MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

Lt John Henry Irons (Shaquille ONeal) is a metals specialist with the U.S. Army helping to develop secret high tech weapons with his partner, Lt "Sparky" Sparks (Annabeth Gish). During a weapons test, Lt Nathaniel Burke (Judd Nelson) overcharges an untested weapon. When fired, it collapses a building, crippling Sparky and killing others. Court-martialled, Burke is dismissed from the Army but not before he steals the plans for weapons designed by Irons and Sparky. He joins with a crony to sell the weapons but first lets them be tested by L.A. gangs. Out of the Army at the end of his tour, Irons takes Sparky from the rehab hospital and puts her to work with Uncle Joe (Richard Roundtree). In Uncle Joe's junkyard, they develop a special armor and a high tech "hammer" weapon for John Henry. When Irons goes after the stolen weapons in the armor, the police nickname him the Man of Steel. Based on DC comics with humorous references to Superman, Batman and Shaq's basketball free throw average, Steel is a fun film without being too comic. The younger teens should enjoy the show even if the don't know the Ballad of John Henry.

Interspersed with the explosions and special effects, a few good messages pass through the dialogue. Irons refers to a weapon that stuns enemies without killing, and says not killing appeals to him. People refer to Steel's large size and politeness favorably. Suspected by the police as part of the weapons gang, Irons is arrested but no one he helped will identify him as Steel. He helps Sparky overcome her self-pity by helping him and using her mind. When she falls out of her wheelchair, Irons watches her struggle triumphantly back up instead of helping her. He knows she needs to overcome her physical handicap. As the brains behind Steel, she comes up with some special effects of her own. When Uncle Joe seems to give Irons a hard time, he tells Sparks that the hottest fire makes the strongest steel. Unfortunately, the dialogue also includes numerous crude terms, mostly mild. The phrase "s- happens " is repeated a few times. Violence is mostly explosions and property destruction although deaths are implied. Foul language takes the recommendable edge off of STEEL.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (28) times - mild 18, regular 10

Obscene Language: Few (4) times - s-word 3, other 1

Profanity: Few (3) times - Exclamatory (OG OMG, O Lord)

Violence: Many times moderate - (explosions, building falls on group, men shot w/laser weapons, woman in car wreck with bloody injuries, gun/knife threats, helicopter shot down, high tech shootout)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Cigarette smoking

Other: Politeness noted, grandmother tries new things, handicaps overcome, younger brother focussed on money

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: 10 and up

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