Steel (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Steel (1997)



Critic Consensus: Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.

Movie Info

Low-rent, poorly-lit superhero action is the order of the day in this film from television director Kenneth Johnson -- who makes several references to his series Alien Nation throughout the course of the movie. NBA basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal stars as John Henry Irons, a weapons designer and metallurgical genius who is developing a new sonic weapon for the military with the help of Sparks (Annabeth Gish), a computer whiz. When an accident caused by unscrupulous superior Nathaniel Burke (Judd Nelson) leaves Sparks paralyzed, Irons quits his job in disgust. It turns out later that Burke has begun mass-producing the weapon and selling it to terrorists and L.A. street gangs, so Irons and Sparks team up with Uncle Joe (Richard Roundtree), a junkyard artist, to create a suit of armor and a gadget-packed sledgehammer. Irons dons the suit and becomes known as the superhero Steel, who kicks criminal posterior all over the city with his impenetrable get-up and high-tech gizmos. Before long, Burke's comeuppance is in the offing. Although specific references to it were excised between the source material and script, the original DC Comics version of Steel was a spin-off of the Superman comics series. ~ Karl Williams, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove, Kenneth Johnson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 17, 1998
Warner Home Video


Shaquille O'Neal
as John Henry Irons
Annabeth Gish
as Lt. Sparks
Irma P. Hall
as Grandma Odesa
Ray J
as Martin
Judd Nelson
as Nathaniel Burke
Thom Barry
as Sergeant Marcus
Kerrie Keane
as Senator Nolan
Gary Graham
as Detective
Eric Saiet
as Young Cop
Joseph Palmer
as Holdecker
Eric Poppick
as Mr. Hunt
Rutanya Alda
as Mrs. Hunt
Steve Matilla
as Big Willy Daniels
Tim De Zarn
as Skinhead Leader
Michael Shamus Wiles
as Skinhead No. 2
Kamau Holloway
as Skin No. 1
Norris Young
as Skin No. 2
Maurice Chasse
as French Mercenary
Josh Cruze
as Colombian
Nancy Wolfe
as American Overload
Danny Hartigan
as Chauffeur
Rick Worthy
as SWAT Man
Marabina Jaimes
as SWAT Woman
Scotch Ellis Loring
as SWAT Officer
Ben Lavington Martin
as District Attorney
Dirk Wallace Craft
as Officer Craft
John F. O'Donohue
as Federal Reserve Guar...
John Patrick Hayes
as Pre-Teen No. 1
Cyd Strittmatter
as Lieutenant
John Donohue
as Crewman No. 1
Jody Fasanella
as Matronly Secretary
Kevin Sifuentes
as Reed Driver
Joe Wandell
as Reef Gunman
Joshua G. Adams
as Basketball Kid No. 1
Zane Graham
as Basketball Kid No. 2
Charles Napier
as Col. David
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Steel

Critic Reviews for Steel

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5)

Its protagonist is good-natured, wholesome, devoid of moral flaws and acutely civic-conscious. But good intentions aren't good enough, and this Shaq attack is too broad and episodic to attract anything other than the most undemanding crowd.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

The Los Angeles Lakers' center, at 7-foot-1, is appealing and breathes much needed large life into a tolerable stinker of a film.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Slow to gather momentum and generates little excitement or tension.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

The concept may not be bad, but there are times when the execution borders on embarassing.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Steel isn't a movie to excite or even entertain. It exists to move merchandise -- specifically, Shaquille O'Neal's oversized physique and marketing machine.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Has the distinction of being one of those movies that's so bad it actually has some solid entertainment value.

Full Review… | May 16, 2010

Audience Reviews for Steel


This movie was...Okay. It certainly wasn't good, but it wasn;t too bad either. Shaq can't act, no more than he can shoot a decent free throw, but there was still some good. But as always, we begin with the bad.

The basketball puns in this movie were just PAINFUL PAINFUL PAINFUL!!! For example, there is one scene where Shaq has too shoot a grenade throw a hole in the wall with unlimited time and no one guarding him. GEE, I WONDER WHAT THAT MEANS. OUT OF ALL THE BASKETBALL PUNS, IT COULD BE ANY!!!

Then there was the acting. Shaq, of course, was pretty bad, but the villain was pretty bad too. I also didn't like the acting of the annoying kid. Just attrocious.

There was good though. The special affects in this movie had too be good to make up for the fact that Shaq played the main character, and they were. I felt like I was watching a Terminator film! Particulary the hammer. I lied the costume too, even if the entrance was a little dumb.

The plot was pretty good too, for a Shaq movie. It's kind of like Iron Man, but I don't really want to explain it.

This movie isn;t perfect, but it isn't horrible. In my opinion, it's smack dad in the middle.

Marc L.
Marc Lewis

Super Reviewer


About the same as Kazam in terms of quality, this is basically the poor man's Batman, even circa '97. Again, it has a bizarre unintentional comedy element to it that makes it worth watching. This has too many seriously toned moments though, which makes it tough to even get through. Poor Shaquille O'Neal really wanted to be a movie star.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

im pretty sure the words "What? you've never seen Steel?" have never been blurted out before.

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

Steel Quotes

– Submitted by John B (3 years ago)
– Submitted by John P (3 years ago)
– Submitted by John P (3 years ago)
– Submitted by John P (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Steel on our Movie forum!