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Jake Gyllenhaal’s a Nice Guy With a Mean Uppercut in Trailer for Doug Liman’s ‘Road House’

Jake Gyllenhaal is the Mr. Rogers of bar brawls in the first look at Doug Liman’s updated take on the Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott 1989 classic, Road House.

In the trailer, which is nearly two and a half minutes of nonstop knockouts, Gyllenhaal leads as Elwood Dalton, an ex-UFC middleweight fighter who takes one too many hits, and it’s not clear he can — or wants to — get back up. He’s living out of his beat-up car and participating in underground fighting rings when he’s found by Jessica Williams’ bar owner, who invites him to come work for her.

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“A friend of mine suggested I come talk to you. I own a roadhouse out in the Florida Keys. Lately it’s been attracting the wrong clientele,” she tells him. “I can pay you good money. Judging by your car, you need that shit.”

Gyllenhaal’s fighter is the kind of man who believes “no one wins a fight.” But a seemingly never-ending stream of bad men — including Billy Magnussen’s rich developer Grant and an over-aggressive, in-your-face roughneck played by boxer and MMA fighter Conor McGregor in his first-ever film role — sees this bar’s new bouncer putting men down to defend the place, where he works alongside Williams and Lukas Gage’s bar back.

As Grant throws all the men he has at the bar and Elwood, Gyllenhaal fights back against Grant’s plan to “build a bullshit resort for rich assholes” in the only way he knows how. “Guy’s all nice and shit, like he’s Mr. Rogers or something, but then he beats the living shit out of you,” Arturo Castro’s character tells Magnussen’s while they’re floating on a yacht. “Really interesting guy overall.”

All the while, Castro’s still wearing the marks of a disastrous fight earlier with Elwood, in which the former MMA middleweight asked a group of men, including JD Pardo, “Before we start, do you have insurance? Is your coverage good? You have dental? Is there a hospital nearby? Is it, like, too far?” just seconds before he lays them all out in a parking lot.

The trailer features McGregor’s “smashing” antagonist; Daniela Melchior’s local lifesaver, ER nurse Ellie; the scene filmed during the ceremonial weigh-ins for UFC 285 in Las Vegas; and more in a teaser that brings Liman’s kind of rowdy — including headbutts and boat explosions — to Road House. “It takes a lot to get me angry,” Gyllenhaal’s Elwood says. “But when I am, I just can’t let go.”

Joaquim de Almeida, B.K. Cannon, Beau Knapp and Darren Barnet also star in the film, based on the 1989 Road House screenplay by David Lee Henry and Hilary Henkin, with a story by Anthony Bagarozzi, Charles Mondry and Henry.

Written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, produced by Joel Silver and executive produced by J.J. Hook, Alison Winter, Aaron Auch and Audie Attar, the film is set to debut on Prime Video on March 21.

Around the news of the film’s streaming release date yesterday, Liman — known for directing Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Edge of Tomorrow — said that he would not appear for the reimagining’s SXSW premiere in March after Amazon MGM Studios made the decision to not give it a theatrical release.

In a guest column published yesterday, the director said Amazon — who bought the film’s studio MGM after Liman signed on to helm the pic in 2021 — did the “opposite of what they promised when they took over.”

“Amazon asked me and the film community to trust them and their public statements about supporting cinemas, and then they turned around and are using Road House to sell plumbing fixtures,” he wrote.

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