66 user 46 critic

Steel (1997)

0:31 | Trailer
A scientist for the military turns himself into a cartoon-like superhero when a version of one of his own weapons is being used against enemies.


Kenneth Johnson


Louise Simonson (comic book series), Jon Bogdanove (comic book series) | 1 more credit »
Bottom Rated Movies #40 | 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Shaquille O'Neal ... John Henry Irons / Steel
Annabeth Gish ... Susan Sparks
Judd Nelson ... Nathaniel Burke
Richard Roundtree ... Uncle Joe
Irma P. Hall ... Grandma Odessa
Ray J ... Martin (as Ray J.)
Harvey Silver ... Lamont
Charles Napier ... Col. David
Kerrie Keane ... Sen. Nolan
Eric Pierpoint ... Major
Tembi Locke ... Norma
Thom Barry ... Sgt. Marcus
Gary Graham ... Detective
Eric Saiet ... Young Cop
Hill Harper ... Slats


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." Written by Thomas Pluck <stripey@winternet.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Man. Metal. Hero. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some superhero action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Quincy Jones and David Salzman were fans of the Steel character. Jones said that he found children's "perspective on the future has changed for the worse, and I hate seeing young people who don't believe in the future. Steel - and I don't want to use that word 'superhero,' because he doesn't fly or anything like that - represents a role model. Let's just call him a 'super human being.'" See more »


Steel's armor is supposed to be made from steel, which he forged himself. Throughout the film, his armor and helmet flex as if they were made of painted rubber. See more »


Sgt. Marcus: Where did that son-of-a-buck go?
Young Cop: The Batcave?
See more »


Featured in Chris Stuckmann Hilariocity Reviews: Steel (2014) See more »


We've Got Heart
Written by Antonina Armato
Performed by S.H.E.
Courtesy of Twism Records/Trauma Records/Interscope Records
By arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

User Reviews

A lesson in swallowing reality
13 October 2004 | by Robert_duderSee all my reviews

As an enormous Superman fan I picked this video up (for less than 5 dollars) just to add to my collection. I know it had nothing to do with the actual origins of the DC Comics Steel which came from the Death of Superman story but still has some similarities. The story revolves around John Henry Irons, played of course by Shaq, an army Lieutenant who worked on the creation of high tech sonic weapons along with Susan Sparks, played by Annabeth Gish, and Nathaniel Burk played by Judd Nelson. After a miscalculation leaves Susan paralyzed Irons leaves the army into civilian life. Nathaniel becomes the evil nemesis building the weapons and preparing to sell them to world arms dealers but first testing them on bank robberies with street gangs. Irons with the help of Susan referred to as Sparky and Iron's Uncle Joe played by Richard Roundtree build their own crime fighting weapons as well as a head to toe...well except for his face...outfit of steel.

The acting does get rather bad, it feels like a grade school play, and the jokes get far too reality based as so many people have pointed out. The Shaft joke just isn't funny, and the basketball references are unnecessary but that's not what wrecks the movie. What wrecks the movie is the storyline. They could so easily have based this character after the Superman origin. They made reference to the man of steel so many times that it would not have taken much to create Iron's character following the death of Superman. Shaq is not a terrible actor, there are far worse, but his physical stature makes his regular joe schmoe character almost unbelievable.

He towers above everyone and just looks silly. They never establish any sort of romance between Susan and John Irons although they hint to it, it never turns into anything. The story moves along at a good pace, and I thought Judd Nelson played a kick butt bad guy...although he played it almost sarcastically, it fit the movie really. The special effects were cheesy and obviously cheap but I can look past that. The part that bothers me the most is that his "steel" suit being bullet proof is fine but the good 5 or 6 inches on his face that was uncovered miraculously never got touched by bullets or anything else.

Plot holes are almost expected in a film like this so you have to swallow your reality to enjoy it. But sometimes if the movie isn't good enough, it's not worth swallowing anything. I don't regret watching it, it's not the worst movie I've ever seen that's for sure. 5/10

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Official Sites:

Warner Bros.





Release Date:

15 August 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Steel See more »


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$870,068, 17 August 1997

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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