18 January 2006 | vchimpanzee
Fine prequel to 'Stone Cold'
At the start of this movie based on the first Robert B. Parker novel about Jesse Stone, the former Los Angeles detective is mistaken for a vagrant on the beach in Santa Monica. He has to explain to a cop that he also is--or was--a cop.
Meanwhile, in the quiet coastal town of Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Lou Carson (Mike Starr) is celebrating his retirement.
When we see Jesse again, he is crossing the country with his hound dog Boomer, and trying not to drink.
If you have seen the TV movie 'Stone Cold', based on another Parker novel, you know what comes next. The question is: how does Jesse go from drunken bum to the new police chief of Paradise? The answer may be related to the meeting between Lou and Hasty Hathaway, the banker and town administrator, beside a rusting ship tied up at a dock--and the envelope full of cash. This secret conversation may also have a connection to the murder that serves as a primary plot line for the movie.
Having worked in the big city, Jesse does things the way he is used to--much to the dismay of town attorney Abby Taylor (Polly Shannon).
Molly (Viola Crane) is the dispatcher, insisting she is a police officer and not a secretary. The other officers are Anthony D'Angelo (Vito Rezza) and Luther Simpson (Kohl Sudduth), who gets nicknamed 'Suitcase' by Jesse. Hathaway's wife Cissy (Stephanie March) doesn't seem happy with her marriage.
Tom Selleck does a fine job once again as Jesse. His character is confident yet pleasant, intelligent but flawed. He vows not to drink--on the job. One of his best scenes is with troubled teen Michele, whose parents are divorcing, though her abusive father Joe (Stephen Baldwin) insists on remaining close to the family, and he is mysterious about how he makes a living. Saul Rubinek does a good job as Hasty.
This is not an exciting movie, and certainly not the type of movie where one would expect car chases and explosions. In fact, it is not really a murder mystery, though solving the murder does take up more time than any of the other plot lines. The main purpose of the movie is to introduce the characters. Despite the movie's slow pace, I found it entertaining mainly because of Jesse. There is some comedy, and violence is minimal. The language and sexual talk make this inappropriate for young children, though prime-time network TV offers far worse.
I happen to know there will be at least one more Jesse Stone movie, and I look forward to it.