Stone Cold (Arrow Recommends)

Stone Cold (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: The Boz (aka Alabama cop Joe Huff) is reeled in by the FBI to go undercover within a "kill first ask questions later" biker gang that has something big cooking in their oven. Will the Mullet save the day! You bet your derriere it will!

"Imagine the future Chains, cause you're not in it." – Stone

LOWDOWN: The criminally underrated STONE COLD (get the Blu-ray here - warning: the Terminator like alternate cover is ass) is an odd exploitation flick in the sense that it’s two types of movies rolled into one. On one end; it is easily one of the more accurate and credible biker movies on the block (and trust me I know a lot about the subject matter). The depiction of the bikers, how they function, their code and attitude towards life was right on the money (they had real bikers on set as extras- they made sure things stayed legit). I dare ya to find a biker flick that is more earnest than this one. But at the same time Stone Cold was a muscle head film; one that copy/pasted the M.O. of 80’s action films onto its 90’s template with glee.

Its offbeat mix has to do with its sordid history. The script Bosworth agreed to make at the time (called Heart of Stone) was about a family man who’s blackmailed into infiltrating the biker gang that killed his father years ago. The man is plagued with an inner struggle, having to befriend the scum who whacked his pops. Director Bruce Malmuth (Hard to Kill, Nighthawks) shot 4 weeks of the family footage. Alas “personal problems” on set (i.e. I suspect he was doing all kinds of drugs if I go by the many stories I heard), resulted in the footage being un-usable (out of focus, lighting didn’t match etc.). 

So they scrapped what they shot and 4 million of the 8 million dollars budget was wasted. They fired Malmuth and brought in stunt man turned director Craig R. Baxley to shoot all of the wam-bam. By the time he was done blowing shit up, there was no money left to re-shoot the family stuff, so Stone’s backstory was changed from a torn family man, to a hot-shot with a Lizard and a naked chick in his bed. Bosworth had this to say about the change: "To me, it diluted the character. It was just another 80s action flick. It paled beside what it could have been.” I can see where he’s coming from and personally I’d kill so see Malmuth’s footage. Maybe it will surface someday as this celluloid badass begs for a Special Edition Blu-Ray with all kinds of extras! On that, it wasn’t a total loss, cause STONE COLD was simply a testosterone fueled f*cking blast and that is why it has since reached cult status.

STONE COLD had the 80’s action checklist checked and then some! Big hulk of a stoic leading man with mucho big biceps? Check! Mammoth body count? You bet! Excessive violence galore (wait till you see how Lance Henriksen deals with a Jury…insane!)? You got it!! Topless broads jiggling around left and right? Yessum! Side splitting un-intentional gay undertones? Damn right! And finally, groovy dialogue/one-liners? Oh yeah! One of my fav lines (before a dude is mowed down): "You know, it's in moments like this that I think of my father's last words. Which were: Don't son, that gun is loaded!"  GENIUS!

On top of that; Director Craig R. Baxley sure knows how to shoot a wild chase or an action scene for maximum whoopass (that last act was INSANE) or stage visceral hand-to-hand get downs (all about that fight on the sand). We don’t see raw stuff like this anymore in action films that's for sure! And the uppercuts that sent me to the mat were the unintentional laughs (what was up with that pet lizard - how come that FBI guy had to be explained what a strip club was...and MORE!), the stellar performances (Lance Henriksen, Arabella Holzbog and William Forsythe owned it!)  and so much macho posturing that I drowned in it. That's a good thing BTW!

Granted the plot was nothing unique, lapses in logic were rampant, the actors they cast to play Italian mobsters came off as poseurs and that FBI comic relief character (played by Sam McMurray) was freaking lame as bleep but that didn’t come close in tarnishing this muscled, excessively violent and slick ride! It’s great when its good, its good when its bad and it amazing overall. A must see and own for action/exploitation fiends of the world!

Stone Cold was made in a time when movies had balls and a FU attitude and it was okay to be proud of it and it is one of the many reasons I hold it close to my heart. PS: In 2014, Austin's Alamo Drafthouse hosted a 35mm screening of the film and Brian Bosworth and a co star showed up to take questions. Give the VIDEO a watch! Lots of cool behind the scenes stories for y'all to lap up.



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