Stone Cold was a film written around The Boz (Brian Bosworth), not the other way around. I don’t know if that’s really true, but it sure seems that way. The 1991 biker gang cop action flick, soaked in ultra violence and an unflinching dedication to the Macho-est of Macho Codes, is brutal, nihilistic, and all the Boz anyone ever needed.
Brian Bosworth was one of the greatest college football players in the history of the game, a crushing monster of a linebacker at The University of Oklahoma who mixed speed and strength like no other. Then, he became a slave to his own celebrity, and The Boz was born. The Boz had ridiculous colors and designs cut into his majestic mullet hairdo, he wore crazy sunglasses, and he was all brash bluster, roided to the gills. Once his NFL career fizzled – thanks in no small part to Bo Jackson – The Boz sought a new avenue to push his id on the masses. What better place to show off his biceps than a film about a brazen undercover cop infiltrating a murderous biker gang?
The Boz is Joe Huff, a cop on suspension for being too much of a badass, who we first meet shopping in a grocery store being taken over by maniacal uzi-weilding robbers in a standalone scene, ya know, kind of like James Bond’s opening sequences. Because grocery stores are great spots for armed robbery. Huff foils the robbers with some canned veggies and canola oil and, when the cavalry arrives, he smugly tells them “clean up on aisle five.” This guy is a badass, am I right?!
Huff’s personal life is all about having stunning nude women sleeping in his bed and blending up weird smoothies for his pet Komodo Dragon. Of course. The “cops,” personified by an incredibly germaphobic Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona) come calling again, and they want him to infiltrate a biker gang who is dead set on revenge. Let’s talk about that for a minute… One of the members of this biker gang shotgun blasts a priest through a stained glass window right in the middle of a baptism. There’s never any explanation for it. That’s the sort of morally reprehensible villains we’re dealing with here. When the shooter is sentenced to life in prison, the judge who sentenced him is killed with a bomb in his fishing boat, which seems pointlessly violent. Because it is. Now some hotshot district attorney is trying to get the death penalty for the killer, and the gang needs him wiped out. That’s their entire motivation.
Anyways, The Boz, er, Huff, goes undercover as Joe Stone, and meets both the super villain and his number one henchman. The super villain is Chains, played gleefully by the great Lance Henriksen. His number one guy, Ice (these names are terrific), is an unhinged madman played by unhinged madman go-to, William Forsythe. Ice doesn’t trust “Joe Stone,” but Chains sees merit in having a mountain of muscle in his corner. And here Stone Cold falls into some conventional story plots. I mean, more conventional than everything we’ve had before this. The film transitions from a sweaty biker compound to sweaty nightclubs, to sweaty other stuff. And the action grows increasingly more Gonzo.
In the climactic action set piece, a motorcycle flies up the steps inside a courthouse, down the hallway, and flies through a window, crashing into a helicopter which then bursts into flames and falls to the ground, landing on a police car that also explodes. It’s one of the greatest summations of an entire film in a single moment there has ever been. Stone Cold is big and sweaty and violent and filled with hate; it’s everything a 13-year old boy needs in his movies. Sadly, The Boz never reached these heights again in his acting career. It was certainly a niche group of films he could star in, ones that called for a leading man to be completely devoid of charisma or acting ability. But here, in this one moment in time, The Boz shined brightly on the big screen.