Virile, laconic Jesse Stone, the small-town police chief at the center of a series of Robert B. Parker mystery novels, seems like a character made to order for Tom Selleck. But Stone Cold is disappointingly tepid stuff.
Jesse's back story—former L.A. homicide detective with a drinking problem and a lingering thing for his ex-wife—is conveyed in perfunctory fashion. We know early on that a couple of idle richies (Reg Rogers and Jane Adams) are behind the serial murders in normally sleepy Paradise, Mass., so the main plot line is just a matter of Jesse outwitting the arrogant perps. The subplot, involving a high-school gang rape, would be more credible if the principal suspect's lawyer (Mimi Rogers) weren't so intent on seducing the police chief that she barely considers the interests of her client.