The plot description in the Wikipedia entry for Stone Cold begins with this sentence:
Brian Bosworth stars as Joe Huff, a tough Alabama cop who is frustrated with a system that handles criminals with kid gloves.
Let me be clear about something: If you advertised a movie simply by putting up a plain white billboard with black writing that said, “A tough Alabama cop is frustrated with a system that handles criminals with kid gloves. Opens Friday,” I would immediately cancel all my plans for Friday and go see that movie. Provided, of course, that I don’t get so excited upon seeing the billboard that I veer right off the road and die in a fiery wreck. The only way a movie could be more squarely in my wheelhouse is if you managed to somehow work in the phrase “children who are ninjas.”
As I sat down to rewatch the movie this weekend, however, I realized I had already broken the whole thing down. You see, Stone Cold is nothing but Cobra and Cool as Ice whirred up in a blender on puree. You’ve got the smug, motorcycle-riding renegade with a horrible haircut (more on this later) and single earring a la Vanilla Ice in Cool as Ice, and the leather-wearing, badass cop trying to take down a violent motorcycle gang a la Sly Stallone in Cobra. For the love of God, the movie opens with the main character battling madmen with shotguns who are running wild in a supermarket, which is almost exactly how Cobra opens. The only difference is that there are three maniacs as opposed to one. What I’m getting at is this: everyone responsible for Stone Cold should be sued for copyright infringement. And being awesome. Because they are DEFINITELY guilty of that too, as you’ll see.
Before I get into the Breakdown proper, I think we should talk a little about the film’s star. For those of you unfamiliar, Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was a one man self-promotion machine who dabbled a little in football during the mid-to-late 1980s. Actually, that’s a little unfair. He was a force at outside linebacker for Oklahoma during his college career, twice winning the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, but he was a spectacular flameout in the NFL. After some steroid issues in college, he entered the NFL’s supplemental draft, where he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks and given the largest rookie contract in league history. His career lasted all of 24 games overs three seasons.
But more than football, more than anything really, The Boz loved The Boz. Here is a brief list of things Brian Bosworth actually and for seriously did:
– Wrote an autobiography at age 22.
– Sent letters to a bunch of NFL teams saying that he wouldn’t play for them if they drafted him.
– Trash-talked John Elway before the first game of his rookie season.
– Took a helicopter to his first NFL practice.
– Before a game against the Oakland Raiders and fellow rookie Bo Jackson, insulted Jackson and announced to the media that he would shut him down.
Presented below is a dramatic recreation of how that last one worked out for The Boz:
After his career flamed out early due to a shoulder injury (and just being crappy at linebacking in general), The Boz got into acting, with Stone Cold being his debut.
As I mentioned on the first slide, the opening scene in the movie features a group of madmen running amok in a grocery store, which is pretty much a direct ripoff of Cobra. At least these guys are doing it as part of a robbery, instead of going in and just blasting away at civilians for kicks. If I’m going to get murdered by a psychopath in a grocery store, I want to know it was part of a greater scheme. Otherwise, I’m going to be SO PISSED, you guys.
Also, why in the name of the Sticky Bandits would you put your face right in front of the security camera, smile ear to ear, then shoot it out? It completely defeats the purpose of taking out the camera in the first place. And this guy is the ringleader? Ugh. Come on, buddy. That’s day one criminal stuff.
Now this guy knows what he’s doing. Blonde hostages are the best hostages because they make Nancy Grace go insane, and then you get to publicize your demands more. He should be in charge.
At this point, the third robber in their crew starts spraying an automatic weapon all willy nilly. You’re probably thinking something like, “I wonder what he’s shooting at. People? Other security cameras? Is he just shooting bullets into the ceiling to send a message?”
The answer to all your questions is no. He is pretty much emptying an entire clip into… a shelf of Ritz Crackers?
This is incredibly weird, unexplained, and awesome. Best of all, his assault on the snack food aisle doesn’t end there. Oh no.
He also sprays a couple dozen bullets into a display full of potato chips. This is important for one very exciting reason: that’s right, it’s time for America’s favorite game show…
(*crowd shouts along in unison*)
“GUESS… HOW… BIG… THE… EXPLOSION… WILL… BE!”
(*jogs onto the set with perfectly coiffed hair, holding a skinny microphone*)
Okay, we’ve got one guy unloading bullets into a stack of cardboard boxes that are holding individual bags of chips. Exactly zero of those things are combustible. Even assuming there’s a metal frame and there could be sparks that light the cardboard on fire, it would be just that — a fire. Not an “explosion.” So, given all that, we’re probably looking at nothing but a few sparks and maybe a small flame, right? RIGHT?
Everyone lock in your answers.
BOOMSPLOSION, SON. This teaches us two very important lessons:
1) Potato chips are made with pure magnesium, apparently.
2) Never, under any circumstances, invite this guy to your tailgate party.
The head bad guy then orders everyone to empty the cash drawers, and makes a horribly creepy face at the girl he’s holding hostage. This poor girl. As if being held captive by a madman wasn’t enough, it looks like her family couldn’t afford high-end braces and had to get her something more… affordable.
Ladies and gentleman, The Boz.
Our hero strolls right in and starts shopping, apparently oblivious to the part where the store is being ravaged by crazy people with automatic weapons. This despite the fact that between the shot of him walking into the grocery store and this one of him pushing his cart, he has already acquired Saltines and bananas. Saltines. Which are crackers. Which would be in the same aisle as the Ritz Crackers. Ritz Crackers that have been RIDDLED WITH BULLETS. I’m not the most perceptive guy in the world, but I like to think I’d raise a quizzical eyebrow if the snack aisle in my local market had been lit up like Sonny Corleone at a tollbooth.
A couple other thoughts about The Boz’s character in the movie:
– I’ve been thinking of how to describe his hair for about five minutes, and the best I’ve got is that it’s a mullet/mohawk hybrid. A Mullhawk, maybe? Whatever it is, it should be taken out back and shot like a rabid stray. (“Rapid Stray” would be a decent name for that haircut if Mullhawk doesn’t catch on.)
– That jacket. THAT JACKET. As a reminder, the character is “an Alabama cop.” What in the hell does he need a full-length leather jacket with pronounced shoulder pad/wing thingies for in Alabama? To be awesome all the time at everything, that’s what.
– That glorious jacket is just one part of a wardrobe that includes the following: leather vests, more leather jackets, almost no shirts, and teeny tiny bikini cut underwear that PROMINENTLY displays The Boz. (I assume The Boz named his penis after himself. It is a pretty safe assumption.)
– Because there’s really no other place to include this, I feel like I should tell you that his character in the movie has a pet monitor lizard. And that he feeds it a shake made up of orange juice, two Snickers bars, potato chips, a banana, two raw eggs, and hot sauce. For breakfast. Do with that information as you please.
The bad guys hear The Boz marching around and decide to take him out. This ends very poorly for all of them. The first guy pulls a gun on The Boz while he’s basically stealing a cookie, in violation of the grocery store snack honor system. The Boz drops him.
Don’t come between a man and his cookies.
Next, the head bad guy dispatches the Snack Slayer to take care of the situation, to which he replies, “Screw that business, man!” To recap: Firing a zillion bullets into foodstuffs during an armed robbery = Okay. Cussing = Apparently not.
His instincts were pretty good, though, as within 30 seconds he’s being launched into the dairy section. Screw that business, indeed.
With the other two robbers strewn about the grocery store with serious concussions, the head guy is left to fend for himself. He takes his hostage and runs off to hide in another aisle. While doing so, he calls the girl “Tinsel Teeth.”
Not cool, bro. Not cool.
By this point in the scene, it is abundantly clear that it’s not a matter of if The Boz will take out the last guy, but how he will take out the last guy. And the answer, because OF COURSE it would be the answer, is that The Boz will take him out with slapstick comedy. I am not joking.
The Boz tosses a spinach can into the aisle he’s in, causing him to freak out and pump his last bullets into some bottles of orange soda. (A travesty. Who loves orange soda? DG loves orange soda.) He then takes off down the aisle to try to get away, and this happens:
I’m surprised they didn’t write in one more robber so The Boz could have taken him out by throwing a rubber chicken at him.
The cops come rushing in almost immediately after the last robber goes crashing into the pile of soda and start giving The Boz a hard time. It turns out he was already on suspension, and the no-nonsense guy in the suit is NOT PLEASED with him. Cops on suspension are not supposed to thwart armed robberies, whether by force or old-timey comedy shtick. Sorry, bub. Them’s the rules.
But, because this is an awesome movie about a renegade cop who plays by his own rules and doesn’t answer to some pencil neck paper pusher because DAMMIT HE GETS RESULTS I DID MY JOB AND I’D DO IT AGAIN CHIEF, The Boz gets the last horribly cliché word. When the boss asks if he has anything to say for himself, he replies, “You got clean-up on aisle four,” and then just marches out to the sound of wailing guitars as though that’s an acceptable way to handle the situation.
I love this movie.
The movie ends with one of the most amazing, preposterous action scenes I’ve ever seen. I originally wanted to do the whole Breakdown on it, but I realized pretty quickly that it would be difficult to do that. There’s entirely too much going on by this point in the movie to cover it without having to explain the whole thing. But it’s too perfect to just skip, so I’m going to summarize it.
The violent biker gang that The Boz infiltrated figures out that he’s a cop, and the boss, Chains (oh, did I not mention that the bad guy in the movie is named “Chains”? Because he is), orders his gang to take The Boz up in a helicopter, strap dynamite to him, and throw him out mid-air to create a distraction so they can murder Attorney General Brent “Whip” Whipperton (oh, did I also not mention the District Attorney is named “Whip Whipperton”? I am not too good at this). By this point in the movie, The Boz has never lost a fight, beaten up everyone, beaten up some people twice, and generally displayed substantial ass-kicking prowess. Based on this, here is a list of things that would have been better distractions than putting a live Boz in a helicopter, trying to strap dynamite to him, and throwing him out mid-air.
– Kill him first, then do all that with his lifeless, unasskickable body.
– Just throw dynamite out of the helicopter not attached to The Boz. It is dynamite. It explodes. That is distracting.
– Don’t use any dynamite or bring the Boz, and just have the pilot do awesome helicopter tricks.
– Have one of the biker guys dress like a chicken and run around yelling “SQUAWCK IMMA CHICKEN!”
– No distraction at all.
– Pretty much anything that doesn’t involve bringing the one guy who can open-shirtledly foil your plan to the place the plan is going down.
Needless to say, it did not end well for the bad guys. The Boz breaks free and takes them all down, including their helicopter. If you ask me, there are not nearly enough movies nowadays where motorcycles go flying out of a courthouse into a helicopter and cause a giant explosion. What can I say, I’m a romantic.
I repeat, I love this movie.