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Stone Cold (2005)

In a small town named Paradise (and Paradise is defined at the start of the film, which begs the question: If the filmmakers are going to lay it on this thick, why not follow that definition with the definition of irony?), Chief Jesse Stone is shocked to find a murder victim. Stone moved to this town — which promotional materials would refer to as "sleepy" — after getting divorced in Los Angeles, so he's no stranger to homicide, even if the town is. His most likely suspects are Brianna and Andrew Lincoln (Jane Adams, Reg Rogers), who are in fact the killers, and they do it because they're bored. They're also not about to stop with just one victim, so they murder a woman. When Stone starts getting close, they target Stone's sometime-lover Abby Taylor (Polly Shannon). There's also trouble in the town — a young girl (Alexis Dziena) was sexually assaulted, but her mother doesn't want to go to trial and have the town know, while the attackers are well off and have a high-priced lawyer (Mimi Rogers) on their side. This, though, begs another question: How small is this small town if it has a high-priced lawyer? Directed by Robert Harmon (who's best known for 1987's The Hitcher and now seems relegated to TV work for the rest of his career), Stone Cold (2005) is a competent Movie of the Week that never rises above its trappings. That said, it's modestly compelling due to Tom Selleck's appeal as a leading man. He does adequate work here that's not too reminiscent of "Magnum P.I." in playing the hard-drinking Stone. His character does have a very dry sense of humor, which plays to Selleck's strengths — he's always had a talent for a good comedic delivery, and he's the movie's sole asset. His character comes from a Robert B. Parker novel of the same name (which was adapted here by Jon Fasano), which means Stone Cold is likely to be the first in a line of TV movies based around the character. Sony/Columbia TriStar presents the title in a good anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include a "making-of" spot (11 min.) with comments from Selleck, Rogers, and Harmon, as well as bonus trailers. Keep-case.

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