Stone Cold (1991)
Stone Cold (1991)

Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Release Date: May 17th, 1991 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Craig R. Baxley Actors: Brian Bosworth, Lance Henriksen, William Forsythe, Arabella Holzbog, Sam McMurray, Richard Gant, David Tress, Evan James, Billy Million

 


 

A

gang of particularly wild-eyed, machinegun-shooting, shotgun-toting miscreants hold up an Alabama supermarket, terrorizing patrons at gunpoint and looting the cash register. But cool, calm, smooth-talking, undeterred shopper and police officer Joe Huff (Brian Bosworth) is destined to create a mess – requiring a cleanup on Aisle 4. Although currently suspended, it doesn’t stop him from foiling the group’s anarchic efforts (and then going home to blend a shake – composed of orange juice, Snickers bars, potato chips, a banana, eggs, and Tabasco sauce – for his enormous pet lizard).

Later, when a member of the unusually rambunctious, mafia-linked, heavily armed Mississippi biker gang the “Brotherhood” murders a judge (for handing down a 45-year sentence to minister murderer Trouble Owens, played by Billy Million), the FBI blackmails Joe into going undercover as a prospect, to get to the man calling all the shots: Chains Cooper (Lance Henriksen). And Joe’s contact in the field, Lance (Sam McMurray), is the most unqualified agent for the job, but nonetheless attempts to aid in the infiltration. Using the alias Stone, Joe first confronts Brotherhood lieutenant Ice Hensley (William Forsythe), a permanently distrusting thug who proceeds to instigate a destructive bar brawl. Instead, Stone winds up befriending Gut (Evan James), who invites him to a weekend Brotherhood gathering.

When District Attorney Brent “Whip” Whipperton (David Tress) begins publicly cracking down on gang violence, he becomes the ultimate target for Brotherhood assassination. Meanwhile, Stone burrows further into the bikers’ dealings, discovering a connection to the Biloxi mob. Devising a plot to have Chains sell stolen drums of P2P to the Italians, hoping to nab all the criminals simultaneously, he’s perilously thwarted by Ice and suspected by Chains’ increasingly dissenting old lady, Nancy (Arabella Holzbog).

Bosworth (a former professional linebacker) is surprisingly good in a role that doesn’t require acting talents or dialogue delivery or facial nuances (though he gets a few adept one-liners), using his formidable physique to carve a path through abject villainy. He’s not too serious and not too goofy. Henriksen, on the other hand, is a contemporary, B-grade Lon Chaney equivalent (a man of a thousand subpar faces), donning facial hair, a black jacket, and a bandana to inhabit a less-than-convincing new persona. But he’s entirely entertaining in doing so. Outside of the bit parts and minor speaking roles that resoundingly fail to impart quality, there’s an undeniable level of authenticity to the bunch of rugged, grungy, beefy hooligans assembled to portray leather-clad ruffians.

Not pretending to be anything other than a mindless action flick, “Stone Cold” features decent stunts (including helicopter sequences, the chopper storming and demolition of a picturesque courthouse, and hostage situations), lots of explosions (no less than two within the first five minutes), meaty-fisted throw-downs, car chases, gratuitous nudity, and senseless violence. Twanging electric guitar notes herald brief romantic moments, antagonists grimace uncontrollably, and bodies are hurled about like beanbags. Peculiarly, the macho opening scene is flagrantly reminiscent of Stallone’s “Cobra,” while the final scene is a rip of “Die Hard,” but the gung-ho, one-man-army premise is an effective, exciting example of obscure action movie awesomeness (plus the hilariously accidental, save-the-day vehicular devastation would go on to be stolen by other, big-budget, name-brand adventure franchises).

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10