“Shaq”, “The Diesel”, “Shaq Fu”, “The Big Daddy”, “Superman”, “The Big Agave”, “The Big Cactus”, “The Big Shaqtus”, “The Big Galactus”, “Wilt Chamberneezy”, “The Big Baryshnikov”, “The Real Deal”, “The Big Shamrock”, “The Big Leprechaun”, “Shaqovic”, and “The Big Conductor” (Cite). Shaquille O’Neal is a very interesting person. Amazingly successful basketball career, entrepreneur, doctorate degree, actor, rapper, mascot, and police officer are just a few things Shaq can put on his resume. If I were him, I wouldn’t put the movie Steel on there though. Not only was he nominated for a Razzie award for worst actor, it was overall a disaster that even Shaq couldn’t slam-dunk (only basketball pun in this paragraph, I swear).
Our main character is a weapons designer that realizes his weapons can hurt people. He decides to stop doing it and once home, he finds out that the weapons he designed are being given to various bad people intending to do bad things. He then manufactures a high tech suit that can fight his own technology. He decides to be a hero because he feels he’s the only one that can stop it and other bad things in the future. Yes, this is the plot from Iron Man. Are we noticing a trend of DC movies failing and Marvel using the same story and having huge successes. Nope, I didn’t notice that either. I have always considered Steel to be Iron Man on a budget anyway but the parallels are a bit too on the nose. Mario Roberts, Paul Eliopoulos, and Gilbert Rosales all did stunts on both movies. Coincidence? Actually, yeah.
For those of you that are not comic book fans, almost every character for Marvel or DC has a rip off character from the other company. A great video on the subject can be found here. I understand that original ideas are hard and pretty much every movie that has been done can be categorized into the 7 basic plots but at least try to make characters a little bit different. I’m not saying every character in a metal suit is a ripoff of Iron Man but at least make an attempt to make the character different on a fundamental level. I’m sorry but making an Iron Man clone African American isn’t good enough. Why not make him a guy with one leg? BOOM! Secret identity and reason to fight all wrapped up in one little package. “Do you think John Irons is Steel?” “Are you stupid? He has one leg”. Forget plastic glasses, one leg is a solid alibi. Get off your laurels and make something at least borderline unique.
This may be my overexposure to crummy movies talking but Steel wasn’t the worst I’ve seen. Shaq remembered most of his lines. The ‘metal’ suit only looked like foam when he was standing still… or moving. There were only a few dozen jokes in reference to Shaq not hitting free throws, Richard Roundtree being Shaft, and everyone not noticing that Steel has to be 7’1” and there is only one guy in the neighborhood that is that tall. I’m sorry but if you are 7’1”, you are not going to have a secret identity. Sarcasm aside, Steel isn’t unwatchable but certainly isn’t recommended.
Mehcad Brooks (Eggs from True Blood) could be a fantastic Steel. He has a very relatable demeanor and is old enough at this point to play a dad like John Henry Irons. He’s got the look and attitude to play a Justice League reservist as well as bravado to pull off discount Tony Stark. The movie could easily take place in any universe that has a Superman and the villain could be any from either Superman or Batman’s villains. My recommendation would be Metallo due to him having Kryptonite to hurt Superman, Steel could step in to save the day. I would pick Eric Roberts for Metallo. His delivery is solid for evil and he is used to playing characters that are a bit off otherwise.