Shaquille O’Neal has been in some truly, truly awful movies.
He is not ashamed of it either. He said of his role in Kazaam that it did not matter how bad the movie was — and it was awful — but that people still talked about it one way or the other. O’Neal’s acting exploits still have some cultural resonance.
You may or may not remember however that he was in a comic book movie and a superhero in 1997’s Steel. This was a D.C. Comics movie based on a comic written by one of Superman’s writers. This had the making of a great film before the big comic book movie craze that would take hold of Hollywood a few years later.
Except this movie did not. Shaq looked clunky in the giant steel suit (not to mention his acting) and the story was slow. Sorry, I saw it once and then wanted to burn my eyes out. According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 12 percent of reviewers gave it a positive review. O’Neal receive a Razzie Award nomination for his performance (losing to Kevin Costner in The Postman).
But Shaq was not all bad. At least, not according to Louis Simonson, a co-writer for Steel and Superman: Man of Steel. She told IGN that O’Neal was not the problem with the movie:
“Honestly, Shaq took a lot of flak, but I think he did a fine job. The costume was terrible on that one. Oh god, it was awful! [Laughs] Today they could do a better job. I could do a better job with the character myself.”
As always, blame the script. And the script was awful.
Everything in the movie was awful.
The plot of Steel, if you do not know, is a former weapons specialist in the military retires and takes his knowledge to the streets to fight crime with high-tech weaponry and a sledgehammer.
The whole thing looks and was extremely goofy. O’Neal looks mismatched in the costume. Somehow they got it to fit him.
At least, in this film, O’Neal is not trying to rap or rhyme his language like he did in Kazaam. Maybe that would have made it more infamous for its awfulness.