I will admit that as a kid, I wanted to see Steel. I remember when it came out in theaters, and seeing a big poster for it at my local video store when it was out on VHS. It might sound silly now, but recognize that Shaq was on top of the world at this point. In 1994 he was in the movie Blue Chips and had his own video game (Shaq Fu), and by 1996 starred in Kazaam. He was also successful on the court, going to the playoffs in 1994 and 1995 and winning a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. He was a sure thing for producers of shitty media to make something instantly marketable. I saw Kazaam in theaters as a kid, and was hyped for Steel even though most of my friends had recognized it as probably not good.
They were right, but I didn’t believe them until I sat down to watch this movie. I again teamed up with my friend Josh because it was his idea to pair this with Steel Reserve. He explained that it as a malt liquor it was technically different from beer. I accepted the challenge so long as he had to suffer with me. We would both regret this move.
The movie starts with a solid two minutes of metal pouring behind the opening credits. Surprisingly, no metal music is playing during this time. The first scene is of the Army testing some fancy new weapon that shoots lasers and roman candles at things, melting them. Shaq is in the Army along with Judd Nelson (no really, Judd Nelson), the obvious bad guy. While testing some sonic weapon Judd tries to show off and turns it up too high which causes a piece of wall to fall on Shaq’s love interest. Shaq gets to do the classic “NOOOO” scene as he pulls the wall off her. Judd gets kicked out of the Army and Shaq quits instead of making more weapons because there are no gray areas in this movie.
Shaq returns to his Grandmother’s house (or aunt’s? Maybe mom’s?) in a rough part of LA to live with her and Ray J (no really, Ray J). Judd Nelson also goes to LA, but to hook up with a gun dealer he knows that uses arcade machines to transport guns. Honestly, not much happens after that. Or maybe it does, because here’s where I screwed up.
You see, when I watch these movies I take notes and time-stamp things that are funny or would make good screenshots. For Captain America and Fantastic Four, I had two and half pages of notes. For this, I had half a page of notes before I stopped writing things down. The last thing I have written is: “@12:30 – Decide on drinking game – 90s fashion”. The rules were simple, any time we saw obviously dated 90s fashion we would have to drink from our 8% ABV plastic bottle of what tasted like beer extracted from a hobo’s stomach. This was a bad idea, as we finished about half of the bottle in the next 5 minutes and were both so drunk that even if the movie made sense and was engaging, we wouldn’t remember it.
But the movie isn’t engaging, and it doesn’t make sense. Judd’s bad guy crew starts using the gun designs he stole from the Army, Shaq finds out about it and decides to fight back for some reason. He busts his now-crippled girlfriend from a VA hospital and builds a suit of armor with Richard Roundtree (no really, Richard Roundtree) to fight crime. There’s no plot development for at least 30 minutes as both story lines just spin their wheels. Judd is bad and kills some of the bad people he was with because they aren’t bad enough. Shaq works on his armor and tech stuff while his girlfriend adjusts to life in a wheelchair. Finally Shaq takes on the bad guys, runs from the police, and kills Judd Nelson. Or maybe he doesn’t, I honestly can’t remember how it ends.
I don’t black out from drinking, I’m kind of proud of myself for knowing my limits well enough to have avoided that my entire life. This is as close as I’ve ever come. The beer – sorry “malt liquor” – wasn’t crazy strong and I didn’t drink that much of it. But it hit me weird and I knew I was drunk and slurring words. I browned out, I suppose. I remember certain things happening, but not entire details. I remember seeing people when we went out after the movie was over, but I don’t remember what I said to them. I remember something being funny and the plate I had a sandwich on almost falling off the couch, but I don’t remember what it was that was funny. This article would probably have been better if I did.
- This was easily the worst movie I have watched so far. It’s one of the worst I have ever seen.
- There are a few references to Shaq’s basketball career, as he misses three different free throw shots during the film. Just like in real life!
- Shaq was so big they couldn’t get a stunt double for him. I have no idea how any professional team allowed him to do this under contract.
- Don’t drink Steel Reserve, it’s not worth it.
Bottom Line: Don’t watch this movie. Don’t drink this beverage. Even if you’re really broke and want to get lit, there are better options out there. Steel Reserve is the sweatpants of liquor and you should have some self-respect, even if you’re just going out to the store to buy milk. I lost the metaphor there at the end, but you get the point.
I’ll be back sooner rather than later with a slightly less-shitty movie and much less-shitty drink of choice. As always, feel free to hurl insults at me @captjohnstarr on Twitter or leave a comment below.