Stone Cold (1991) (part 2 of 2)
27. Of course, since Huff is a cop, he can’t really cut the guy’s ear off. Instead, he sends the man off with a warning not to return, and then delivers the ear of a corpse to Chains. (When he gives Chains the ear, Joe offers the memorable line, “Let’s just say I saved the guy a fortune in Q-Tips.”) This gets him in with the Brotherhood, but Ice is displeased when Chains sends Huff out to do a pickup run with Nancy Kerrigan and another biker named Tool (these names make the film worth seeing all by themselves!).
28. The pickup doesn’t go so well. There’s a mafia hood feuding with the Brotherhood, and he tosses a grenade that ends up severely mangling Tool. Nancy loses the pickup money to the mob guys, so Huff gives her money from his own pocket to cover the loss. Awwww.
29. Meanwhile, Chains has a contact with the Biloxi police, who’s a sexy female, of course. He asks her to look up information about this “John Stone” character.
30. The whole gang visits Tool in the hospital and sees his grotesque injuries. Chains grabs Tool’s overly bandaged hand and asks if it’s a “Q-Tip”, and that’s this movie’s second joke about Q-Tips. Were they a sponsor?
31. Huff sets up a drug deal in order to take down both the gang and the mafia at the same time (can’t say the man doesn’t have ambition). Hilariously, they’ll be selling a liquid drug called, no lie, “P2P”. I knew file sharing was a scourge on this nation!
32. Huff and Chains head to a fancy restaurant to meet with the mob guys and set up the drug deal, and, oh yeah, they also deliver the severed head of the hood who tossed the grenade. For obvious reasons, the guy’s head is delivered inside a motorcycle helmet, so they can easily stick the actor’s head through a hole in the table.
33. Meanwhile, the DA Whipperton has called in the National Guard to deal with the Brotherhood. Chains and Friends immediately set about kidnapping two Guardsmen, whom they nail inside wooden crates, and then shoot to death. Just for kicks, I guess.
34. Nancy flips out when Chains kills the Guardsmen, prompting Chains to dump her and announce, “I need a new bitch!” So Ice hands over his girl, just like that. But it appears Gut is also not really cool with cold-blooded murder, either. In response, Chains calls him “Gutless Gut” and shoves his hand into the spinning tire of a running motorcycle.
35. To be honest, the film slows down a bit here, as Huff gets Nancy on his side, more or less. She intercepts a call from Chains’ police contact, who says that John Stone’s license is “cross-indexed” with Joe Huff, whatever that means. Later on, Nancy tells Huff that his name is “cross-referenced” with Stone. (So, which is it?) Amazingly enough, Huff is able to make her believe he’s not a cop by flatly admitting with no emotion that he is a cop. This actually works, but don’t ask me how.
36. Before the drug deal, there’s a showdown with Ice that breaks up the slow patch, in the form of a nicely over the top motorcycle chase. Cars explode, and Ice goes out in rather nasty crash with a station wagon. Funnily enough, it turns out that minutes before he dies, Ice intuits that Huff is a cop. I’d love to know how these guys come to these conclusions. Generally, henchmen aren’t the brightest bulbs in the batch, and in most cases they’d be lucky to rise to the rank of retard. There must be some sort of Henchman ESP.
37. Frankly, this is really just adhering to the “cop goes undercover” formula. The main bad guy accepts the newcomer with little to no reservations, but the second-in-command is always suspicious to the point of hilarity. It works fairly well here, but I wish they’d gone a little more overboard with it. For some strange reason, the film holds back on the really gonzo stuff until the last twenty minutes. Which is a misstep that keeps it from reaching the heights of Road House and Tango & Cash.
38. The gang holds a funeral for Ice, though how they got the body from the morgue is anybody’s guess. They have his body up on a platform, perched on a motorcycle, as all the bikers cheer and Chains delivers a touching eulogy. He describes what an out of control Section 8 psycho Ice was, and then yells, “Let’s send this prick to Valhalla!” They indeed give him a Viking funeral, splashing him with gasoline and lighting him up like a torch. Because nothing says “we’ll miss you” like turning somebody into a bonfire.
39. The P2P drug deal goes down alright for Huff. To convince the bad guys he’s for real, he does the usual “shoot the decoy cop who’s wearing a bulletproof vest” routine.
40. Chains pulls a switcheroo, however, and diverts the shipment of drugs. Huff goes back to Lance, and tells him there’s now a million dollars of P2P out on the street. But so what? Studies show it has no impact on record sales. That’s just a lie perpetuated by the RIAA.
41. Huff gets on his bike and chases after the semi truck full of P2P, and tries to pull the driver over. When that doesn’t work, he fires at the truck, causing the trailer to detach from its hitch. Can you really do that with a pistol? The rogue trailer slams into a gas station, causing yet another atomic fireball. So, just a few million dollars in property damage. All in a day’s work for Joe Huff.
42. Cut to a military base. A member of the Brotherhood, an ex-military guy named AWOL (oh, the sparkling wit of Stone Cold) pays off a Guardsman to get access to weapons and a chopper. Hilariously, he tosses him an envelope of cash in a hangar in broad daylight, with several other people wandering around behind them.
43. And now we come to the final twenty minutes, which are what make this film such a must-see. It all kicks off when Huff returns to Chains’ base, and Chains now knows he’s a cop. Remember the guy whose ear Huff was supposed to cut off? Well, he’s suddenly back, with no real explanation. Chains repays his informant by shooting him, of course, after which he declares, “God forgives, the Brotherhood doesn’t.”
44. The film then throws the first of two rather huge curves at us when Chains turns around and kills Nancy. Yep, no heroic rescue, no walking off into the sunset with the hero. Here, the female lead gets a bullet in the head and that’s it, period. To be honest, as much of a shock as this is, it sort of diminishes Huff’s hero status. Come on, what kind of action hero can’t manage to save the girl? Jesus, this isn’t the ’70s!
45. The next day is the re-sentencing for the priest-killing biker from the opening credits. It’s taking place at the capitol building, because the DA somehow got the State Supreme Court involved. I’m guessing DA Creepy did that spooky eye thing Christopher Lee always did in Hammer films before drinking someone’s blood.
46. Everybody is at this thing, and I do mean everybody. The media, Lance and his boss, the National Guard, etc. It’s a huge media circus. We also learn the convicted biker’s name is “Trouble Owens”. I assume the first name is just a nickname, but given the setting, I’m not going to commit to that statement 100%.
47. Also showing up to the courthouse is Chains, who’s now clean shaven and disguised as a priest. This works amazingly well. He even says good morning to Lance, who doesn’t recognize him. Chains sits in the courtroom, and amusingly enough, the decoy cop from the drug deal is sitting in front of him. Maybe it’s just me being silly, but should a decoy cop who’s supposed to be “dead” really be out and about in public when the case he’s a part of is still open? Am I the only one who thinks this isn’t the best idea in the world?
48. Meanwhile, Huff is being held hostage by the Brotherhood and tied up in the military chopper. The idea is that he’ll be strapped to a bomb and shoved out of the helicopter, and this will serve as a diversion for whatever the Brotherhood’s main plan is. Of course, they could just shoot Huff first and then throw his body out of the chopper, but where’s the fun in that?
49. In the courtroom, the justices appear. At the same time, Chains puts his hand under the chair in front of him and pulls out a gun, which was planted by… Umm, your guess is as good as mine, actually. As the chief justice speaks, it soon becomes clear that Trouble’s sentence is going to be bumped up to the death penalty.
50. In the helicopter, Huff breaks free and fights with one biker while the pilot, AWOL, freaks out about the bomb. Eventually, Huff shoves the bomb in the biker’s jacket and tosses him out of the copter. The bomb goes off, which has the sum effect of creating that distraction anyway.
51. As soon as the explosion goes off, we’re back in the courtroom, where Chains kills the decoy cop and shoots a ton of people, causing massive widespread panic. Chains blasts away at all the justices. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better than Lance Henriksen dressed as a priest and blasting away at the Supreme Court.
52. The bikers invade the capitol building, and manage to take over the courthouse. Well, except for one dumbass who gets shot while celebrating.
53. Chains holds DA Creepy at gunpoint, and delivers the best line in the movie: “You know, at moments like this I think of my father’s last words, which were… ‘Don’t, son, that gun is loaded!‘” Man, that’s inspired.
54. Our second curve is delivered when Chains actually manages to accomplish his goal, by killing DA Creepy! Yes, the hero, for all his efforts, basically fails. Doesn’t save the girl, and doesn’t save the DA. No wonder Bosworth didn’t have much of a movie career after this.
55. Meanwhile, Huff gets AWOL to take the copter down, which results in some nice stunt flying pretty close to the ground. Huff finally gets into the capitol building by crashing down through a skylight, almost like he’s Batman or something. He proceeds to, along with the National Guard, kill a ton of bikers, including Trouble Owens and Gutless Gut.
56. Not much to say here, other than there’s some massive carnage going on, with bikers and lawmen alike getting blown to kingdom come. It’s ten minutes of bodies plummeting over railings, flying out of windows, landing on parked cars, etc.
57. But the true highlight of the movie comes when Chains and another biker speed down the halls. Chains is blasting away at lawmen left and right, when they come across Huff at the end of a hallway. Instead of just blasting away at Huff too, Chains gets off the bike, telling the other biker to run Huff down.
58. What follows is the funniest, over the top moment of the film. The biker comes forward at full speed and is shot by Huff, knocking him off the bike. The riderless bike then crashes through a window… and right into the helicopter… which proceeds to go up in a huge fireball. Okay, maybe this film does have one thing Road House doesn’t.
Here. See for yourselves:
59. After a bit like that, anything else would be something of a letdown, and the remainder of the runtime does in fact slip a little bit. Huff finds the courtroom, or rather what’s left of it. Chains appears, and Huff delivers a serious beating to the madman.
60. Huff really beats the living hell out of Chains, but lets him live, and the other cops show up on the scene. It looks like it’s all over, and the bad guy is in custody, and the danger has passed, right? (You can see where this is going, I take it.) Sure enough, the film goes the Lethal Weapon route when Chains grabs an officer’s gun and is about to kill Huff, only to be shot by dorky Lance in the nick of time.
61. Like any good B-movie, once the bad guy is dead, the film is over. No coda or screwing around; Soon as Chains is dead, the credits are rolling and we are done.
I said earlier that there’s a certain brilliance in the awfulness of this film, and that’s true. Most of it is the work of Lance Henriksen, who rises above the standard biker movie clichés to create a very creepy bad guy. This wasn’t some quick “The kids want to go to Disneyworld” paycheck job— Henriksen actually put some thought and effort into the character, and improvised a great deal of his dialogue.
The rest of the film, however, seems to aspire to be the next Road House. You have the basics: A mullet-sporting hero, rednecks galore, gratuitous nudity and violence, and stupidity to spare. But Road House had Patrick Swayze, and Brian Bosworth is no Patrick Swayze. As sad as that sounds.
Up next in my tribute to insane cheesy action movies: A movie not directed by Craig R. Baxley: Chuck Norris in Invasion U.S.A!