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Overview | ‘Highway Home’: All brawn, no mind and little or no enjoyable

(1.5 stars)

“Highway Home” was not successful when it first got here out in 1989, but it surely turned an enormous hit on house video and past, not least as a result of it was such an ideal artifact of its period: The mullets! The informal sexism! The Sam Elliott realness!

To not point out the Patrick Swayze of all of it. Capitalizing on “Soiled Dancing,” which made him an prompt heartthrob, Swayze made “Highway Home” as a approach to showcase his preternatural bodily presents — this time preventing as an alternative of lifting and catching Jennifer Gray in a steamy pas de deux. The end result was a pageant of battle choreography, picket romance and hypermasculine hokum that quickly entered the annals of so-bad-it’s-good camp classics.

Remaking “Highway Home” is a supremely dumb concept, so it’s becoming that it has morphed right into a self-consciously dumb film. What’s much less becoming is that it’s so surpassingly boring. Jake Gyllenhaal has assumed Swayze’s function of the legendary bar bouncer named Dalton, right here a former UFC fighter who has fetched up within the Florida Keys to avoid wasting the destiny of a gutbucket dive known as — cue figuring out laughter — the Highway Home. The bar’s proprietor, Frankie (a spirited Jessica Williams), has employed Dalton to purge the riffraff, the higher to comprehend her dream of constructing the Highway Home a decent joint worthy of vacation spot weddings and romantic getaways.

Directed by Doug Liman with slick manufacturing values and an ever-present wink, “Highway Home” has performed away with the Eighties artifacts (no extra cigarettes and nude dancing), accessorizing the requisite bar fights, bullies and beefcake with boats, skintight bar bands and breezy, brotastic humor. Billy Magnussen has the doubtful honor of enjoying the psychotic villain of the piece, a spoiled brat who runs the fictional group of Glass Key with sadistic droit du seigneur; real-life blended martial arts champion Conor McGregor makes his function movie debut as a jolly, tattooed killer for rent who strikes by the idiotic story delivering physique blows and foolish asides in a cheerful Irish brogue.

Gyllenhaal, certain to attract gasps when he first takes his shirt off, takes his punches with a goofy, good-natured grin worthy of Dalton’s peaceful nature. (His love curiosity continues to be a reasonably physician, this time performed by Daniela Melchior.) In each iterations of “Highway Home,” the purpose is the fetishization of the male physique; whereas the foundations of cinema dictate that girls be lowered to their element sexualized elements, males are ritualistically lowered to a bloody however one way or the other nonetheless fascinating pulp.

As an train in B-movie exploitation, “Highway Home” is of a bit with different choices this season, specifically Ethan Coen’s “Drive-Away Dolls” and the Kristen Stewart automobile “Love Lies Bleeding.” All of them hark again to a rowdy, rough-and-tumble time when films had been content material to be vessels of visceral want success and senseless, immediately disposable escapism. If “Highway Home” had been extra enjoyable, if it didn’t trot out its battle sequences with such workmanlike regularity, it might need attained the kitschy greatness of its predecessor. Nevertheless it doesn’t aspire to rather more than mining the mental property catalogue for a quick-and-dirty money seize. It scratches an itch, with simply sufficient type to be barely respectable, leaving little extra in its wake than a couple of black eyes and a bleary, well-that-happened shrug.

R. Accessible on Prime Video. Incorporates pervasive violence, profanity and a few nudity. 121 minutes.

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