Stone Cold: When Brian “The Boz” Bosworth Became an Action Star
How “The Boz” turned from football star to action movie legend in Stone Cold (1991).
I recently had the great pleasure of watching a Harley Davidson-sponsored screening of the immortal Brian Bosworth aka “The Boz” action classic Stone Cold. It was a generous crowd, although it should’ve been a packed one in my opinion. After all, this is Stone Cold. It was, however, packed with bikers. Multi generational too. Old bikers. Young bikers. Big bikers. Small bikers. And in the middle was me, decked out in cargo shorts and a Star Wars shirt. I know, I know. “You wore a Star Wars shirt to Stone Cold??” That’s right, I did. I’m not that guy. Besides, I don’t have a Stone Cold shirt anyway, so leave me alone.
The Universal Appeal of Stone Cold
But during the screening, I also noticed many others from different backgrounds. All different ethnicities. And it got me thinking: what makes Stone Cold so special? What is it about this movie about a badass cop who infiltrates a biker gang that has allowed it to transcend cultural lines? To be loved by almost everyone who has seen it? Honestly, I’ve never met a person who didn’t like it. Hell, I have female friends who like it, even as most movies like this aren’t their cup of tea. So what is it about this particular movie?? Well, let’s take a look at it, shall we?
Don’t Mess with The Boz
Stone Cold stars “The Boz” as Joe Huff, a “cop who plays by his own rules” (Is there any other kind?). He is blackmailed by the FBI to work with them to help bring down the dangerous biker gang The Brotherhood, led by Chains Cooper (Lance Henriksen) and his loyal lieutenant Ice (William Forsythe). Huff goes undercover as John Stone, a biker recently released from prison and begins to infiltrate the gang. Although Chains immediately takes a liking to him, Ice has his suspicions.
Things are further complicated as the gang is preparing to assassinate District Attorney Brent “The Whip” Whipperton while he’s seeking the death penalty for one of their members, who killed a priest during a baptism (Don’t ask. I have no idea why). Can Huff/Stone take down The Brotherhood in time before his cover is blown?
When we are introduced to Joe, he is casually stopping a supermarket robbery. And when I say casually, I mean casually. Just leisurely strolling through the aisles, taking out each robber one by one while flaunting quite possibly the GREATEST, MOST AMAZING MULLET OF ALL TIME! Being honest here, this is the mullet to end them all. Such a perfectly coiffed beaver pelt. A thing of manly beauty. And what pushes it over the edge is that it’s not just a mullet. It’s a blonde mullet and black mullet combined together like Voltron to give us MegaMullet: Defender of the Universe!!
The Makings of an Action Star
Sorry. I got a little beside myself there. Won’t happen again. Now, back to the movie. This whole opening scene is a perfect example of why this movie is so beloved. For starters, the opening shot is of a security cam’s POV being blown out by a shotgun blast from the maniacal Ponytail, and his evil band of grocery store thieves. Helpless bystanders can do nothing but watch in terror as these domestic terrorists unload the cash drawers of all its ones and fives as they decimate an entire shelf of crackers with machine gun fire as Ponytail screams “I LOVE IT!!!” at the top of his lungs.
Then, just as it seems like they’re about to get away with their evil crime, in walks Huff, rocking a black leather trench coat that is so badass Matthias Hues cursed director Craig R. Baxley for not getting him one just like it for I Come in Peace, and the most glorious… sorry, sorry… and a mullet. These villains immediately start shivering in fear in the presence of this man’s man.
No scratch that, this cop’s cop. They should be. Because everything becomes a weapon to Huff when the going gets tough. Can of beans. Crisco. Himself. And after they’re all done in and defeated, but before he’s about to be chewed out by his superior for stopping the forces of evil while still on suspension (because of course he’s suspended), he walks away after uttering a badass one liner to cap off one of the greatest opening scenes in action movie history! Don’t believe me? Take a look below…
An Ultimate Opening
Awesome guitar riff kicks in. Roll opening credits. Now, watching that for the first time as a 7 year old kid, I immediately grew some hair on my chest and started looking for the nearest bottle of Jack Daniels. Opening scenes like that make men out of boys. And the rest of the movie is no different. Badass bikes, long and greasy mullets, and explosions galore make this the one of, if not the most ultimate dude-sweatiest movie ever made. Just a perfect heaping of logic bending awesomeness.
The type of movie where mob bosses throw grenades to teach bikers a lesson, things explode multiple times for no reason, and a man can be perfectly capable of jumping out of a helicopter that’s at least 100 feet above a building and crash through a glass ceiling just so he can power slam a bad guy that he couldn’t have possibly known was there through a window.
On the acting side, The Boz is The Boz. If we’re gonna be technical here, he’s as stiff as a board, but he really didn’t need to deliver a De Niro level performance. He just had to be The Boz. And he does that just fine. It’s Lance Henriksen and William Forsythe as the heavies who hold down the acting side of things. And it’s a blast to watch them go since they are clearly having fun with their roles as Chains and Ice, respectively. And yada yada yada, let’s get back to these explosions!
An Explosive Good Time
Man, the explosions are so beautiful. Just the loveliest gasoline fueled orange fireballs. Watching those glorious explosions make my heart flutter. Especially the one during the climax. Ahhh yes. The climax to this movie. 100% insanity. The Brotherhood storm the capitol building in Mississippi and all hell breaks loose. Bikers vs the Army and Police, with numerous casualties on both sides. And in the middle is Huff, taking down bad guy after bad guy. I’m telling you, this scene is bonkers. Death Wish 3 level crazy. But the real gem, the crown jewel, the moment so awesome action legend Sylvester Stallone himself copied it for Expendables 2… is the Motorcycle vs Helicopter moment. A moment so skull crackingly awesome, no sentence I devise here, no words I conjure up could do it justice. So here it is, for your viewing pleasure…
92 Minutes of Sheer Masculine Lunacy
And there you have it. 92 minutes of sheer masculine lunacy. What more could anyone ask for? Bikes, Bombs, Babes and The Boz. And not only just The Boz, but Lance Henriksen AND William Forsythe as the villains. And when you add The Boz + Henriksen and Forsythe + the director of Action Jackson and I Come in Peace, what you get is the cinematic equivalent to Christmas for action movie lovers. Pure joy. Pure bliss. And I believe that’s why this movie perseveres to this day. It’s a mean, hard R rated action film from the 90s with an 80s action movie aesthetic and a Saturday morning cartoon sensibility. And that’s all there is to it. It’s fun. Pure, old fashioned, action packed fun. Something we don’t get alot of these days. But it’s ok. We still have movies like Stone Cold to keep us satisfied.
Now, before I go, I wanna leave you guys with one of the most ultimate lines of dialogue in the history of motion picture cinema. Take it away, Mr. Henriksen!
With his mind utterly intoxicated off of a steady stream of movies, comics and cartoons, a young boy from Brooklyn, New York grew up to become the man known as… THE CINEMA DRUNKIE!!! Let us know what you think in the comments or on our Facebook page!