B-Movie Bingo is turning 3 this month, and in celebration we bring you
STEELE JUSTICE on 35mm! We have a watery-looking VHS tape as a backup,
in case the film is destroyed from all the shooting happening on screen.
However, that would require fake movie bullets to “break the fourth
wall” and shoot out toward the audience, thus acknowledging it, which is
unlikely since fake movie bullets aren’t human, or even well-trained
In STEEL JUSTICE, Martin Kove (the asshole dojo instructor from THE KARATE KID) plays John Steele, a man who dishes out… justice. ”Steele justice”, to be exact. Justice served with a healthy side of shirtless shooting. Steele has a venomous pet snake named “Three Step” he wears as a scarf–if it bites you, death will overtake you after taking only three steps. Why does he wear a snake as a scarf? Because he is a badass who does what he wants.
The movie opens up in 1975 showing Steele and his buddy Lee as soldier pals in Vietnam being almost killed (via a rat with a grenade strapped to its back) by the evil General Kwan. They come out on top however, with Steele shooting Kwan in the chest with a knife. Yes, as stated before, he is a badass… he has a gun that shoots knives. Cut to present day 1987, and Steele is a marginally employed, divorced, disgraced ex-cop alcoholic loser for whom life just hasn’t been the same since the war. When his old buddy (and former LAPD partner) Lee is killed by Vietnamese gangsters, it’s ‘Nam all over again, as it smells like the handiwork of none other than Kwan himself. That’s all the exposition you need to justify… Steele justice. And lots of warehouse fights and shooting.
I should note that Steele’s ex-wife is played by Sela Ward, who appeared to be in a daze much of the movie–turns out she actually was! At the time of the filming, she was living with MacGyver himself, Richard Dean Anderson. He had a sliding glass door that led out to the pool, and she walked into it–breaking her nose–and required mild pain meds to get through the scenes. I guess MacGyver can’t fix everything with a wink and a smile (and duct tape), as was implied by the premise of that show.
This movie has tons of great 80s dialogue, especially when other characters refer to Steele. Here are some examples I found that someone was nice enough to compile:
“The war never ended for you, John.”
“He isn’t being recruited… he’s being unleashed.”
“They trained him to kill… then they turned him loose.”
“You cannot stop him… all you can do is kill him.”
“It’ll take an Army to stop him.”
I think my favorite is “Steele’s back.” It sums up not only the movie, but also the character and story arcs of the man that is John Steele. Written and directed by Robert Boris (DIPLOMATIC SIEGE).