'Stone Cold' DVD Review ** 100405

The Work = **
'Stone Cold' is a made for TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Police Chief Jesse Stone. The film is actually pretty decent and while I didn’t dig it as a whole, I know it will have its fans. Stone works in a small town in Massachusetts called Paradise. The town is suddenly the location of a series of murders that disrupt the quiet locale. The law enforcement is certainly not used to the homicides and would be in over their heads were it not for the presence of Chief Stone.

It seems he used to be a big city homicide detective that got worn down by the work. Selleck brings an air of credibility to a character that doesn’t have a heck of a lot in the film to flesh him out with. He is a calm, steadfast man on the surface but his worn face shows someone who has seen too much death and hardships. He just wants to work in Paradise and relax in quiet.

'Stone Cold' parallels Stone's story with that of the story of who committed the crimes and why. I will leave that story for you to discover but will mention that it seemed a bit underdeveloped to me. I will also mention that the cast surrounding Selleck is very strong including Mimi Rogers, Jane Adams and Reg Rogers. All the players seem to be giving it their all and I suspect part of that has to do with Selleck’s supposedly very collaborative attitude.

What unfolds is a murder mystery that follows Chief Stone as the tension increases around him. He drinks, probably too much, wants to solve the case himself, and keeps the media out. As he digs deeper obstacles pile up around him and local town officials become increasingly skeptical of his abilities. This is a man who is used to being in charge but may be in way, way, over his head.

There was one moment in 'Stone Cold' that I must admit really bothered me. In an incident separate from the murders, a young girl is raped. Her attacker is beaten by her father in front of Chief Stone. The attacker and his father say they are going to sue. Chief Stone lies and says the girl’s father was defending himself.

Now, if Stone’s character had been different or if this fit better with the movie it might not have bothered me but somehow it just didn’t fit with the film. (The whole subplot while handled ok for the most part just didn’t seem to be necessary in this film.) If Stone was going to lie I wish it had been set up better. (Ie: perhaps he did stuff like that when he was working homicide or maybe there could have been a stronger theme of the law vs justice.) It is a minor note overall but it did bother me.

I can’t say I minded 'Stone Cold' but I’m not sure that I will ever watch it again either. For what it is worth there have certainly been worse films released in theaters. I can’t quite recommend it but if you are a fan of Selleck or curious it is probably worth checking out.

DVD = ***

The Look
'Stone Cold' is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This isn’t too bad of a transfer. Some of the darker scenes don’t look as good as others but overall not too bad, especially considering this was a made for TV movie.

The Sound
The DVD has a 5.1 Dolby Digital track on it that is nothing too remarkable but certainly isn’t bad either. The dialogue was always easy to hear and understand and the effects and music were, if nothing else, clear.

The Bonus
Really the extras are a selection of trailers and a brief featurette. Despite being short, the featurette is a worthwhile bonus that offers some interesting bits of info about the film. Apparently Selleck and co. are going to be making a series of made for TV movies following Chief Stone which seems like they could make for an enjoyable enough miniseries.

All Together = **
Easily the worst thing about this flic is that it follows Chief Stone… and its title is 'Stone Cold', get it? Nice pun. Anyway, I can’t recommend it but it really is not a bad movie. I think it will have its fans and if you like Selleck, I say give it a try. There are, as I say, worse films out there.


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