In the 80’s, Brian Bosworth was a big deal. A two time All-American with the Barry Switzer-coached Oklahoma Sooners, he wrote his autobiography during his first season with the Seattle Seahawks. Bosworth was a pro wrestler in real life, talking shit on the NCAA, publically claiming he would contain Bo Jackson (he didn’t) and trash talking John Elway so much that 10,000 Denver fans bought and wore “Ban the Boz” t-shirts. And those T-shirts? He manufactured and sold them.
Yep, Bosworth knew how to play the media game, even if his NFL career ended after three seasons. But what was next?
Acting. Of course! And the first film that Bosworth starred in was Stone Cold, a tough cop versus evil bikers epic.
Joe Huff (Bosworth) has been suspended for how rough he is on criminals. In fact, the film starts with him decimating several crooks that are robbing a supermarket. A government agent blackmails him into going undercover to stop a white supremacist biker gang, The Brotherhood.
The gang is led by Chains Cooper (Lance Henriksen, Near Dark), who is over the top insane. Just seeing the stuff the gang does in the opening montage will give you an idea of how amazing this film is going to be — they shotgun a priest through a stained glass window seconds into the start of the movie.
Joe becomes John Stone, but the rest of the gang doesn’t accept him. And his FBI contact Lance (Sam McMurray, Raising Arizona) is a germophobe who is really no help at all.
To finally be part of the gang, Joe/John has to kill a man. The FBI helps him fake the kill, but Chains’ top guy, Ice (William Forsythe, The Devil’s Rejects) still doesn’t believe in him. Luckily, a high-speed motorcycle chase leads to his death and our hero is in.
The gang has one goal: to kill DA Brent “The Whip” Whipperton, who has announced that he is going to become Governor of Mississippi and get tough on crime. They’ve stolen military weapons and plan on attacking the Supreme Court to save one of their own, the guy who killed that priest.
Joe/John falls in love with Nancy, Chains’ girl and offers her immunity if she cooperates. But then the man our hero had supposedly killed shows back up and the Brotherhood declares war on him. Chains takes the news that Nancy is cheating on him by shooting her, while he plans on putting a bomb on Joe/John’s body and dropping him from a helicopter onto the courthouse.
The gang manages to kill the DA, but our hero survives and kicks the shit out of Chains. Yet he is merciful and lets the man live. Bad idea — the villain grabs a gun and comes back for Joe/John, who is saved by Lance.
Stone Cold was originally going to be directed by Bruce Malmuth (Hard to Kill, Nighthawks), but personal problems led to the backstory of Bosworth’s character being removed from the movie and Craig R. Baxley (Action Jackson, I Come in Peace) taking over.
This movie is everything awesome about 80’s and 90’s action films and their cliches. Yet it’s even better, because you have Lance Henriksen writing all of his own dialogue, plenty of explosions, even more nudity, Bosworth’s impressive hair and outfits, and a fight scene between WWE’s one time heir apparent to Hulk Hogan, Tom Magee (seriously, he had a try out against Bret Hart that convinced everyone that he was going to be someone until everyone realized that Bret was the reason the match was so good) and Bosworth. And hey, how did Bosworth never get into pro wrestling, what with him coming from the same school as Steve “Dr. Death” Williams and being friends with Jim Ross?
I have no idea how this isn’t a movie that is treasured and celebrated by genre geeks, as is Patrick Swayze’s Road House. It’s such a time capsule of how one man captivated our attention and became a major star before disappearing.
You can grab it from Olive Films. And you definitely should.