Just the Features: Road House: Collector's Edition (Shout! Select) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

2-Disc Blu-ray

Released by: Shout! Factory

Release Date: May 19th, 1989 (Theatrical)
                        Sept. 6th. 2016 (Blu-ray)

Production Year: 1989

Region Code: A (locked)

Run Time: 1h 54m

Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 
             English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 

Video: 1080p (2.35:1 Aspect Ratio)

THE FEATURES: [3 out of 4]

Disc #1: The Film

Audio Commentary #1: Director Rowdy Herrington

This is a very informative, if very dry, commentary. We get a bunch of nice stories about the making of the film and working with the cast. This is a good commentary, but not the best.

Audio Commentary #2: Road House Super Fans Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier

Kevin Smith loves the sound of his own voice so you can tell who does the most speaking. Smith and Mosier are really big fans of the film and poke fun at it while also admiring it. The banter between the two is really fun and they make for a good commentary track. Don't expect a lot of info about the film, but do expect a lot of laughs.

Disc #2: The Special Features

I Thought That You’d Be Taller: The Making of Road House (1h 3m, HD)

The first that I thought when I saw the run time of this doc was “Wow. I didn’t think that we would get an hour long making of.” I figured that we would be in for a treat. As the minutes started counting down on the doc, I realized that quantity does always mean quality. Now, I am not saying that this is a terrible making-of; we still get the behind the scenes stories that we get from all making ofs, but the doc doesn’t do too much deeper than the stories. I know that Road House is not a deep film, but there is just something missing here. It could be that they didn’t get some of the people involved with the film, like Sam Elliott or Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, to be a part of this doc. It could also be that some of the stories told really aren’t that good.

I think that the biggest culprit is the editing. They say that everything comes down to the editing. A single film can be saved with the right editing. I think that this applies to this doc. The editing is all over the place. The doc is setup like a bunch of mini featurettes put together and this kills any type of pace that the filmmakers were trying (or not trying) for and it hurts the overall doc. I really wish that they had gone back and put the “chapters” into an order. First they will talk about Dean Cundey and the photography of the film, then we get a story about a fight that happened, then we get something on the music, then we get something about Patrick Swayze. There is no flow and everything is all over the place.

I really wanted to like this doc more than I did. Like I said, this is all bad. There are some nice stories hidden inside this labyrinth of a documentary. It is ok. I just wish there was a little bit more editing.

Conversation with Director Rowdy Herrington (29m 38s, HD)

Herrington goes over his career, starting with him working on films as a gaffer and moving up the ranks to director. His first film, Jack’s Back, was seen by Joel Silver and that landed Herrington a meeting. He turned down Silver many times before he finally accepted. We also learn that the producers wanted James Garner for the role, but he turned them down.

One thing that Herrington insisted on was that the actors who fight in the film had to know martial arts, or in Sam Elliott’s case, boxing. This was a detail that struck me. Not very many American directors, especially in the 80’s and 90’s, would give two shits about whether the actors could fight or not. I like that Herrington did that because it shows that he was paying more attention than other directors would have.

Pain Don’t Hurt: The Stunts of Road House (22m 29s, HD)

With this being an action film, there are going to be a lot of stunts and fighting. There were two people who would oversee these two aspects of the production.
Charlie Picerni was given the stunts for the film. There aren’t that many big stunts in the film, but he gave his son, Steve, his first big stunt. Steve had the car stunt towards the end of the film and, even though he didn’t pull it off one hundred percent the way it was supposed to go, it did turn out to be a really good stunt.

The fight trainer was Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. Benny “The Jet” has worked on a ton of films, but my introduction to his work was in the Jackie Chan-Sammo Hung-Yuen Biao martial arts comedy Meals on Wheels. He is the bad guys number one hunch man and he fights Jackie Chan in what is considered one of the best fight scenes of all time. “The Jet” would have a round two with Jackie in Dragons Forever. “The Jet” has been working on John Cusack films for twenty years now and he is a very gifted martial artist, so it was a shame that he is not interviewed for this or the main doc on the disc. We see a little bit of him in some behind the scenes photos and he is mentioned a number of times, but we never see him talk about the film. A real shame.

Pretty Good For A White Boy Band: The Music of Road House (9m 23s, HD)

We get to hear some great stories about Jeff Healey and his band. Healey would play during the scenes the songs that were in the scene, but afterwards he would play for the cast and crew. There is a mention of Michael Kamen and his score, but the majority of the talk is about Jeff Healey.

Remembering Patrick Swayze (15m 6s, HD)

Swayze’s widow tells us the story about how they first met and then we hear about their history together. We also get stories by the people who were in the main doc. Not a bad word is said about Swayze and I hear that is how was like to everyone. Not the most comprehensive look at the man’s life and career, but a nice sentiment anyways.

On Road House (17m 23s, Upscaled SD)

This is the main featurette from the special edition dvd. Almost everything said here is said elsewhere on the disc. The only noteworthy thing here are the comments by Swayze himself. These moments are the reason to watch this featurette.

What Would Dalton Do? (12m 26s, Upscaled SD)

Here we get to hear some stories from real bouncers and coolers (of which Dalton is both). These interviews are intercut with footage from the film. There is one or two stories here that are worth the time. From the special edtion dvd.

On the Set (3m 44s, Upscaled SD)  

Some nice fly on the wall footage from some of the fight scenes. A little too brief, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. From the special edition dvd.

Patrick Swayze Profile (2m 41s, Upscale SD)

A very brief promo where Swayze talks about the film. Fluff piece. From the special edition dvd.

Selected Soundbites (11m, Upscaled SD)

This is footage, shot on set, of the cast and crew answering questions. Another fluff piece. From the special edition dvd.

Photo Gallery (3m 20s, HD)

Photos taken during production played to a Jeff Healey song.

Theatrical Trailer (1m 57s, HD)

Standard trailer. Nothing much stands out about the film.

THE PACKAGING: [2.5 out of 4]

This is the first Shout! Factory blu-ray where I was disappointed with in terms of packaging. The cover is the theatrical poster with photos from film on the interior instead of another poster. I know that they do this with some of the lessor films, but this is a Collector’s Editon that is the fourth release in their newly minted Shout! Select line.  There is also no slip cover either. I figured that Buckaroo Banzai got a slip that Road House would get one too. This is the first time, I believe, that a Collector’s Edition has not gotten, at the very least, a slip

Other than that, we get two blu-rays and they are both region A locked.

THE FILM: [2.5 out of 4]

Road House is a cult film. The film was not that big of a hit in the 80’s and it wasn’t until the film was released on home video that it got the following that it has now.
Knowing that, I am a fan of the film, but not biggest. I appreciate the film for what it is: a western in a modern setting. The film plays out the way a corrupted small town film should play out.

So why am I not head over heals for the film? I think that it has to do with the film already having its cult status by the time I got around to watching the film. I was too busy watching the Lethal Weapons, the Die Hards, the Craig R. Baxley films to be too concerned with this film. I knew of it but I really didn’t care. It wasn’t until the dvd was on sale for a ridiculous price that I had to pick it up.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the film. I can get behind it with its cheesy one-liners and tough guy attitude, but the whole film felt like a farce to me. I felt that the filmmakers were laughing at the audience the whole time. The one-liners are a little bit too cheesy, and the action isn’t as good as it should be.

That being said, I would recommend the film to action fans, but not to anyone outside of that genre. I wouldn’t even suggest this to hipsters because the film isn’t bad enough for that to happen to it.

OVERALL: [2.5 out of 4]

The Shout! Select blu-ray is a mixed bag as well. The film looks amazing with its new 2K transfer. I have never seen the film look this good. The depth of field is nice and the color pallet looks natural.

The special features are decent, but nothing to yell about. The two commentary tracks are good with the Road House Super Fans one being the standout.

The doc, on the other, is not that great. There is more wrong with it than right and I would recommend skipping it entirely.

The featurettes fair better because the focus is just on certain aspects of the film. There is a lot more meat in the featurettes than in the main doc.

There are also a lot of deleted scenes that are talked about in the doc, yet are not on this disc. Where are they?

Would I recommend this blu-ray? Yes, but I would give the person the breakdown real quick, so they know before they buy. That is why I write these reviews. I want people to know what they are getting outside of the websites who claim to review the blu-ray, but it is just a film review with the special features listed, or websites who get screener copies so you know that they are kissing enough ass to keep them coming.

If you are buying the blu-ray, wait for a sale. That is my final word on the matter. 

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