This week we move onto the film that made this cycle possible. When we dreamed a little dream about pro athletes in film, Steel was the first film to come to mind. One of two leading roles that Shaq enjoyed (the other is, of course, Kazaam), it was top of our list as a must-do. So here we are in our Sci-Fi category ready to do it. Made in 1997, this might be the most forgotten DC comic adaption of all time (willfully so, probably). So forgotten that it’s not even listed on Netflix. Not even like a “Save DVD for when it comes out” button. It just doesn’t show up if you search for it. Not in their database. I’m ready… you ready? Let’s go!
Steel (1997) – BMeTric: 53.8
(Ugh, way to show off Steel. Yeah, we all know you’re going to be ridiculous, you don’t need to show off with your gaudy BMeTric score. It is pretty impressive though, 50+ is amazing).
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Film version of DC Comics’ “Steel” with basketball great Shaq in the title role, as a tall superhero with a heart of gold, wearing a funny metal suit and doing battle with stereotypical enemies of modern civilization. As endearing as Shaq can be, he should definitely not give up his day job.
(Interesting that this didn’t get a BOMB rating. Almost sounds like that half-star is given to Shaq and his endearing qualities.)
Trailer – https://youtu.be/-bAWWmLfkWo
(With this and Batman & Robin, 1997 must have been the Year of the Puns. Amazingly it actually looks like they spent a bit of money on the film. Looks like it’ll be at least fun to watch.)
Director(s) – Kenneth Johnson – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: He often works the names of friends and family into scripts.)
Writer(s) – Louise Simonson (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Her nickname is “Weezie”. Co-creator of Steel she now writes young adult novels.)
Jon Bogdanove (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Comic book writer. His son’s name is Kal-El. Co-creator of Steel.)
Kenneth Johnson (written by) – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: Most famous for the television shows V and Incredible Hulk.)
Actors – Shaquille O’Neal – (Known For: He Got Game; The Year of the Yao; CB4; The LEGO Movie (Not Found); BMT: Kazaam; Blended; Steel; Grown Ups 2; Scary Movie 4; Jack and Jill; Good Burger; When in Rome; Blue Chips; Freddy Got Fingered; The Smurfs 2; The Wash; The Kid & I; Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Blended (2014); Nominated for Worst Actor, Steel (1997); Nominated for Worst New Star, Blue Chips (1994). Someday he hopes to be nominated for writing and directing as well (fine, I made that up))
Budget/Gross: $16 million / $1,710,972
(Woah. That’s an incredible bomb. If you assumed that it wasn’t released in many theaters you’d be wrong. Over 1200. The 78th worst opening ever for a wide release film. Right ahead of Marci X… you know, that film that people remember.)
Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.
(Everything points to this being essentially Theodore Rex, but actually released to theaters.)
Poster – Dutch Angle Moon Poster
(Shaq is on this poster twice. It’s like they made a Matryoshka doll of posters. The main poster contains a smaller poster in the middle. Love the color. Love the font. I dig this poster.)
Tagline(s) – Heroes don’t come any bigger. (B-)
Man. Metal. Hero. (D+)
(I usually only grade the tagline that’s on the poster, but in keeping with the nested nature of the double poster, there are inexplicably two separate taglines. It’s almost like the first tagline is Shaq’s tagline and then the second tagline is for the movie. Neither are particularly good, but the second one is straight nonsense. Just words. And pretty boring words at that.)
Notes – Shaquille O’Neal had to do all of his own stunts; the producers were unable to find a 7’1″ stunt double for him. (awwwww hell yes)
Writer/director Kenneth Johnson revealed in a SlashFilm interview that he originally wanted Wesley Snipes to play Steel but Warner Bros. felt that casting Shaquille O’Neal would help sell more toys and merchandise. (In the alternate universe in which this swap occured I wonder if they regretted their decision…)