By Lynn Venhaus

I was bored silly by Amazon’s unnecessary, ultraviolent streaming remake of “Road House,” a pale imitation of the original 1989 cheese-fest that starred the chiseled Patrick Swayze rocking a mullet as James Dalton, a black belt in karate and a Ph.D. in philosophy.

Granted, I am not the demo. This re-imagining is a macho man’s movie.

In “Southpaw” (2015) fighting mode, Oscar-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal is a campy, corny Dalton for the 21st century, a troubled soul who speaks with his fast fists. With the first name of Elwood, he’s jacked as an ex-UFC mixed martial arts fighter who pummels many a tough guy.

But sadly, Gyllenhaal is flat, nowhere near as magnetic as the late great Swayze, who knew how to elevate his roaming cooler in that rowdy ‘80s B-movie with his off-the-charts charisma, a world-class side-eye, and a Zen approach.

Devoid of any charm – where is Sam Elliott when you desperately need him? – this new version is mostly wall-to-wall vicious blood-spurting fighting where people are intent on maiming and breaking bones. It’s a whole lot of ugly. (Not that Swayze didn’t crack some liquored-up redneck skulls and rack up a high-body count).

The filmmakers have switched the location from a roughneck Jasper, Missouri honkytonk, the Double Deuce, to a coastal paradise in the Florida Keys, a fictional place called Glass Key Island. The open-air beach spot, owned by Jessica Williams (of “Shrinking”), is generically called “Road House,” and its claim to fame is that Hemingway drank there. OK…

In his new role as a highly paid bar bouncer, Elwood’s lean mean fighting machine takes on a lot of low-life high-wattage testosterone, and we watch big sweaty guys covered in tattoos mess with each other.

They unwisely pick fights with Dalton, who tries to control a deep well of rage. But like Swayze, he’s incorruptible and far smarter than the goons he’s tasked with keeping in line.

Co-screenwriters Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry plus R. Lance Hill, whose name appeared on the first one as David Lee Henry, responsible for the story and screenplay with Hilary Henkin, have collaborated on a thin, uneven story with extremely ridiculous dialogue. Maybe they used AI because that script is soulless.

Like the original, it takes itself far too seriously – and should just have some fun with the over-the-top melodrama. Most surprisingly, it is directed by Doug Liman, who has helmed several crowd-pleasing films, like “Swingers,” “The Bourne Identity” and “Edge of Tomorrow.” Where is the verve?

The unremarkable cast brings very little personality to this tale and play mostly unlikable characters. In an off-putting opening, Post Malone, the singer, plays a hulking guy who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and later, as a major big deal, Irish professional boxer Conor McGregor has a protracted fight, but his acting skills are severely limited.

The supporting cast providing the story’s conflicts are no match for the original – love interest Kelly Lynch had electric chemistry with Swayze while Melchior isn’t given much to do in this second go-round. Ben Gazzara’s slimy crime lord was a far superior villain than Billy Magnussen’s hard-to-believe slick corporate manipulator.

Furniture and glass break, bodies break, and the whole metaphysical dilemma about people’s purpose on earth is given a once-over. Eyes glare, fists fly, and highly choreographed fights ensue – although pointlessly heavily CGI’d in the remake.

Whatever floats your boat, but this floundering “Road House” doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. It seems to be just a whole lotta empty noise.

“Road House” is a 2024 action-thriller directed by Doug Liman and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Conor McGregor, Lukas Cage, Hannah Lanier, and Post Malone. It is rated R for violence throughout, pervasive language and some nudity and has a run time of 2 hours, 1 minute. It began streaming on Amazon Prime on March 21. Lynn’s Grade: D-.

The original “Road House” is now streaming on MAX, FYI.

The 1989 “Road House” original cast of Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliott.

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