Road House appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer disappointed.
Most of the problems related to sharpness. While many scenes showed decent delineation, more than a few came across as rather soft and ill-defined. The majority of the softness showed up in bar scenes, so some of it may have resulted from the smokiness of those settings, but parts of the rest of the movie showed similar blandness. I noticed light shimmering and jaggies, but edge enhancement was minimal. Source flaws also failed to interfere, as only a couple small specks materialized.
Colors were passable at best. Some shots displayed reasonably vivid tones, but others tended to be murky and mushy. Again, interiors looked the worst. Blacks were inky, while shadows showed mediocre delineation. The positives occurred frequently enough to make this a “C-“ transfer, but it certainly wasn’t a good presentation.
At least the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Road House proved more satisfying. The soundfield opened up matters to a decent degree. Music showed adequate stereo imaging, and the fights created an involving level of activity. The action created a good sense of setting and used the surrounds in a useful manner; they brought out good reinforcement of the elements.
Audio quality was only a little dated. Speech appeared a bit metallic at times, but most lines were fairly natural, and no issues with edginess occurred. Music could’ve been more dynamic, but the songs and scores provided pretty good definition. Effects were also clear and accurate. Though the track never excelled, it seemed fine for its age.
A bunch of extras complete the set. We get two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Director Rowdy Herrington, as he offers a running, screen-specific chat. He looks at sets and locations, cast and crew, music, production design, action and stunts.
Despite the movie’s “camp classic” status, Herrington plays it straight here. If he sees the unintentional humor in his flick, he doesn’t let us know that, as he keeps things bland here. Indeed, though we learn a smattering of mildly useful facts, most of the commentary remains quite dull. Plenty of dead air abounds, and when the director speaks, he tends to provide forgettable notes. This is a boring track.
For the second commentary, we hear from filmmakers Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. They sit together for a running, screen-specific track. Neither had anything to do with Road House, so they’re here essentially to mock it. They throw in some film facts they got off the Internet, but mostly the commentary consists of their random thoughts about the movie.
I’m not a big fan of this sort of camp commentary, as they’re usually dopey and boring. However, Smith rarely is either dull or insipid, so he and Mosier make this an amusing and entertaining chat. They focus on the film’s homoerotic overtones and tell plenty of barely related stories such as Smith’s fight experiences. Really, it’s like hanging out with two funny buddies as they chat during the movie. It’s not mean-spirited, though it’s obvious neither participant thinks it’s a genuinely good film. It’s just a lot of laughs, so it’s definitely worth a listen.
A subtitle commentary arrives via a Trivia Track. This provides facts about the cast and crew along with period details and plenty of snarky cracks about the movie. It proves reasonably informative and enjoyable.
Next we find a featurette called On the Road House. This 17-minute and 21-second piece includes notes from Herrington, film critic Brent Simon, fight coordinator Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, and actors Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Jeff Healey, and Marshall Teague. “House” looks at the movie’s tone and themes, cast, characters, and performances, fight choreography, and the flick’s legacy.
“House” tosses in some a few good notes about the flick, and it also cleanly splits into Those Who Get It and Those Who Don’t. Lynch and Healey are in the former category, so they offer some funny remarks about the movie and its idiocy. The others take the movie much more seriously and don’t seem to understand that its popularity stems from its terrible quality. In any case, the two factions blend well in this enjoyable piece.
For a look at the movie’s sequel, we go to Sneak Peek: Road House 2: Last Call. It lasts five minutes, 21 seconds as it shows behind the scenes shots from the sequel and interviews with stunt coordinator JJ Perry, musician James Otto, director Scott Ziehl, and actors Johnathon Schaech, Jake Busey, Ellen Hollman, and Richard Norton. The clip offers a general overview of the story and characters meant to attract viewers. It has some value due to its shots from the set, but it remains strongly promotional in nature.
What Would Dalton Do? goes for 12 minutes, 23 seconds and includes comments from coolers “Big Mo”, Andrew, “Bear”, and bouncers Sean, Cesar, Robert, and Riley. (Apparently those in bar security don’t have last names.) We find notes about coolers and bouncers as well as some stories about their real-life experiences. This doesn’t become a substantial examination of the subject, but it gives us a decent overview.
Finally, some ads appear in the Previews area. We find promos for “The James Bond Ultimate Collection”, Population 436 and Freedomland. No trailer for Road House appears here.
Somehow I managed to avoid Road House for almost 20 years, and I wish I’d kept that streak alive. A relentlessly idiotic spectacle, I can’t even muster “so bad it’s good” pleasure from it. The DVD suffers from erratic visuals, but it boasts pretty good audio along with a nice collection of supplements. The iffy picture quality makes this a less than stellar DVD, and the movie itself remains a dog.