Rumors of MGM’s planned reimagining of Road House, the cult 1980s action film starring Patrick Swayze as a bar security expert of sorts in Missouri, have been roaming free on the internet for years at this point, but this rumor has seemingly finally materialized into a genuine project. News came down today from Variety that Ronda Rousey is expected to step into the Swayze role in MGM’s Road House reboot, meaning that there will likely be a steep drop in the amount of masculine grab-assing that goes on in the original.
Rousey has been working overtime to capitalize on her current fame, making a bit for a Marvel property and co-starring in two of the most reprehensible films to be released recently: 2015’s Entourage and 2014’s The Expendables 3. That being said, there’s no denying that Rousey has that “quality” that so many producers have spoken about, an ability to hold the camera, even if her delivery isn’t particularly, er, graceful. With the right director, Rousey could be as galvanizing a presence as Gina Carano ended up being in Steven Soderbergh‘s thrilling Haywire, though her performance required extensive dubbing in post-production. Nevertheless, as a physical presence, Carano was bracingly engaging and Rousey may have similar appeal when asked to anchor a film on her own.
For what it’s worth, the original film is quite a hoot, entertaining if not even remotely enlightening. With a greater focus on the fighting – choreography over back story – the reboot route could prove very rewarding in this particular case. This is also a case in which retooling the narrative as a comedy, rather than a straight-laced action film, could make for a lot more invention from a paper-thin premise. In other words, if this went the way of 21 Jump Street rather than something like The Equalizer, it might make for an honest-to-god franchise rather than just another grim action film that births a horrid sequel for no apparent reason beyond the marketing rule of name recognition.