I held my tongue when we met the third Spider-Man in a decade. I kept quiet when the Terminator franchise got its fifth John Connor. I only grumbled quietly when the Total Recall reboot didn’t even go to Mars! But today’s news about a Road House reboot with UFC star Ronda Rousey was the breaking point. I can’t stay quiet any longer. Hollywood: Pull the plug on the reboot machine! Like, now.
It’s not that I have a problem with Rousey. She is, by all accounts, a total badass — so dominant in her field that her fights these days last about as long as it takes for the fight bell to stop ringing. And, while she may be a pretty terrible actress, you can’t blame the girl for milking her moment in the spotlight. But, here’s the thing: A Road House remake is an absolutely preposterous idea. It’s something that virtually no one (whether they realize it or not) wants to see.
The chances of a production team recapturing the lighting-in-a-bottle ‘80s magic of the original creation are next to nil.
The concept for this cinematic abomination undoubtedly came about in one of two ways. One: At an early-morning pitch meeting, a coked-out MGM VP who didn’t do his homework blurted out the first thing that came to mind. Two: A calculating penny pincher did some math and realized just how inexpensive it would be to land the talent, hack up a script, and trade off of the name recognition of a popular property. I’m just going to go with the latter, as it’s the most likely of the two scenarios, albeit still pathetic.
The primary problem here is that Road House should never have been made in the first place. The movie, which has become a cult classic, only works due to a strange alchemy of cheesy ‘80s sentimentality, guttural violence, and a rubber-tight Patrick Swayze in his prime that appealed equally to both sides of the aisle as both a sex symbol and an utterly approachable action hero. Also, he rips a guy’s throat out at the end — which is awesome.
The chances of a production team — any production team — coming anywhere near recapturing the lighting-in-a-bottle ‘80s magic of that strange creation are next to nil. Prediction: In an effort to bring in teen audiences, and be more PC, the Rousey remake will be rated PG-13. Second prediction: Whether it makes money or not, this movie will be an utter failure in the grander scheme, and forgotten as quickly as this article.
I could go off on some longer tangent about the perils of taking the easy road, the loss of any semblance of creative spark in the world of blockbusters, and how TV (didn’t you know?) is now the only true bastion for richly drawn storylines in today’s entertainment landscape. But that’s been done before, too.
And it’s not that there aren’t some sparkling properties of high imagination that can be readapted by the directorial wizards of our age to make something great – JJ Abrams, the heir apparent to Spielberg’s throne, proved that with his brilliant reimagining of the Star Trek universe (camera flares/Khan liberties and all). We’re all hoping his talents will finally bring some much-needed legitimacy back to the greatest franchise in sci-fi history, Star Wars.
But a few exceptions aside, the bottom line about the Road House remake, and so many others of its ilk is this: It’s a dumb idea, taken from a dumb movie that will create an even dumber new one. We’re not going to stop going to movies, the film industry isn’t going to collapse, and the end is not near for the once-great reign of silver screen imagination.
But seriously, guys, give us all a break.
Sometimes, when the idea well runs dry, you need to sit out a play or two. At the least, you’ll save yourselves some time and aggravation, and, at best, a few truckloads of cash. But most importantly, you’ll stop looking like a bunch of out-of-touch hucksters trying to make a quick buck. We love our movies. Quit screwing them up.