On the colorful-villain scale, homicidal biker gangs have an edge over the usual urban drug hoodlums. The man who sells cocaine for a living, whether by the kilo or the crack vial, has a business to run; blowing away people with AK-47s is simply part of his job. But bikers inflict mayhem for the sheer joy of it, and that makes them a fitting adversary for Joe Huff (Brian Bosworth), a bad-boy supercop who goes undercover to join a ruthless motorcycle gang known as the Brotherhood. The Mad Max films merged the biker genre with the straight-edge gaudiness of punk. The routinely scripted but kinetic Stone Cold is a throwback to Roger Corman’s Hell’s Angels flicks, in which beer-swilling denim-and-leather-clad freedom riders straddled their Harleys to terrorize the American heartland.

As it turns out, the Brotherhood members do sell a few drugs on the side. Mostly, though, they’re nomadic misfits who spend the days beating each other up and paying homage to their hippie-fascist leader, Chains (Lance Henriksen, from Alien). In his action debut, Bosworth, the former Seattle Seahawks linebacker, is a bit too sleepy-cool for his surroundings, but he cuts a striking figure. He has some of Patrick Swayze’s chiseled animal sleekness — he’s like Swayze in the body of Dolph Lundgren. Featured among the bikers are a couple of fine actors: Henriksen as the middle-aged, sinewy Chains, always cackling with ironic good cheer, and William Forsythe as his jittery right-hand man. When they’re on-screen, Stone Cold doesn’t feel quite as B-movie-ish. The film features lots of relentless bare-knuckle clashes and a typical doozy of a climax in which the bikers lay down rubber inside the Mississippi State Courthouse. C

Stone Cold
  • Movie
  • 92 minutes