Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 92 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Brian Bosworth (ONE TOUGH BASTARD, THREE KINGS), Lance Henriksen (ALIENS, NEAR DARK), Arabella Holzbog (CARNOSAUR 2, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE), William Forsythe (EXTREME PREJUDICE, THE ROCK, OUT FOR JUSTICE), Richard Gant (ROCKY V, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, "Hostetler" on DEADWOOD), Evan James (HARD TO KILL, PENTATHLON). Produced by Yoram Ben-Ami (LONE WOLF MCQUADE, 3 NINJAS KICK BACK), Moshe Diamant (TIMECOP, HARD TARGET), Gary Wichard (BLACKOUT, C.O.D.), Walter Doniger (also the writer), Michael Douglas (BASIC INSTINCT, FALLING DOWN), Nick Grillo (YOUNGBLOOD, GODS & GENERALS), Udi Nedivi (BLOOD RUN, SUPER 8), and Rick Bieber (FLATLINERS, DOUBLE IMPACT). Stunt coordinated by Paul Baxley (ACTION JACKSON, PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER), with some stunts by Al Leong (LETHAL WEAPON, DIE HARD).
Tag-line: "He'll burn you cold."
Best one-liner: "This reminds me of my father's last words: 'Don't son, that gun is loaded!'"
Vast, ominous technological forces seem to have aligned against your experiencing my recommendation of STONE COLD until today. But that's just fine. STONE COLD can wait. It's capable of "burning you cold," anytime, anywhere.
Allow me to paint you a vivid picture. Imagine if a freak industrial accident resulted in the unholy fusion of COBRA, ROAD HOUSE, and DEATH WISH 3 into one movie. Now imagine that this movie is written and directed by ZZ Top in a parallel universe where they went to film school instead of recording hit songs like "Tush." Now imagine that it stars ex-NFLer-turned-thespian Brian "The Boz" Bosworth, and you have a rudimentary concept of what the STONE COLD experience is like.
Let me put it this way– within the first five minutes of this film, we have Ritz crackers getting machine-gunned to hell,
a poor man's Tom Cruise taking a girl with massive orthodontia hostage and telling her to keep quiet, "TINSEL TEETH!",
we have The Boz (clad in a leather-fetish-wear version of Sherlock Holmes' jacket-cape and possessing an incredible two-tone, wavy-molded mullet) calmly shopping for bananas,
then the bad guys taken care of by The Boz with the aid of several random grocery items (including vegetable oil, pastries, and canned goods), followed by a one-liner about a "clean-up in aisle four,"
a completely ludicrous "bikers behaving badly" montage, whereupon William Forsythe gets William Tell'd and basks in the pinwheeling glory of gun-blasted beer foam,
I'm sure I could come up with a one-liner about too much head in the beer or something, but incidentally, this is only way that Forsythe imbibes, on or off a set.
followed by Forsythe pulling the same trick on another biker with an Uzi, a crazed act which results in a random car explosion and glorious peals of frenzied Forsythe laughter– no sir, this is not garden variety lunacy.
Oh yeah, and in case you've forgotten, I'm still working on the rundown of "things that happen within the first five minutes of STONE COLD." Finally, we're treated to the following tableau, that of a shotgun-toting biker who looks like a Dick Tracy villain
crashing the party at a baptism and blowing away the Reverend
who flies backward twenty feet, through a stained-glass window, revealing an army of bikers, poised to take over the US of A, one defenseless pastor at a time.
Why, you ask? Hmmm... Well, you know what, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your mind isn't even capable of asking 'why' at this point– there is literally so much shit happening, you're liable to bust a synapse or risk an aneurysm if you try to do anything except allow the glory of STONE COLD to wash over you.
So let's talk about "The Boz." I'm reasonably certain that no one has ever risked brain injury while contemplating "The Boz." "The Boz" plays one tough cop who's on suspension for, typically, being too good at his job. But while the dangerous biker gang/army/nation The Brotherhood roams the American Southeast, no one is safe. Before you can say "You've logged more biker-related arrests than any other officer in Alabama," "The Boz" is recruited by the FBI,
who are represented as a bunch of square-headed pencil-necks who definitely aren't cool or tuff enuff to infiltrate a dangerous biker gang on their own. Now The Boz's acting expertise lies somewhere between "child excited to be starring in a home movie" and "Rowdy Roddy Piper," and as far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing. You can sense a genuine, babyish excitement beneath everything that he does: he is damn happy to be in this movie, and consequently, you are damn happy to be watching him.
BEHOLD: The Boz constructing a zany milkshake out of bananas, candy bars, and random bric-a-brac
So that's what the bananas were for!
which he feeds to his pet Komodo dragon! And, of course, he does it all in macabre exercise-wear perhaps purloined from the set of PERFECT.
GAZE UPON: Lance Henriksen's performance as "Chains," the master of The Brotherhood. "Chains" should probably have gone by the name of "Chuckles" because the ratio of Lance Henriksen giggling malevolently to that of Lance Henriksen beating people with chains is approximately eight-hundred thousand to zero.
Seriously, Chains' main character trait is indeed to react to nearly everything with near-psychotic glee and the accompanying degree of bemused chuckling. Lance, naturally, manages to make this work beautifully, and delivers another nuanced, genuine, scary-good performance.
Highlights include Lance's secret biker handshake, soon followed by the threat to "peel your skin off with a knife dipped in shit!"
Lance laying waste to a courtroom while wearing a priest's cassock (which naturally makes me think of Rutger Hauer's priest disguises in SURVIVING THE GAME and WEDLOCK),
and use of priceless, well-delivered Henriksen one-liners such as "TAKE THAT FUCKEN HARMONICA DOWN THE PARKING LOT, MAN!!!" and "WELCOME TO MY SLAUGHTERHOUSE!"
SEE: William Forsythe in rare form (though not quite eclipsing his no-holds-barred portrayal in OUT FOR JUSTICE), brawling like a nut-kicking madman,
and calling out The Boz for what he is:
BE SUBJECTED TO: Involuntary and generally shameful personal displays of head-banging, courtesy of a soundtrack featuring selections by "Saigon Kick," "Wire Train", "Cryer," "Martin Block," and sweet God in heaven, "The Doobie Brothers."
BEAR WITNESS TO: More unnecessary biker lady nudity per capita than in any comparable film, nearly as many senseless car explosions as in DEATH WISH 3, a club named "Club Salsa" (shades of Club...SALSA?), a man flinging a switchblade into the buttcheeks of a pin-up photo...of buttcheeks, bikers showering a fallen comrade in Jack Daniels and Domino's pizza; and a man shot off of a motorcycle as he rides through a marble colonnade in the hallway of a statehouse building, whereupon the motorcycle flies out the window and takes out a helicopter, which falls to its fiery death and explodes some vehicles on the ground.
Yes, this is a five star movie, and yes, I will defend this ruling to the death. I never knew I could be burned so cold.