A gloriously over-the-top action thriller from 1991, Stone Cold is a relic from a time when silliness was embraced by Hollywood and dumb didn’t necessarily have to go hand in hand with dire.
Former American footballer Brian Bosworth is John Stone, a badass cop who goes undercover to crack ‘The Brotherhood’, an evil biker gang led by the villainous Chains Cooper (B-movie fave Lance Henriksen). Stone is an unorthodox cop who doesn’t play by the rules (do they ever?), but boy does he get results.
Beyond silly, Stone Cold is an enjoyable action flick from the pre-CGI era. Brian Bosworth’s attempt to muscle-on the action market may not have led to him being the new Arnold Schwarzenegger (or even the new Jean Claude-Van Damme), but he does deliver a relaxed performance – even if he does look like a blond, beefed-up Huey Lewis. He has the perfect foil in the scenery chewing Henriksen, who appears to revel in his OTT role as the bad guy.
Before he helmed Stone Cold, director Craig R. Baxley also gave us the cult actioner’s Action Jackson (with Carl Weathers) and Dark Angel (with Dolph Lundgren) and while Stone Cold doesn’t quite match those B-movies, it is a perfect beer and pizza movie. It’s likely that much of its charm would be lost on audiences who have grown-up with computer generated special effects, but it should strike a chord with those old enough remember a time when action heroes had necks thicker than tree trunks.
Stone Cold hits the mark and delivers the kind of mindless action thrills that audiences embraced in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Brian Bosworth makes for an engaging muscle-bound, mulleted hero, while Lance Henriksen enjoys himself as the cold-hearted antagonist. It’s far from high art, but it’s great to see this cult classic given the blu-ray treatment 21 years after it was first unleashed to action fans. Thank you 101 Films!