Road House 2

Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 07/13/06 15:13:23

"Pain don't hurt, indeed."
2 stars (Pretty Crappy)

Combine dopey action, pointless direct-to-video sequels, and crap with a random Busey in it, and you’ve got the perfect storm of cheese. But it’s more: this one’s a sequel to “Road House.” Batten down the hatches!

Yes, after years of studios clogging up our video store shelves with unwanted sequels to everything from “The Prince & Me” to “Timecop,” we finally get a follow-up to “Road House,” that masterpiece of glorious idiocy that found Patrick Swayze playing a philosophical bouncer who spouted immortal nuggets of truth including “Pain don’t hurt,” “Be nice until it’s time to not be nice,” and “My way or the highway.”

Swayze couldn’t be bothered with popping by for a sequel, so instead we get Johnathan Schaech in the leading role. Schaech, whose name I always want to mispronounce as “skay-eeeeeeetch,” was a rising star a decade ago, with prominent roles in such varied works as “How To Make an American Quilt,” “Hush,” “The Doom Generation,” and “That Thing You Do!” Stardom failing him, he has long since settled into the B world, taking on roles in the limp vampire flick “Forsaken,” the limper TV thriller “Blood Crime,” and - oh, this can’t be good - the DTV sequel “8MM 2.”

For the cleverly titled “Road House 2,” Schaech officially becomes a B level action star, with the film using up long shots of him practicing kickboxing, often without a shirt. (Schaech really wants you to know he’s been working out.) But here’s the thing: he fits. Schaech was never one for charisma or screen presence - he was always the vacant, handsome one - so letting him bulk up and kick people in the face, well, sure, why not? After all, Lorenzo Lamas can’t be in everything.

Anyway. Schaech is Shane Turner, son of Swayze’s James Dalton, who was killed off in between movies in what I’m sure is tearfully remembered as The Day The Bouncing Stopped. Shane’s an undercover agent for the DEA - we know this because he walks around in a T-shirt that has “DEA” on its back in massive letters, making it the least effective undercover outfit ever. When we first meet him, he’s receiving a lap dance from a fellow agent who’s undercover as a stripper. All dialogue (not to mention the humping and the grinding) leads us to believe that these two are an item; if they are, they’re not much of one, as she never appears in the movie again; in fact, we quickly get a new love interest in the form of a blonde cutie (Ellen Hollman). It makes no sense until you learn that Schaech co-wrote the screenplay, and then, ah, we understand it all. Random lap dances from unimportant bit players in lingerie? Make-out sessions with aspiring young starlets? Well played, Johnny!

Shane’s uncle, Nate (Will Patton!), is the owner of the Black Pelican, a greasy bar down in the bayou that’s conveniently right along some drug trafficking lines. Ex-bouncer Wild Bill (Jake Busey!!) wants to buy the place so he can turn it into a headquarters for his growing drug empire; Nate’s not selling. Fans of the original can guess where this is headed: Nate winds up in the hospital, Shane drops by to run the bar for a while, and faces get kicked. Oh, and Shane’s constantly on the hunt for his daddy’s killer. You think he’ll find him before the closing credits roll?

The film doesn’t quite have the mindless zeal of its predecessor, and there’s even a bit of desperation at hand as to remind renters that this is a sequel. Many of the original’s best (worst) lines are cheaply repeated; newer attempts at duplicating the witty dialogue of the first movie stumble. There’s just not as much zing. Although you are legally required to absolutely love hearing Will Patton crack: “Stab me once, shame on you. Stab me twice, not gonna happen!” He then follows this, naturally, by kicking someone in the face. Or maybe he punched somebody in the kidney.

(Meanwhile, the prize for most embarrassing line of dialogue comes from a geeky aspiring bouncer. In one scene, he walks up to a troublemaker, pretends to be a robot, and says, “Know why they call me The Robot? ’Cause I’m automatically kickin’ your ass!”)

As for Busey… well, he seems to think he’s in a comedy. And he’s partly right. Busey hams things up to a breaking point, screaming and flailing at every opportunity, refusing to take any of this seriously. Good for him.

In fact, “Road House 2” is the kind of movie that knows it’s not very good and has found some comfort in that knowledge. This is a lousy, lousy movie, but it’s also plenty fun - sometimes even on purpose! - and that makes it hard not to like it, even when it’s being completely horrible. It’s ridiculous B movie junk, but in a fun way. The fight scenes and random gratuitous nudity will please anybody who goes out of their way to rent “Road House 2” without a pinch of irony; those who rent this sarcastically will be giggling like mad at the laughable plot points and second-rate acting. There’s no way I can possibly give this a positive score, but for a few certain segments of the population (you know who you are), I can say that “Road House 2” delivers everything you could possibly want out of a movie called “Road House 2.” It even has people getting kicked in the face. A lot.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.