Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #26 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today talking about the terror that Steel.
Back in the 90’s I loved Shaquille O’Neal, he was my favourite NBA player and loved watching him play basketball on TV. I’ve never known him to be a good actor, I’ve seen him in a handful of TV and film roles but the only thing I remember him in was that one scene in Good Burger haha. After watching the Nostalgia Critics review I was hoping to never find a reason to watch this disaster of a film for myself, but because of this blogging series I am diving ever deeper into shit pile to see what I can find and everyday it seems like discovering things that should have stayed buried.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“John Henry Irons designs weapons for the military. When his project to create weapons that harmlessly neutralize soldiers is sabotaged, he leaves in disgust. When he sees gangs are using his weapons on the street, he uses his brains and his Uncle Joe’s junkyard know-how to fight back, becoming a real man of “steel.””
Let me be clear from the beginning, this film is horrendous! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME! *Rings a bell* I have endured Supergirl, Captain America and Spawn, but nothing has made me feel so much rage and disgust like Steel has. Like the Angry Video Game Nerd says, “What were they thinking?” The story in this film is ridiculous from beginning to end. The codes and conventions, themes and story progression is the most cliché and generic stuff you could think of meshed into one film. There’s The film feels like it was aimed at children with the life lessons the film tries to teach and the whole ‘costumed superhero is cool’ kind of vibe that the characters give off, but it’s so silly and nonsensical that it doesn’t work. Also this film is trying to hard to be cool, adult and smart but it fails at all three, the way things happen in this film is predictable, painful and ridiculous. After a while I was barely paying attention to what wa going on because watching this film hurt my brain with all the horrible dialogue, infuriating one-liners, references to Superman and Batman, and stupidly obvious situations that some of the characters couldn’t find their way out of. When the film was over I was mentally exhausted, no joke.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Firstly there’s Shaquille O’Neal as John Henry Irons/Steel. O’Neal just doesn’t have the acting talent to pull off a role like this, he tries his best but it’s not good enough and comes across more cheesy and silly than serious and cool. Also Irons for all his intelligence is one dumb guy, he can’t do the most basic of things and I doesn’t know how to engage certain people emotionally. Annabeth Gish doesn’t fare much better as Susan “Sparky” Sparks. This girl is smart but is also be quite obviously and foolish. Also there’s this implied romance between these two but they act like they’re in high school, like they’re best friends just discovering like there is some kind of spark between them, but the film is so poorly written that nothing important ever evolves between these two characters. Oh and then there’s Judd Nelson as Nathaniel Burke, oh god, what did this film do to you Nelson! I adored this guy in The Breakfast Club, how did he go from that to this? Burke is about as cliché and typical as you can get as the villain of this film, he is always looking out for number one, is very egotistical and is out for revenge, but nothing that he does ever makes you root for him or even like him. Richard Roundtree as Uncle Joe is another horrible person in the cast spouting one-liners and trying to act all funny by being old or hip and it doesn’t work. Irma P. Hall as Grandma Odessa doesn’t fare much better being annoying for the same reasons as Uncle Joe, but also for going on about that damn souffle all the time. And finally Ray J just adds the cherry on this turd sundae as Martin, he’s this annoying little kid who has a very warped idea of what it’s like to be smart, successful and normal. He’s constantly going on about making money, doesn’t want to do his school work and is falling in with the wrong types of people.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is pretty bad. The action is lacking in any sort of ‘wow’ factor and doesn’t have any memorable moments (besides maybe that ridiculous moment with the wheelchair with guns 😦 ) Also the special effects, there wasn’t that much of them but they were still pretty lame. Oh and that costume, it is frigging horrendous! I don’t know how the character looked in the comics but surely there must have been a way to make Shaq look cooler than what he got in the film, it looks barely put together and nowhere near superhero quality, for shame! As for the soundtrack, besides the main theme that’s kind of cool and feels like a cross between Shaft and RoboCop, Mervyn Warren’s film score is just off. It has a nice funky sound mixed in with a more traditional orchestrated sound but it doesn’t really elevate the film or add to the what’s happening on-screen and a lot oft he time it feels mismatched and awkward.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? I haven’t read the original source material but something tells me from what I’ve read online that this film done goofed by creating its own original spin on the DC Comics character.
So to conclude Steel is shit, yeah I said it. I don’t like to swear too often because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about how I use my vocabulary, but it is films like this that make me want to freak the hell out and drop some curse words. This film is a mess, it’s long, annoying, insanely silly and not funny at all. It is a dirty stain on the superhero genre and is an insulting viewing experience for anyone who is subjected to it. Just stay away from the god-awful film and if you are curious just watch The Nostalgia Critic’s review, you’ll be better off for sure.
That’s 26 reviews done, only 4 more to go. So have you seen Steel and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!