What do these two men have in common? One is an Irish MMA fighter and whiskey owner, known for brash tactics and putting people to sleep with his left hand; the other is an American actor who just seems like a really nice guy. So what gives? Well, the official Roadhouse trailer has been released, and if you’re a fan of sweaty dudes fighting in bars, then you’ve come to the right place.

The trailer looks like it’s going to give exactly what you pay for: minimal, and very cheesy dialogue, and a lot of testosterone.

This is also Conor McGregor’s first big screen debut, but this film was initially scheduled to star Ronda Rousey during her previous heyday as the most celebrated female athlete on the planet, but as the story of Icarus told us, sometimes you fly too close to the sun. During Rousey’s UFC championship reign she not only graced the cover of video games and was mentioned by Beyonce during her Coachella performance, but the fighter starred in the Fast & Furious part 87The Entourage Movie, and one of The Expendables movies, and was slated to star in her own reboot of the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic, Roadhouse.

But that all came crumbling down when she took a head kick to the face, compliments to Holly Holm, and her sour pre-fight and post-fight antics quickly repelled most of her fans, along with movie deals, sponsorships, and star status. Can you believe that was almost 10 years ago?

Conor McGregor has seen a bit of a slump himself in his recent fights, but due to his unflinching brashness and take-it-or-leave-it personality, coupled with strategically endorsed sponsorships, whisky brands, and his tentative hints at a UFC return (against Michael Chandler), his star power has only barely waned, if at all. Conor is also a businessman, and one can’t help feel that, much like 1970s Arnold Schwarzenegger, he used prize fighting and charisma to get his way onto the Mt. Olympus of entertainment. If this film bodes well for the Irishman, the chance that we’ll see him return to 4am sprints, brutal weight cuts and bloodied fisticuffs seems rather slim.

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Upon the trailer release, director Doug Liman, who got his start with one of the defining films of the 90s and a personal favourite, Swingers, will not be at the Roadhouse premiere at the upcoming SXSW festival.


“When Road House opens the SXSW film festival, I won’t be attending,” Liman ensured. “The movie is fantastic, maybe my best, and I’m sure it will bring the house down and possibly have the audience dancing in their seats during the end credits. But I will not be there. My plan had been to silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen. But Amazon is hurting way more than just me and my film. If I don’t speak up about Amazon, who will? When Amazon bought MGM, one of the few remaining studios making big commercial films for theatrical release (movies like BondCreed) they announced that they would put a billion dollars into theatrical motion pictures, releasing at least 12 a year. They touted it as “the largest commitment to cinemas by an internet company.” I can tell you what they then did to me and my film Road House, which is the opposite of what they promised when they took over MGM.”

Much like Christopher Nolan going full scorched earth on Warner Bros when they furtively released his very misunderstood, Tenet, on their own streaming platform instead of a full theatrical release, Liman isn’t the first to argue against the greedy streaming giants. Perhaps due to financial competition and desperation, they are unequivocally doing anything to keep people in their homes and away from movie theatres, determined to build their ‘content’ library.

Either way, Roadhouse looks sick. And based on the trailer, McGregor and Gyllenhaal are ready to do some damage.

Originally published on Esquire ME