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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Stone Cold (KL Studio Classics) 

Stone Cold

It’s The Boz vs a Biker Gang led by Lance Henriksen in the B-Movie Action Cult Classic Stone Cold.  New to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber packed with special features

The Film 

Those not around in the early ‘90s had no clue how impactful Brian Bosworth was on pop culture.  The dude’s mullet, shades, and earrings were literally the fashion items for many a wee dude and not-so-wee dudes around America.  His popularity as a football star and pop culture sensation culminated in the B-Movie Action Epic, Stone Cold

Stone Cold is the type of movie that has its (anti)hero Joe Huff (Bosworth) gets into a liquor store altercation on suspension and immediately be blackmailed by the FBI to go deep cover into a biker gang called The Brotherhood.  It’s also the type of movie where the hero has a “unique” pet, this time it’s a Komodo Dragon. It’s not long before Joe now dubbed the equally obvious John Stone is in the upper echelon of power within the Brotherhood making good times with Chains (Lance Henriksen) and bad times with Ice (William Forsythe).  Like any movie biker gang, it’s all about drugs (meth) and taking down the government.  Though this one ends in truly epic fashion at the Alabama State Capitol.

Stuntman-turned-Director Craig Baxley proves a keen choice as he rings that Hal Needham/Chad Stahelski eye for stunts on screen.  There is a level of expertise here that makes the film look wildly dangerous in the best way possible. There’s a sustain set piece in and around a Helicopter that’s jaw-dropping for the lunatic-style work that’s done for five minutes as it plays out.  Of course, the motorcycle stunts are not to be outdone by that Helicopter, only barely.  Everything in the action set pieces are impressively mounted, shot, and edited.  

Bosworth isn’t a bad lead.  The film smartly casts a who’s who of genre character actors around the star.  The hope always is that they’ll level up to the greatness of the other actors around them.  Or people won’t notice how bad they are.  In the Boz’s case, it’s somewhere in the middle.  With Hendriksen he’s electric, with Lance it appears pushing Boz’s buttons in the right way to get a reaction.  Same with William Forsythe who specializes in “hotheaded right hands”.  It’s actually his work with actress Arabella Holzbog that really suffers with zero chemistry between the two – even beyond the story conventions.  

In the end, Stone Cold is a badass surprising piece of action cinema you probably missed if you weren’t into Football in the late 80s.  

The Transfer

The all-new HD Master – From 2K Scan of the 35mm InterPositive is a level up for the film in every way to the early-era DVD edition.  The colors pop.  The black and levels are tuned in.  The grain structure is healthy leading to an image that looks like its 35mm origins.  All in all, this is a great visual representation in every way an upgrade to previous editions.  So much so, I’m betting that Stone Cold never looked this good even on opening day in theaters.  

The Extras

They include the following; 

  • Audio Commentary by Action Film Historians Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • THE BOZ Goes Hollywood: Interview with Star Brian Bosworth
  • THE BROTHERHOOD: Interview with Actor Lance Henriksen
  • BREAKING FREE: Interview with Actress Arabella Holzbog
  • PLAYING STRAIGHT: Interview with Actor Sam McMurray
  • TV Spots
  • Two Theatrical Trailers (Newly Mastered in 2K)
  • VHS Trailers 
  • Stone Cold Challenge Contest Ad

The all-new Audio Commentary by Action Film Historians Mike Leeder and Arne Venema.  The dynamic duo is back with another stellar commentary track!  Leeder and Veenema produce a commentary track worthy of the Boz’s auspicious debut.  Some of the details include one of the baddies in the opening was the head writer of Growing Pains; a discussion of the legendary mullet Bosworth sports; the cliché of the Super Market Shootout; the production company The Stone Group – including a great detail about how this production affected the budget of Double Impact; how the film started production with an entirely different crew and director; a discussion of the NFL career of Bosworth – the injuries that he sustained that forced him to retire after only two seasons and a few anecdotes about his time in the league; the cliché of the strip clubs in B-Movie action films; a great discussion of clothing and the wonder and magic of cinema – including a great admission about Trench Coat post-A Better Tomorrow (this reviewer did the same thing but after Hudson Hawk); the career and work of actor Sam McMurray; the career and work of legendary actor William Forsythe – including a great side conversation about his elite work in Out for Justice; a larger discussion about the work of Director Craig Baxley; a larger discussion about Lance Hendriksen – including how he helped with the production and the script; the tone of the film and how it could have been different in the hands of the other director; the work of cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski; a side conversation of Bosworth’s other work post-Stone Cold including Blue Mountain StateOne Tough Bastard – directed by Kurt Wimmer; a wild casting bit that never happened for Bosworth in a early 2000s huge comedy trilogy; a larger discussion between the HK stunt safety vs the US and European safety; a larger discussion of the various action set pieces in the finale; discussion throughout the commentary track about the various actors, behind the scenes crew, and their work here and throughout their career; and much more.  Leeder and Venema delivery another smash hit; a highly entertaining and informative track about the film and its production that’s as good as the film itself.  Highest possible recommendations for the track. 

THE BOZ Goes Hollywood: Interview with Star Brian Bosworth (19:00) – this all-new interview begins with the star discussion where he was when he got hired for Stone Cold.  Some of the other details include how depressed he was after the short lifespan of his career; his love of motorcycles since childhood; what drew him in the original script that was completely rewritten to his disappointment; the difficulty of acting – getting an acting coach; working with director Craig Baxley after the other director was fired; the advice Lance Henriksen gave him about acting; working with William Forsythe; and much more. 

THE BROTHERHOOD: Interview with Actor Lance Henriksen (11:04) – this all-new interview begins with the the fact that he was amazed that the film was completed.  Some of the details include working with Bosworth – and the level of improvision they did; the work he did with casting the biker crew and having let go of most of the gang they initially cast not looking the part; a great discussion about getting the crew of bikers more money and an actual living wage; getting in shape for the role; a great story about being knocked out by Bosworth; a great the Viking funeral scene; and much more. 

BREAKING FREE: Interview with Actress Arabella Holzbog (13:17) – this all-new interview begins with how Holzbog she was eventually cast in the film.  Some of the details include the original role as originally written – and the major differences; working with Craig Baxley and how much the role had changed; a scary moment with the bikers that she dealt with grace and poise; working with Bosworth; and much more.  

PLAYING STRAIGHT: Interview with Actor Sam McMurray (8:58) –this all-new interview with the actor begins with how he was cast – very quickly – and where they shot on location.  Some of the details include the rewriting of the original script and what changed him; the seriousness of Bosworth taking of the acting; the rewriting both he and Bosworth did to their parts; his admission that he wrote the ending moment in the movie; and much more.  

TV Spots (3:46) – One 1-minute spot and 6 30-second spots 

VHS Trailers (2:04) – One 30-second VHS ad and One 90-second VHS ad

Stone Cold Challenge Contest AD (1:03) – “You could win a trip to Hollywood to meet Brian Bosworth” 

Rounding out the special features are Stone Cold Trailer 1 [Newly Mastered in 2K] (1:35), Stone Cold Trailer 2 [Newly Mastered in 2K] (1:28), Hard Target (2:05), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1:20), Code of Silence (2:39), The Hunter (3:15), Murphy’s Law (1:30)

The Final Thought 

Stone Cold is that Cult Classic B-Movie Action film you’ve been missing.  Kino has gone all out with this special edition.  Highest Possible Recommendations!!!

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray edition of Stone Cold is out now 

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