Film / Steel

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Steel is a 1997 film based on the DC Comics character of that name, starring Shaquille O'Neal as John Henry Irons, who along with partner Susan "Sparky" Sparx designs weapons for the military. However, when Nathaniel Burke (Judd Nelson), during a demonstration, tries out the gun on the highest setting, it causes the building they're stationed in to collapse around them. This results in Sparky getting injured, leaving her as a paraplegic, which causes Irons to retire in disgust.

After being dismissed for causing the incident, Burke goes to Big Willie Daniels to recruit him to sell Irons' weapons to gangs. However, when Irons witnesses a bank robbery organized by gang members wielding modified guns based on his design, he begins to investigate, including confronting the gang members at their own hangout. Irons visits Sparky in a veteran's hospital and takes her to his own assembled labratory, where he hopes they can create weapons needed to combat the criminals. With the help of Uncle Joe (Richard Roundtree), they forge a suit of armor and the weaponry necessary for Irons to carry out his war on crime and become the vigilante "Steel". However, Irons is soon pursued by the cops, who believe him to be connected to the weapons and robberies.

Steel was released months after Batman & Robin, and would be the the last DC Comics-based film released by Warner Bros. until Catwoman in 2004.

This film provides examples of:

  • Endangered Soufflé: Grandma always tells John to quiet down whenever he enters the house.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: The explanation given to Sparks on how they'll get the materials they need for their plan. To demonstrate this, they show Sparky a military-grade supercomputer mainframe that someone stole and then sold to Uncle Joe for scrap.
    Uncle Joe: You'd be surprised what kind of things can be found 'round here that "fell off the back of a truck" (hands her some paper and a pen for her to make a list).
  • Groin Attack: Steel confronts some crooks who shoot at him to no avail. Then they shoot at his crotch, with the same result. Steel wags a finger at them.
  • Handicapped Badass: Sparky. She delivers quite the Superweapon Surprise with her Super Wheelchair on the final battle, making herself a Damsel out of Distress.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Burke is killed by his own laser when it is deflected off of Steel's armor.
  • In-Name-Only: The film cuts all Superman references apart from the title character wearing a Superman tattoo... which is unintentional, since Shaquille O'Neal, who plays the title character, already had it.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: When the various groups are trying to buy the sonic weapons online, one of them mentions that the internet is good for more than just porn.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Susan "Sparky" Sparx.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: As Burke lampshades, Irons as Steel isn't exactly a hard man to identify.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Johnny and Sparky. It's even implied she has no relatives to visit her at the VA hospital, other than John Henry.
  • Pun: Shaft hands Steel his hammer, complimenting its....shaft....
  • Ray Gun: The weapons developed by Johnny and stolen by Burke appear to be able to switch between Frickin' Laser Beams and concussion blast.
  • Running Gag: Johnny's inability to make a free throw and Grandma Odessa's attempt in making a souffle.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Sparky being paralyzed from the weapon he designed is what drives Johnny to leave the military.
  • Self-Deprecation: Steel has the same success rate of making free throws as Shaq does (See Running Gag).
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Steel gets away after stopping some criminals, a cop asks where he went. His partner quips, "To the Batcave?"
    • Also the unintentional Mythology Gag of Shaq's Superman tattoo.
  • Smug Snake: Burke. His plan to provide criminals with super-weapons includes him being the sole (and we mean sole) supplier of said weapons and their respective maintenance (and even recharging), and believes that John Henry's gear is inferior up until he gets Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Super Wheelchair: Sparky's motorized wheelchair has a high-powered motor, concealed sonic blasters, and her computer's keyboard is attached to one of the chair's arms. And at the very last scene, she also showcases that she modified it so she would be able to stand up with its support.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: John Henry's Steel hammer, which obviously is a sledgehammer, plus has a shaft that can be magnetized and conceals a laser, sonic cannon, and pump-action tear gas grenade launcher.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Burke, back on the army (he puts the experimental weapons to their full Up to Eleven power level, creating the devastation that cripples Sparky, because he wanted to see what that level could do (bear in mind "low power" could fuck up an Abrams tank in one shot) and to demonstrate to the Joint Chiefs the viability of said weapons, even when John Henry explicitly told him that the weapons had not been tested at that level) and when he becomes a criminal mastermind he is a serious case of No Honor Among Thieves.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Burke casually shoots Big Willy Daniels in the middle of an auction.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Steel