Tale Of The Tape: Road House vs. Road House 2: Last Call

Road House (1989) is one of my favorite movies of all time. So, when I heard about the sequel called Road House 2: Last Call (2006) starring Dalton’s son, I was skeptical. I finally added it to the top of my queue recently, gave it a watch and figured I would do a little comparison between the two in the classic Tale Of The Tape format comparing various elements of the movies against each other. Spoiler Warning: the original wins, but the sequel does gain the edge in a few categories. Also, please excuse the weird sizes, for some reason my computer wouldn’t read the widescreen side of my Road House DVD. Hit the jump for the full deal. 

THE PLOT

ORIGINAL: Dalton, the best cooler in the business, gets hired to clean up the Double Deuce and runs afoul of Brad Wesley, the guy who runs the town his way, regardless of the law.
SEQUEL: Dalton’s brother Nate gets attacked for not selling his bar, the Black Pelican, to Wild Bill who wants to run drugs out of it. Dalton’s son DEA agent Shane Tanner comes in to run things and runs afoul of Wild Bill and his drug kingpin. Oh yeah, Shane’s also trying to figure out who killed Dalton.
WINNER: The original isn’t super-original in and of itself, but the sequel is pretty much an “updated” retread of the original.

THE HERO

ORIGINAL: Dalton (Patrick Swayze), as mentioned, is the best cooler in the biz. He travels around the country taking jobs to clean up bars. He’s pretty zen when it comes to the art of quelling bar fights, but still knows how to kick ass. He’s even got a dark secret in his past where he killed a guy in self defense.
SEQUEL: Shane (Johnathon Schaech) works for the DEA and seems to have learned about cooling (coolering?) from his dad, but he’s not quite as zen. He’s haunted by the knowledge that his dad was killed by someone who was actually trying to kill him.
WINNER: Sorry Schaeach, you can’t beat Swayze, though I do admit you’ve got a good amount of charisma. (1-0)

THE GIRL

ORIGINAL: Kelly Lynch plays Doc, the doctor who helps stitch Dalton up and, of course, falls for him (how could you not?). She turns out to be related to the guy who owns the hardware store.
SEQUEL: Ellen Hollman plays Beau. Shane stops to help her with her tire and they flirt for the rest of the movie. She turns out to be Wild Bill’s cousin. Oh, plus, she’s an army-trained ass kicker.
WINNER: Though her story’s pointlessly convoluted, this one goes to the sequel. She’s just way hotter. (1-1)

THE BAD GUY

ORIGINAL: Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) came back from Korea and built the town up. But that wasn’t enough for him, as he uses his power and influence to extort money from the various shop owners under threat of violence. Surrounds himself with incompetent goons. Swerves down the road while listening to oldies. The kind of guy who can smile at your face while stabbing you in the back. Not great in a fight.
SEQUEL: Wild Bill (Jake Busey) is an up-and-coming drug dealer who wants the Black Pelican to run drugs through. Surrounds himself with mostly incompetent goons and one chic who’s good with knives. Swerves down the road while listening to shitty hip-hop. The kind of guy who’s a complete over the top d-bag. Was trained by Dalton how to fight (former cooler).
WINNER: Brad might not be able to beat Wild Bill in a fight, but he’s by far the cooler villain. Not only does he not work for someone else, but Gazzara absolutely flattens Busey when it comes to acting chops. Busey’s performance is just completely ridiculous. (2-1)

THE BAR OWNER

ORIGINAL: Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe) hires Dalton, giving him complete hire/fire power of his bar. Doesn’t do much else.
SEQUEL: Shane’s uncle Nate (Will Patton) kicks some serious ass against Wild Bill and his goons, but goes down only to heal enough in the hospital to kick even more ass. In a hospital gown no less.
WINNER: Gotta give this one to the sequel. He’s just way cooler and kicks some serious ass. Tighe does get points for being Locke’s dad on Lost though, just not enough to give him the W. (2-2)

THE BACKUP

ORIGINAL: When Dalton’s in trouble he calls the dude who trained him Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott). Dances with Dalton’s girl. Kicks some ass. Gets beat up. Stabbed on top of the bar.
SEQUEL: When Shane’s in trouble he calls fellow DEA Agent Jim Monyhan (Grover Coulson). Monyhan not only helps screw up a drug bust but also doesn’t really do much else.
WINNER: Does it need to be said? Sam Elliott all the way. He wins pretty much every category you could put him in for comparison. Mustache? Wins. Best Thing About A Bad Movie? Wins (Ghost Rider). (3-2)

THE GOONS

ORIGINAL: Wesley’s goons are all pretty nondescript. There’s the fat guy. The guy that bleeds too much. And most importantly, the guy whose heart Dalton rips out who liked to have sex with men like Dalton in prison.
SEQUEL: Wild Bill’s goons are a bit more varied. You’ve got the short stocky black dude who looks like he’s always leaning forward. Then there’s the chick with the knives. Is that it? That’s all I can remember.
WINNER: I’m calling this one a draw. Deal with it! (4-3)

THE WHITE BLUESMAN

ORIGINAL: Blind guitar player Jeff Healey plays Cody. He rocks a guitar on his lap, has a history with Dalton and, thanks to an abundance of footage of him and his band playing, feels like an actual part of the story.
SEQUEL: It took way too much effort to discover the name of the guy who leads the band in RH2. He’s James Otto. He doesn’t do much but play and say something to Shane in passing.
WINNER: While both dudes know their blues, Healey wins for being more a part of the story and more inspiring (not for being blind, but for being blind and trusting that there’s a chickenwire fence in front of you so the drunks can’t hit you with a flying beer bottle). (5-3)

THE WINNER AND STILL CHAMPEEN
You gave it a go sequel, but you just can’t top the original. For the most part, I enjoyed RH2, it wasn’t a great movie and I felt that Busey’s performance actually really brought the whole thing down a few notches. I liked the nods to the original, but really disliked how Dalton being murdered like a chump was such a huge part of the story. I’d rather think of him out there kicking ass and taking names still. Oh, also, the huge number of coincidences that take place in the end of the movie to wrap things up is just too much. Not only did the guy who Wild Bill works for order the hit on Shane, but Wild Bill was the guy who actually killed Dalton. Even if it was by surprise and an accident, I still don’t like the idea of that chump taking out one of the raddest dudes in movie history.

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