Archive for the ‘Doug Liman’ Category

Florida Keys Fighter

Road House

Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Magnussen, Conor MacGregor, Daniela Melchior, Jessica Williams, Joaquim de Almeida, Lukas Gage, Hannah Love Lanier

Running Time: 2 hours and 1 minute

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime

Film Rating:  6.5 out of 10


21st century remakes of 1980’s action movies can be hit and miss but in the 2024 version of the 1989 film Road House, this time starring Jake Gyllenhaal as ex-UFC fighter Dalton who gets a job at a dive bar in the Florida Keys as a bouncer starts off really cheesy but ends with a bang.

That’s thanks to the casting of Mixed Martial Arts fighter Conor MacGregor as Dalton’s nemesis, the psychotic Knox and the fight sequence at the end is riveting. While the script in Road House needed some work, the Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman does maintain the pace of this action remake.

Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) bulks up for the role of Dalton, the muscular tough ex fighter now bouncer who assists Road House owner Frankie played by Jessica Williams as she tries to fend off a vicious biker gang from destroying her property on the instructions of spoilt brat faced rich kid Ben Brandt, wonderfully played by Billy Magnussen who seems to stealing all the villain roles since his turn in the last Bond film No Time To Die.

There are a lot of cheesy bar fight scenes in Road House and the dialogue is naturally not top notch, but Road House is a perfectly entertaining action film to watch especially if viewers are a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal.

The love interest in the film is the local nurse Ellie played by Portuguese actress Daniela Melchior and her corrupt Sheriff father is played by a fellow Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida (Fast Five, Desperado, The Hitman’s Bodyguard).

Gyllenhaal plays against type and seeks some of his inner demons which he displayed so brilliantly in the excellent Dan Gilroy 2014 film Nightcrawler, except that he is too good an actor to really be appearing in flashy 1980’s remakes but fortunately his talent and leading man appeal saves Road House from becoming completely disastrous.

Road House is a thrilling action film with a standard storyline of hero comes to town to save the town folk from evil villains except this time the town is in the gorgeous and sultry Florida Keys. Thankfully film makers can do so much with such a tropical location and it’s perfect for complex action sequences involving ski boats and high ways just like in the Bad Boys franchise.

Road House gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10, it’s not going to win any awards but it is a great way to spend two hours on a rainy afternoon if viewers are looking for a decent film on the streaming sites.

The Medellin Shuffle

American Made

Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Caleb Landry Jones, Jesse Plemons, Jayma Marks, Lola Kirke, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez

Fair Game, Edge of Tomorrow and Mr & Mrs Smith director Doug Liman reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow blockbuster star Tom Cruise (Top Gun, A Few Good Men, The Last Samurai) in American Made giving Oscar nominee Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire, Magnolia) an opportunity to act out of his franchise restricted roles in Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher movies.

Cruise’s boyish charm and cheeky bravado is put on full display in American Made when he plays TWA pilot Barry Seal who after initially smuggling banned Cuban cigars into the US, gets recruited by a brash CIA agent Monty Schafer played by Domhnall Gleeson who asks him to run reconnaissance missions in Central America mainly in Nicaragua, Honduras and then further down to drug riddled Colombia.

Soon Barry gets caught up with the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia working for a gang of swarthy and ruthless Latino’s including Pablo Escobar and is flying drug running missions from Medellin back to America.

In the meantime, because of the associated risks involved, Barry hastily moves his wife Lucy played by Sarah Wright and children from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Mena, Arkansas.

In the quiet town of Mena, Arkansas with funding from both the CIA who want Barry to spy on the drug cartels and with exorbitant amounts of cash the Medellin cartel are paying him, the town starts booming financially until things go horribly wrong specifically when Lucy’s redneck brother JB wonderfully played by Caleb Landry Jones gets arrested by Sheriff Downing played by Jesse Plemons (Black Mass).

Mozart in the Jungle star Lola Kirke (Mistress America, Gone Girl) has a brief appearance as the suspicious Sheriff’s wife Judy Downing.

The unmanageability of Barry’s life rapidly begins to spiral out of control when he is accosted by drug enforcement agencies as well as trying to appease the brutal Medellin control in between being caught up in all sorts of international Reagan era political intrigue involving American backed rebels fighting the Communist Sandinista’s in Nicaragua.

Tom Cruise gives one of his best onscreen performance in a convoluted film sufficiently directed by Doug Liman while the script does not give sufficient screen time to the supporting actors of whom Caleb Landry Jones (Contraband) stands out as the reckless brother-in-law who inadvertently draws attention to the Mena Medellin drug run shuffle. The best line in the film is “I am the Gringo that delivers stuff”.

If audiences enjoyed films like Kill the Messenger, then American Made is similar viewing held together by Cruise’s flying bravado which first captivated audiences in the hit film Top Gun.

American Made gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 while the flashback structure of the narrative is cleverly crafted in a palatable cinematic style, so that the film’s ending is shocking but not unexpected. Recommended viewing.

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