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‘Stone Cold’ (R)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 21, 1991

Brian Bosworth's acting debut in "Stone Cold" carries about the same wallop The Boz did in the late stages of his very brief career in professional football. What the world needs now, apparently, is another overly muscled, stone-faced dunderhead hero, and Bosworth certainly fits that description. Unfortunately, Bosworth couldn't act his way through the Seattle Seahawks and he's not likely to act his way into a film career based on this first outing.

Bosworth just drifts through "Stone Cold," unemotional, monotone-voiced and so very, very white that he looks more like a model for a special biker's edition of GQ than an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a gang of outlaw bikers in order to bring them to justice.

The film itself is being hyped as the first major studio biker-action film since "Easy Rider" 22 years ago, and for those who actually miss that genre, "Stone Cold" may well be a refreshing blast from the past, with its brawls, biker encampment, motorcycle mamas and dollops of glistening chrome and full-throttling engines.

Bosworth plays John Stone, the I'll-do-it-my-way cop who must infiltrate the Brotherhood, a notorious gang that can't decide whether it's more fun to deal drugs or to kill Mississippi officials and therefore does plenty of both. Much to Bosworth's disadvantage, the gang's diabolical leader, Chains, is played by Lance Henriksen, a genuinely gifted actor who not only looks the part but plays it to the hilt. "Stone Cold" comes to life whenever Henriksen's onscreen, which is not often enough, but enough to continually upstage Bosworth.

The other major biker villain, Ice, is overplayed by William Forsythe, who portrays a similar sicko in Steven Seagal's current opus de mayhem, "Out for Justice." Forsythe may want to draw up a new game plan with his agent before he departs for his next location. As for director Craig R. Baxley, he did better in his debut, "Action Jackson," and just as badly with his more recent effort, "I Come in Peace." Maybe Baxley needs to put a little more muscle in the scripts and less in the lead roles, though Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren are both Shakespearean actors compared with Bosworth.

Most of "Stone Cold" is plain silly, regurgitated biker-film cliches underscored with awful hard rock cliches. To its minimal credit, things get wackily out of hand in the last 15 minutes, when the Brotherhood stages a full-scale assault on the Mississippi State Capitol. At this point the action becomes so preposterous that you'll feel less cheated than you would otherwise, but "Stone Cold" is ultimately most likely to provoke another 22-year hiatus in major-studio biker-action films.

"Stone Cold" is rated R and contains some nudity and more violence.

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