It’s not even halfway through the month and I’m already watching the last non-Blade movie. Sometimes it’s weird working ahead and writing these posts ahead of time, but for as long as I can manage I enjoy having some breathing room. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t go for some crazy project like watching and reviewing a movie daily. Anyway I’m getting really far off the point of the movie. It was late at night on a Friday, Jena was obsessed with wanting to watch this “farting horse movie” as she called it, also known as The Greening of Whitney Brown… I think I liked “farting horse movie” better. So once again I just watched the movie with my wife. But anyway, towards the end of Shaq’s basketball career and near the height of his fame, he decided he wanted to branch out and cash in on that fame. The quickest route apparently was movies and he joined a project based on one of the characters that I believe was introduced during the Death of Superman comic book event, Steel.
Coming into this movie, I knew absolutely nothing about it other than the two sentences in the paragraph above this, and the fact that it is one of the worst movies of all time. And from the opening credits I had mixed emotions. It has a bunch of boring shots of molten metal being poured backed by what is supposed to sound like a 70’s black action movie but comes off a lot more like porn music. I also see Richard Roundtree and Judd Nelson’s names in the credits and knew I was in for something else. It’s been a long time since I’d seen Shaq in anything and I had forgotten how much of a giant he is when standing next to regular people. Honestly, if he either had better acting skills or a more capable writer/director that could play off of it better, this could have actually turned out into a better movie. Unfortunately it’s bed, but luckily it’s able to move past the realm of badness and into the realm of so bad it’s hilarious.
So Shaq plays John Henry Irons who is a top secret military weapons specialist working on sonic weapons and laser guns with Judd Nelson who plays the bad guy that turns up the experimental gun to the max for no discernible reason and collapses the building, killing a senator and crippling Shaq’s love interest. At least I assume it’s his love interest, with lines like “not as cool as you” it’s hard to tell. Shaq sells out Judd to the military court and quits at the same time to go home and become a steelworker. Luckily Judd also goes back to Shaq’s hometown and can recreate those new high-tech weapons by himself to sell to Shaq’s new boss at the steel plant. As a side note, Shaq is never seen working at that steel plant ever again during this movie. On top that he apparently is recruiting kids for something or other at the local arcade and hooks into Shaq’s kid nephew or brother or whoever it is by giving him a job.
You know what, I think it’s a mistake to even try to go through the plot of this movie, it’s silly, contrived, confusing, and just plain bad. I mean there’s a gang of kids that are hired to test the sonic weapons and the leader has an eye patch for no discernible reason. Judd also makes a name for himself by killing people for no real reason other than to make himself look like more of a badass. Which reminds me of another thing about this movie. It’s rated PG-13 but it seems like it could have easily been rated PG with a few minor cuts. There’s practically no blood and there’s a few instances of minor swearing that felt really out of place. The fight scenes are not that interesting, and even the explosions are extremely weak and boring. How is it even possible to make a boring explosion?
The acting is all goofy and over the top everywhere. From the cop and couple protecting Shaq’s identity by not pointing him out in a lineup to the grandmother trying to play the whole “she knows but doesn’t want him to know that she knows” bit about his superhero identity. The only bit of fun in this movie is Uncle Joe played by Richard Roundtree aka Shaft. He owns the junkyard that deals in stolen goods that supplies the tech needed to get Steel’s weapons made and is totally self-referential to his old acting career, but plays it off in such a fun way that I enjoyed it for what it was. Though I thought it was awfully gay sounding if you come into the line “I did the metalwork and I especially like the shaft” if you didn’t realize this was a reference to his character Shaft. Unfortunately they mess it up with a really goofy scene where he gets to show off his fighting skills which pretty much just involve his attack dog which only showed up in the montage scene when they were making the armor.
Speaking of the armor, the costume is just atrocious. The armor itself isn’t horrible but the mask just plain looks awful. Not only that but when they actually do the reveal of it, the actors stare in awe at it while I’m looking at it as if it’s some hideous abomination. And then there’s the hammer which does everything except act like an actual hammer. It has a popup handle so it can be either of the two types of superweapons that bad guy Judd also has, the laser gun and the sonic gun. And it also has a red knob that makes it electromagnetic which is used at the critical point to trick evil Judd so he uses it thinking it’s the max power button. The non-gun guns reminded me of the new Captain America as an excuse to have guns but not be rated R, and even though I didn’t much like the sci-fi guns in Cap either, here they just really feel bad.
There really is no saving grace in this movie outside of the fact that it’s a horrible spectacle that’s fun to watch the train wreck of a movie go down in flames as long as you’re right there alongside roasting marshmallows while you make fun of it. Based on the budget it seems they had to work with at the time, I think it would have served them better to go for a comedic route, even though that might not have initially gone over as well with DC Comics. But then again, you never know. Coming up on Sunday I’ll be looking back at the old Ghost Rider movie to get ready for the new Ghost Rider movie coming out this weekend. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.