…keepin’ it real in the big bad apple, Cine Meccanica screens moto or auto inspired flicks every Wednesday eve out in the ol’ Brooklyn hipsterlands, dishing out a little car culture along with some barbequed meats and free popcorn. This week’s joint serves up the 90’s biker classic Stone Cold, feautring footballin’ badboy Brian Bosworth in his cinematic debut and legendary robot Lance Henricksen slummin’ it as Chains Cooper, a Barger-esque figure. Come one cum all!
Stone Cold is what a 60’s biker movie would be if it was made in the early 90’s. Channeling into the psyche of a post cold war recession era America, Director Craig R. Baxley was somehow able to both resurrect the bikeploitation genre amid a violence-saturated 90’s media landscape and deliver us all from evil amen with exactly what we needed as a nation at the time: Brian Bosworth as an action hero playing undercover biker-cop Joe Huff from Alabama.
Of course, the reality is that Stone Cold the movie has long since been relegated to the dusty VHS video collections of history, surviving just barely as a cult favorite of a small chosen few bike and Bosworth aficionados alike with the only real irony being that Stone Cold actually pulls off what Tarrantino and Co. tried to do with the Grindhouse movies and Hell Ride: 90 minutes of non-stop action taking itself just seriously enough so that you don’t have to. There were two movies in 1991 that crashed a motorcycle into a flying helicopter and only one of them starred Lance Henricksen.
Enter the Dragon: SC begins with a delightful homage to the iconoclast rogue cop stereotype as Alabama officer Joe Huff, played by the Boz in all of his ill-fitting 90’s jeans glory, singlehandedly dismantles a multiracial gang of thugs hell-bent on robbing a supermarket somewhere in the hinterlands of early 90’s Alabama; an almost shot-by-shot tamed down remake of Stallone’s brilliant entrance in Cobra. Marion Cobretti Joe Huff is not but the Boz gets the job done with an equivalent style and grace and is promptly suspended from the force for his efforts.
Things heat up as next we’re treated to a glimpse of the Boz serving his suspensionin in a chic sun drenched mansion, post-workout and prepping what appears to be a power shake. Eggs, egg shells…a snickers bar? The joke’s(yoke’s) on you and this shake is not fit for cop consumption. Stone slides a dog dish of the stuff towards Fido, his pet dragon, and the whole ritual is interrupted by the nerdy Lance and the gruff officer Cunningham, G-men calling on Huff to get off his suspended ass and help the FBI infiltrate the Brotherhood, a dangerous and exotic gang of motorcycle madmen roaming the bayous down ole Mississippi way. Huff reluctantly accepts the invite, becoming John Stone in the process and the stage is set for one of the greatest motorcycle action movies ever made.
Baxley really bashes a body over the head with all the cliches. It’s all good though and the only thing missing is a clip of the Boz ordering something in fluent French at a snooty restaurant in a sports jacket with the sleeves ripped off.
Look, the Boz is alright but the Brotherhood is where SC shines. Led by Lance Henricksen in the guise of Chains Cooper and carving out their own little corner of hell in the swamps of the south, the Brotherhood and it’s members are the driving force behind all the motorcycle madness and character driven glory.
Ice: Sergeant at Arms and resident Brotherhood enforcer, the Iceman is played by one William Forsythe and is a total and complete and absolute badass. Ice is ice cold indeed and never loses his cool not even for a second; he is the ultimate brother and loyal to the bitter end. He is the most loveable character in Stone Cold and utters more than a few chosen lines. He laughably refers to Stone as a “grown-up version of Bam Bam” and delights with one of the greatest death rattles in the history of cinema. “Fuck you cop,” are the Iceman’s last words, slipping from his charred lips as he dies in the street following a high speed machine gun driven motorcycle chase and spectacular fiery crash. Ice is immortalized in a viking-style funeral as the Brotherhood somehow get a hold of his dead body and set him ablaze atop his prized hog as a tribute to the fallen.
The black-haired beauty: Played by one Arabella Holzbog, Nancy is Chain’s ol’ lady and sole property of the Brotherhood. Inevitably, Stone shows some interest in her and her hopes are piqued as the reality of smoothly exiting the brotherhood with head attached becomes a possibility. Nancy bears the poorly etched GFBD tat which brands her as property of the Brotherhood for all time lest she forget the adage: God Fogives, the Brotherhood Doesn’t. Treated like complete garbage by the Brotherhood throughout the entire film and constantly referred to as a bitch, Chains eventually shoots her in the head without so much as the blink of an eye just to anger Stone. A cursory glance at IMDB and one wonders whether the bullet was really a blank.
Gut: Gut is the Brotherhood’s whipping boy and is the only member of the Brotherhood that receives less respest than Nancy. Gut has a clear man-crush on Stone and follows him around like a puppy throughout the entire film. Despite being a seemingly upstanding member of the Brotherhood Gut is constantly being ripped apart by Chains and other seemingly lesser Brothers. One wonders what Gut did to deserve such foul treatment and while he does not befall the same fate as Nancy per se, Chains disrespects(loves?) him enough to chop off his fingers on a whim before the end of the movie.
Chains: Leader of the Brotherhood, Chains Cooper is played to a sociopathic T by Lance Henricksen. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Chains and the image of Henricksen, clad in priest frock and firing a machine gun from the back of a Harley blasting through the halls of justice, is seared into the back of the brain forever. Chains has charm and is actually believable as a top-dog in the motorcycling underground. One imagines Chains to be a thoughtful leader and lover, both tough and tender, but in Baxley’s world of one dimensional charactermanship we are treated to only the former, with Chains serving the role as the turn-on-a-dime violent psychopath leader of the Brotherhood. In one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history Chains slowly forces Gut’s extended fingers through the spinning spokes of his Harley wheel. Gut’s crime? Protesting Chains’ cold-blooded murder of two immobilized and unarmed men.
Unbeknownst to the Feds, who are only into the Brotherhood for drug trafficking, extortion, etc…mickey mouse stuff, Chains has something else up his sleeve entirely and is a much more ambitious man than Baxley had led us to believe. Chain’s top-secret plan is mysteriously referred to as D-Day throughout the latter half of the film and Baxley chooses to regale us with a late reveal as Stone Cold finishes strong in an orgy of cartoonish violence and explosions. Bent on “cracking the Whip” and murdering state District Attorney Brent “the Whip” Whipperton for pushing for the death penalty for one of their incarcerated brethren, the Brotherhood manage to take over the Mississippi state courthouse. They even steal a helicopter. They are successful in what appears to be their sole mission of murdering the wholly unlikeable Whipperton but the question remains: what next? With hundreds of lawmen awaiting outside ready to shoot to kill, one imagines that no sane member of the Brotherhood could have believed that D-day would end well. While Stone is imprisoned inside the helicopter, the true extent of the insanity of the Brotherhood comes to light: First the court house, then the White House.
Of course, the Boz and company eventually wrest control of the courthouse and Chains is killed…but questions remain and thoughts are stirred. What if Chains and the Brotherhood has actually succeeded in their ultimate mission? What if they had indeed made it all way to the White House and Washington? Would the Brotherhood have been able to capture the hearts and minds of the people in a post cold war recession era America? We remember the times and note that stranger things have happened.
President Chains has a nice ring to it.
Stone Cold (1991)
Wednesday, March 20th
Film starts at 8:00pm
at Lady Jay’s: 633 Grand St, between Manhattan & Leonard, Bklyn, NY 11211
Free popcorn, Juke Box Meccanica, $2 Bingo for Prizes. PRIZES!