Joe (Brian Bosworth) has been suspended from the police force on account of his maverick ways. He gets himself into even deeper shit with his employers while shopping in his local supermarket one afternoon and violently thwarting a store robbery.
A lifeline is offered to him when two FBI agents visit his home and make an offer that he can't really refuse: he's invited to go undercover and infiltrate a notorious biker gang of white supremacists called "The Brotherhood". This Mafia-affiliated gang have been killing religious figures recently, which has resulted in their leader being sent down for 45 years in jail.
In return, The Brotherhood have responded by blowing up Judge Warfield - the guy who passed sentence on the above - on his motor boat.
And so, Joe is given a new identity - John Stone - and farmed off to Mississippi where he's required to join the gang and bring them to justice before they cause even more mayhem.
His first port of call is a tough bar where he's heard that gang member Ice (William Forsythe) boozes. Ice isn't convinced by his new acquaintance's credentials to begin with but, following a bar brawl in which Joe is given the opportunity to flex his muscles, he wins an invite to the next gang gathering. And, at said meeting, his performance in a scrap earns him a personal audience with The Brotherhood's suitably impressed leader, Chains (Lance Henriksen). Much to Ice's chagrin, Chains takes to pretty newcomer Joe.
Once ingratiated into the gang, Joe - who uses the pseudonym John Stone - proves his worth by battering the odd challenger, and obtaining a huge stash of class A drugs for Chains to excitedly sell on to the local mafia. Joe appears to be well in with his new acquaintances, though Ice remains suspicious of him. As does Chains' love interest, the fundamentally decent Nancy (Arabella Holzbog).
Can Joe maintain the facade and bring these bikers to justice? You'll have to wade through numerous corny one-liners, bad acting and insane hard rock sounds to answer that question.
STONE COLD is an unwittingly camp riff on films like MAD MAX and STONE (the premise's likeness to the latter is uncanny, even down to the character name, but I believe it's coincidental ...). Employing an airheaded, muscle-bound American football star as its lead shouldn't work. But, do you know what? This film is tremendous, guilty fun.
It's filmed with a surprising amount of visual panache by director Craig R Baxley. The pace is unflagging. The tone is well-natured despite the rather violent content. The cast are all likeable, especially Forsythe and Henriksen in their cartoonish villain roles. This is silly, comic strip-style stuff at times - and very entertaining as a result.
Bosworth isn't the most charismatic hero but he does at least possess the physical presence to convince when he's kicking arse all over the shop. The dialogue is hard-boiled, the set-pieces are slickly edited and the music ... well, as I mentioned above, there's a lot of hard rocking tunes to savour here. Hard rock of the cheesiest variety imaginable. Weirdly, it works.
The film does a good job of appearing a lot dumber than it actually is. You think you're watching something stupid, but it's actually fluid, never dull and often expertly shot. The final scene impresses with a single-take, extended tracking shot which almost feels like a "fuck you" to anyone who dare suggest Baxley is incompetent (of course he isn't - he also directed 9 episodes of the TV series "The A Team" and cult favourite ACTION JACKSON).
101 Films bring STONE COLD to UK blu-ray on a region B encoded, BD25 disc. The film is presented in what I believe is its uncensored form - 92 minutes and 2 seconds in length including the opening MGM logo. The 1.85:1 ratio is 16x9 enhanced and this MPEG4-AVC file boasts the film in a clean, clear and vibrant 1080p HD transfer. It's tough to fault this noise-free, extremely colourful and ultimately solid presentation.
The English DTS-HD stereo soundtrack comes across extremely well too. Evenly balanced, consistent and free from any noticeable disturbances.
The disc opens to an animated main menu page. There is no scene selection option.
Extras come in the form of an attractive, glossy fold-out poster and double-sided reversible cover art.
STONE COLD is great fun, and deceptively well-made to boot. Of course it's preposterous, but ... what action film isn't? It looks fabulous on 101 Films' blu-ray.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by 101 Films|
|see main review|