J.A. Steel – that final piece of history’s greatest backfield also featuring Earl Campbell and Christian Okoye — has a face only a bearded mother could love, and yes, she really knows how to handle a motorcycle. If by handle, you mean weigh down the bike with her wrestler’s frame while the zipper on her jacket slides mysteriously downward to spring forth a horror unseen since your last indulgence in granny-on-tranny porn. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you much about this faux female, besides the fact that her The Third Society, a film she produced (under a pseudonym), wrote, directed, starred in, and whose sets she built with her own massive, callous-ridden paws, is the most offensive vanity project since Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon. When a person this supremely untalented demands to control every aspect of a film, the only explanation is that she is either delusional, or had access to a family fortune that allowed her to waste an enormous amount of money highlighting charms only she believes she possesses. She’s also the sort of woman who will insist on not one, but two, gratuitous shower scenes, all so we could see the same flashback sequences that don’t make a bit of sense, and the least appealing set of tits since a middle-aged Marlon Brando went topless. Getting naked is not a right conferred by any society that I am aware of, and certainly not before a shitload of cameras.
The Third Society, a title, incidentally, that is never explained, involves Asian drug dealers, orphaned children, revenge, unprovoked and unwanted nudity, and transferring large amounts of money from one account to another, but the story runs a distant second to Steel’s compulsion to show herself in every flattering light possible. We watch her ride her bike at high speed, do push-ups in the ocean, shadowbox in what appears to be an Amazon rainforest (i.e. Steel’s backyard), shave her back, massage her nutsack, and yes, take those unforgivably long showers on her houseboat. And all of this might have been minimally exciting had Steel possessed even a smidgen of charisma. Not only is she monotone and hampered by the world’s largest Adam’s Apple, but she’s so aggressive and macho that I half expected her to tear off her top and reveal Jack Lambert. Without question, she could still kick the shit out of my ass, so perhaps I should tread lightly. But when I glance at the back of the DVD case, there she is, sprawled out by her bike, dressed in her riding outfit, and showing a hint of the repugnance that should send every American penis into a state of unrecoverable flaccidity. I’ll be damned if she doesn’t think she’s the sexiest chick in Hollywood, and her hysterical website is a testimonial to that fact.
With a film of this dubious quality, the only question worth asking is — “Is it a guilty pleasure?” Yes, I did laugh a few times at the audacity of Mr. Steel, but I don’t think that’s what he intended. Still, the line, “Charlie, X-Ray, please suspend your flight, there’s a motorcycle on the runway,” just may enter the bad movie lexicon, that is if more than a dozen people (not including Steel’s inner circle) see this atrocity. Interestingly enough, the only chick we do want to see naked remains stubbornly, defiantly clothed, and in a turn that seems to have been filmed without irony, Steel steps aside gingerly as she is fired upon from a distance no less than five feet. These Asian drug lords are able to secure $1 billion worth of heroin, yet are unable to shoot a lumbering, oafish fullback at point blank range. But that’s Steel’s vision — implausibility, stupidity, and a lead character so unappealing that I kept waiting for her to die violently, or at least receive that long-desired hysterectomy. But she does die at the end (or does she?), leaving open the possibility of a sequel that even her father may not want to finance.
At last, there are unfunny outtakes at the end, always the surest sign of either creative bankruptcy or Burt Reynold’s eye-rolling involvement. In a puzzling series of clips, Steel belches “line” time after time, despite the fact that the Samoan wrote the script! I know it’s hard to memorize dialogue of this supreme banality, but isn’t that why you kept it simple? There’s also an FBI agent that teases us about a possible romance, but we know that Steel is all business, and she’s not about to fuck anything she can’t devour immediately afterwards. Without any action, charm, character insight, sex appeal, or even fun, I am left with, once again, J.A. Steel. Hollywood is known for its oversized egos, but it just may have found its champion. Never before has anyone done so little with, well, so little.
It also needs to be said that Sir Steel sent me this DVD without provocation or warning, and surely expected a gushing review that ignored everything between the opening credits and the closing crawl. I welcome such care packages, and hope that if inspired, Steel will continue to push her criminally inferior product, if only because I’ve been looking for just the right thing to wash away the final shards of my declining sex drive. Perhaps she has an amateur sex tape or two where she unhinges her marble jaw, inhales the gutted organs of her kin, and rolls around in her own juices while howling forth the curse of her genes. Or maybe she has a memoir tucked away in her nightstand; a stinging document of accusations and settled scores, where her endless haul of rapes, molestations, softball games, and squat thrusts could be scanned with cackling excitement and callous judgment. And I suspect that she’s been contemplating a clothing line; rusted cod pieces, bloodstained hair shirts, and sleek chain mail to accessorize with furry hunting boots constructed from the tanned hides of her victims, and just high enough to hide those abnormally sculpted and vein-bulging calves. I have no doubt that she’s hard at work, though, and here’s my open letter to her to remember my address.