During the scene at the railroad where John Henry Irons chases after a thug, a broken down fence has graffiti that resembles the written alien language from Alien Nation: Alien Nation (1989). Kenneth Johnson, who directed this movie, also directed several Alien Nation TV movies.
Steel is a DC Comics character. In the comic book, he was directly inspired by Superman when the Man of Steel saved his life (both literal and metaphorically). After Suuperman's death at the hands of Doomsday, Irons built a powered suit of armor. Sporting Superman's shield as a homage to Kal-El, he began fighting crime in the slums of Metroplois. In this movie, the existence (or non-existence) of Superman is not touched upon, but John's tattoo references the last son of Krypton.
Shaquille O'Neal fit the film's 51-day principal photography shoot which took place in between his time in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the start of training camp with his new NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers.