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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Steel (1997/Warner Archive DVD)

Steel (1997/Warner Archive DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: D



If you liked Catwoman with Halle Berry, you have to see Steel, an earlier trashing of the DC Comics Universe and further wasted opportunity with basketball star Shaquille OíNeal as the title character.  In the Superman comics after the 1990s Death Of Superman storyline, writers had The Man of Steel return as four characters including an all-steel crime fighter.  Except for Shaq (as we shall refer to him henceforth) showing off his Superman logo tattoo, this is never referenced in the film.


Shaq is steel worker John Henry Irons (at a time when most such factories had been dismantled!) doing his day to day job when a military megalomaniac (Judd Nelson) decides to unleash heavy military equipment on the public at large.  Faster than you can water down and ruin Robocop, Irons decides to take action in a way he never expected and becomes the title character.  Richard Roundtree, Annabeth Gish, Irma P. Hall, Charles Napier and anyone watching is badly wasted in a film current fans would have raised a huge wave of anger about in a project that ended any hope for Shaq of being a movie star.


Made in the continuing cinematic Superman vacuum that even Bryan Singer could not fill and Zack Snyder will not fill (unless he does everything Christopher Nolan tells him to do), the biggest shock is that the once unstoppable creator/writer/director/producer extraordinaire Kenneth Johnson (The Six Million Dollar Man, original Bionic Woman (both finally on DVD in the U.S.), TVís Incredible Hulk, the original V) had lost his touch and all here so badly botched the project that there must be a great story on how this went wrong.Johnsonís unfortunate nadir and his only problematic work, the film is an absolute mess from start to finish and even with co-producers Quincy Jones, David Saltzman and Joel Simon (Johnson was not a producer here, which is likely the problem); this is a disaster beyond belief and not even a good curio.  Unless you really, really need to see a bad superhero genre film, skip this and see the character on Superman Ė The Animated Series instead.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has detail issues and limits, though the print used is clean and color is not bad.  Director of Photography Mark Irwin, C.S.C., A.S.C., actually lensed the underrated Robocop 2 (1990, reviewed elsewhere on this site), but offers nothing new here.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has weak Pro Logic surrounds, but the original film was issued as a 5.1 digital theatrical release, so this is not even the best soundtrack available.  The only extra is a trailer.



You can order this and other Warner Archive releases at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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