Stone Cold (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Jul 07, 2023
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Stone Cold (Blu-ray Review)


Craig R. Baxley

Release Date(s)

1991 (May 9, 2023)


Stone Group Pictures/Columbia Pictures (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
  • Film/Program Grade: C+
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: A

Stone Cold (Blu-ray)

Buy it Here!


Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were a slew action vehicles with the potential of making stars out of the new-found leads. Such was the case with former football player Brian Bosworth (aka “The Boz”), whom after a career-ending injury, pursued other interests, including acting. His first big role came in 1991 with Stone Cold, an action film released by a major studio that came and went at the box office, though it’s since been appreciated by genre fans, as well as fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for its unintentional humor.

The Brotherhood, a group of outlaw bikers led by the psychotic Chains (Lance Henriksen) and his right hand Ice (William Forsythe), are suspected of dealing drugs and murdering government officials. Joe (Bosworth), a rough and tumble cop, goes undercover to infiltrate the Brotherhood as John Stone, hoping to learn more about their plans and find enough evidence to put them away. Matters are complicated by Chains’ girlfriend Nancy (Arabella Holzbog), who’s looking for a way out of the Brotherhood, as well as Ice’s mistrust of Stone who watches his every move. Looking out for him is FBI agent Lance (Sam McMurray), though Stone having to maintain his tough guy persona and sniff out what Chains’ ultimate goal is will prove to be difficult.

Many criticisms have been lobbed at Stone Cold since its release. It was a troubled shoot that switched directors during production, excised material that would have given Stone’s character a bit more sympathy, and was purportedly trimmed down from an NC-17 rating to an R. Lance Henriksen is on record saying that he recruited many of the bikers in the film. It’s also unusual to have such a diverse cast, whereas most so-called “cheap” action films tended to have mostly unknowns in the various roles. As for its content, there’s certainly more to appreciate than fans of “bad” movies would lead you to believe. Henriksen’s performance is over the top and the Boz is certainly not a very charismatic lead (never mind his hairstyle, which was something of a mild controversy when he was still playing professional football), but the story works well enough with some surprisingly effective stunts and action sequences. Look no further than the outlandish moment of a motorcycle crashing into a helicopter and blowing it up. In that way, it’s reminiscent of action films like Cobra and The Running Man. Above all else, Stone Cold is fun.

Stone Cold was shot by cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski on 35 mm film with Panavision cameras and lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings the film to Blu-ray for a second time, topping the previous Olive Films release with a new 2K scan of the interpositive. It’s definitely a step up with tighter grain, improved contrast, and a very healthy bitrate. Blacks are deeper and the film is a little cooler, with more natural whites and flesh tones. The color palette is loaded with a wide variety of hues, with a lot of dominate reds, blues, and greens. It’s also clean with only minor speckling and an occasional scratch, but stable and organic from end to end.

Audio is included in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s a very potent mix with excellent support for the various sound effects, including explosions and gunfire, as well as the score and music selection. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible and there are no issues with hiss or distortion.

Stone Cold on Blu-ray sits in a blue amaray case with a double-sided insert, featuring the original US theatrical artwork on the front (as well as the slipcover), and the international theatrical artwork on the reverse. The following extras are included:

  • Audio Commentary with Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • The Boz Goes Hollywood (HD – 19:00)
  • The Brotherhood with Lance Henriksen (HD – 11:04)
  • Breaking Free with Arabella Holzbog (HD – 13:17)
  • Playing Straight with Sam McMurray (HD – 8:58)
  • TV Spots (Upscaled SD – 7 in all – 3:46)
  • VHS Release Ad & VHS Trailer (Upscaled SD – 2:04)
  • 1-900 Stone Cold Challenge Contest (Upscaled SD – 1:03)
  • Trailer #1 (HD – 1:35)
  • Trailer #2 (HD – 1:28)
  • Hard Target Trailer (HD – 2:05)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive Trailer (HD – 1:20)
  • Code of Silence Trailer (HD – 2:39)
  • The Hunter Trailer (Upscaled SD – 3:15)
  • Murphy’s Law Trailer (HD – 1:30)

The new audio commentary featuring action film historians Mike Leeder and Arne Venema (who you will find mostly on releases of Asian action cinema) is as upbeat and enjoyable as their other commentaries. They’re big fans of the film and enjoy discussing its history, while also acknowledging how over the top it tends to be. Four new interviews from Heather Buckley and company are also included. The Boz Goes Hollywood speaks to Brian Bosworth about his career and his work in the film, as well as his disappointment of how much of the original script was jettisoned during filming, which would have made his character more interesting. The Brotherhood talks to Lance Henriksen about his role in the film and how much he enjoyed it, highlighting what he did to help get the film finished. Breaking Free interviews Arabella Holzbog, in which she talks about how early the film was in her career and how she feels about it today. Playing Straight talks to Sam McMurray about his role and his retrospective feelings about the film. Next are 7 TV spots, 2 VHS trailers, a 1-900 contest commercial, two trailers, and several trailers for other Kino Lorber Blu-ray releases.

Olive Films previously released Stone Cold as a bare bones Blu-ray, so for fans of the film, Kino’s Blu-ray release will be a revelation. It’s a cult favorite in its own way, and can now be enjoyed in excellent quality with a wonderful set of extras to go with it. If you’re a fan of action films, this one comes highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons


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