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Stone Cold (Blu-ray Review)

Stone-ColdStone Cold stars former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian “The Boz” Bosworth in a film that’s wall-to-wall, knock down, knock out action. The supporting cast features William Forsythe (Once Upon A Time In America, The Devil’s Rejects), Arabella Holzbog (Across The Universe, Bad News Bears) and Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona) in a film directed by Craig R. Baxley (Dark Angel, Action Jackson) from a screenplay by Walter Doniger.  As the psychotic leader of a biker gang in Stone Cold, co-star Lance Henriksen brings his distinctive menacing quality to a role that he’s successfully honed in a variety of films ranging from Near Dark to Alien 3.   This awesome action ruckus has finally made its way to the glorious Blu-ray format from the wonderful people over at Olive Films.

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Film 

Fed up with a system that allows criminals to walk free, Joe Huff is a cop on the edge. While on suspension for insubordination, Joe is strong-armed by the FBI to go undercover in the Deep South to infiltrate a dangerous white supremacist biker gang known as The Brotherhood. Taking down The Brotherhood’s murderous leader, Chains Cooper, and bringing the gang to justice won’t be easy. But Joe doesn’t do “easy.”

I’m become quite the Craig R. Baxley fan.  A few years ago, I reviewed I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel) and was blown away by an old Dolph Lundgren film I’d never seen.  Then Stone Cold was announced by Olive Films and I had heard about this film being good in a ridiculous way.  When I looked up stuff on it, I saw it was directed by Baxley.  Before I go further, it delivers.  He also directed the Carl Weathers/Sharon Stone classic Action Jackson.  He did the films in a 1-2-3 fashion and then went back to directing television.  Its like the guy came in under the radar, did some of the best action work ever, dropped the mic and went home not looking back.  Its incredibly impressive.

Stone Cold features what you’d want in a Baxley film.  Its got HUMONGOUS explosions, jaw dropping car stunts and over the top pure action goodness.  Here he’s given ex-NFL star Brian Bosworth to turn into an action hero.  Time has been kind, as retrospectively Bosworth is a bit of a joy to watch here.  He wears a lot of funky outfits and has a performance akin to a parody of a jock/muscle man leading star.  And his hair, oh my god his hair is something almost of legend.  And he’s got a pet komodo dragon.

The film also boasts Lance Henriksen.  And he’s pretty much unrecognizable here in the role of the leader of a biker gang.  He’s got blond hair, but its also long, he’s wearing a bandanna and sporting facial hair.  He’s also a pretty creepy SOB.  One of his cronies is played to some psychotic delight by William Forsythe.  Man, does he just look like one dirty, hill-jack a-hole.  These two sure bring a lot of fun and menace to the film.

If you’re a fan of trashy 80s pure action films of the late 80s you HAVE GOT to check out Stone Cold.  The production and execution here his top of the line when it comes to car chases, fist fights, gun blasting and EXPLOOOOSIONS.  Craig R. Baxley is a mast of this craft and just displays such a passion and love for the genre, sort of “knowing” how to deliver the goods, but never in a winking way.  Its also got a lot of humor that works in retrospect with time removed and a checklist of tropes we have to look forward to in these movies.  A terrific biker, under-cover FBI action extravaganza, Stone Cold needs you to revisit it.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  I didn’t expect this was going to be a Blu-ray transfer masterpiece, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good it looked.  Details are rock solid and the overall image is pretty crisp with a tad bit of softness likely due to its source and intended look.  Explosions look very rich, detailed and smooth as they fill your screen.

Depth:  Depth is solid and character movement is all-together very smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid.  Clothing detail on the leather is still pretty strong and no real crushing present.

Color Reproduction:  Colors look pretty natural.  Nothing really pops.  Bosworth’s hair comes across as a yellow thing of beauty.  Some of the wild greens in outfits looks nifty as well.

Flesh Tones: Skin is natural and consistent.  Detail is pretty good on facial features and injuries during fight scenes.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some dirt, specs and streaks are present in the print of the film.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This original theatrical mix sounds very cool through your 2 channels.  Gunshots, explosions, crashes all come through quite loud and well rounded.  Vocals, effects and music are all pretty distinct, but balanced well in the mix, not stepping on one another’s toes.  This track is sufficient enough to give you a good action experience and feel for the original theatrical audio for the movie.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, crisp and clean.

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Extras 

Stone Cold contains no supplemental features.  Menu offers “Play Movie” and “Chapters”.

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Summary 

Stone Cold is a movie we need to bring back to the conversation.  Its an absolute joy for anyone who enjoys pure action movies.  Olive Films brings it to Blu-ray with a rock solid presentation that does it some good justice.  While there are no bonus features, for us in the US, this is probably the best we’re getting.  Austria released a 3-disc version (with 4 different cases to choose from) last summer and that I’m sure has the final word on all things Stone Cold.  Its also 56 bucks and unshippable to the US.  I don’t know if anyone’s that diehard on Stone Cold, so the Olive Films release looks a bit more attractive even at its high price tag.  Complete your Craig R. Baxley trilogy of AWESOME today with Stone Cold.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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