- David N.
[Editor's Note: Happy Birthay, David! May your disillusioned thoughts about how young you look carry you into next year.]
Steel was received negatively by American critics on its original release. The film ranking website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 13% of critics had given the film positive reviews, based upon a sample of 23. Leonard Kladly of Variety wrote that the film is "too broad and episodic to attract anything other than the most undemanding crowd". Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle described it as a "tolerable stinker of a film" that "plays like a Saturday morning cartoon". Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times stated that the film is "slow to gather momentum and generates little excitement or tension".
Despite negative reception of the film, critics praised Annabeth Gish in the role of the wheelchair-using Susan Sparks. The New York Times called Gish's role a "strong performance". The San Francisco Chronicle noted that she "becomes the first woman-in-wheelchair action hero in a Hollywood movie, too. Gotta give Steel some credit for that."