Patrick Swayze hits TV screens later today, at 5:40pm, on Channel 5 in the iconic Dirty Dancing. But just a year after his dance-focused movie hit cinemas, he set out to make the most authentic fight movie of all time. When Swayze was tasked with filming the final, brutal scene of the 1989 movie Road House, he pulled his colleague to one side to have a word with him. Swayze’s character, James Dalton, was in a life-or-death fistfight in the movie’s thrilling final scenes against gang member Jimmy Reno, played by Marshall Teague. But Swayze didn’t want to put another fake battle on the big screen, full of pulled punches and cutaways. Instead, he wanted to feel the pain. Fast-forward a few hours, and Swayze was spitting blood all over the set.
Teague remembered the day they filmed the final fight. He said: “[Swayze] comes to me, offers his hand and says: ‘You like this s**t, don’t you?’ I say: ‘No, I love this s**t.'”
The Dirty Dancing star smiled and suggested they make the scene completely real. “What do you say?” Swayze asked. “Let’s not cheat the audience for a change. Let’s bring it … What do you say let’s just rock ‘n’ roll?”
However, the Johnny Castle actor star did have one rule that they shouldn’t break.
Swayze added: “Try to leave the head and faces alone as much as possible because we still got a movie to shoot.” Much to his surprise, Teague was more than up for the real fight.
Teague responded: “You came to the right place. Let’s rock ‘n’ roll.”
So when the camera started rolling, Swayze and Teague started laying into one another. Every punch thrown at their bodies was real, every guttural moan was authentic as the grown men started punching the living daylights out of one another – all in the name of cinema.
The film’s fight trainer, Benny Urquidez, recalled: “It was a pretty solid fight. The good part is Marshall was able to take good impact. And Patrick, too, he took some shots as well. They both traded shots pretty good.” He added that the fight got “really heated” during filming.
Eventually, however, things got out of hand. The crew were forced to step in and bring the brutish fight scene to an end.
Teague remembered that the crew behind the camera thought they were actually fighting for real. He said: “The next thing I know, everybody — and I do mean everybody — was piling on top of [Swayze] and me. And they’re all: ‘Hey, just cool off, guys! We’re just shooting a movie here!’ [Swayze] and I are just sitting there, our faces in the dirt. We’re like: ‘Get off of us, would ya? We know what we’re doing. Just let us do what we do.'”
“I mean, they thought we were going to kill each other,” Teague chuckled. “There were maybe nine guys piled on top and holding us down, and we’re both like: ‘What in the heck are you doing?'”
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Teague explained: “That log that I broke across his ribs — that wasn’t in the script. That cracked his rib. He cracked my eye socket so I cracked his ribs.”
Still, Swayze and Teague were professionals who held nothing against one another. The latter noted that, after filming had finished, he told Swayze: “Wow, dang, man, that hurt.”
Swayze quipped: “Yeah, well, that log didn’t feel great either.” They eventually agreed they were “even”.