone. Could you set that up?’
I probably could, but I can’t be bothered. He strikes me as someone who takes himself far too seriously. The kind of guy who gets genuinely angry when he doesn’t get Oscar-nominated for a Czech-set erotic thriller in which he plays an Israeli flower salesman-turned-assassin who desperately wants to dance the Bolero on stage before he dies of a terminal disease. Why didn’t Johnathon Schaech change his name when he got into acting? As we get more and more hateful towards the film, we start pronouncing it like we’re brewing up a huge gobful of mucus. Either that or like we’re reading out the register at a Hungarian school. Actually, in some of these straight-to-DVD pics, I think that’s who gets cast in them. Even the kids have beards.
‘He’s got a sanctimonious, smug face and I want to punch him,’ Benno continues. ‘This is the kind of film made by talentless rich kids doing too much coke who want to get into movies.’
But would Benno really want to make Road House 3?
‘You’re damn right I’d make it. Only I’d make it really violent, with proper kick-ass fight scenes. You can’t even tell for sure if Schnectatroid is actually doing any of the stunts? He does the whole training scene, but you can’t see his face when the real action comes around. I reckon it’s a body double.’
‘You could be his body double. He’s got the same kind of hairy chest as you.’
‘You want to get into a hairy chest contest with someone who spells his name Johnathon?”
‘A film like this needs to be gritty and realistic, not like a glossy TV episode,’ he says. ‘It worked in the Eighties, because you had the Swayz taking off his top and dancing around and it was all stylized. You could get away with that then. This isn’t heightened enough to be Crouching Tiger… elegant, or gritty enough to be like an indie. It’s just like The A-Team. Only the plan isn’t coming together and no-one’s loving anything.’
‘I’d like to have a go at a straight-to-DVD horror sequel,’ he continues. ‘I would hire Johnathon Schaech and then disembowel him in the most gruesome death scene in movie history. Anyone that’s seen his films would watch it, it would be a huge hit. I’d get a slew of thank you cards.’
The whole issue gets really confused when goodie Will Patton starts talking about Atch-aech as his next of kin. Patrick Swayze starred in a film called Next Of Kin in the same year as the original Road House. This is all getting far too meta. We finish the movie, I ask Benno’s opinion and he simply gets up and farts on the TV. Touche.