Deservedly died a box-office death.In the execrable Cold Steel, Brad Davis of Midnight Express fame tries his damndest yet again to prove heâ€™s got both the talent and charisma to sustain a leading-man role, but, try as he might with all the shouting and semaphoring and embarrassing attempts in his quieter moments to â€śsmolder,â€ť heâ€™s direly devoid of the requisites to get the job done. Playing Los Angeles rules-breaking detective Johnny Modine, whoâ€™s dead-set on avenging the death of his father at the hands of a facially-disfigured nemesis with a mechanical voice box in his larynx, Davis moves around a lot in the attempt to work up some kinetic energy, but because his internal resources are practically zero, weâ€™re all too aware of the numerous chalk marks he isnâ€™t hitting, and the sight isnâ€™t pretty. Granted, the material heâ€™s working with is brain-dead garbage, but heâ€™s incapable of rising above it at the very least â€“ you feel Davis and the screenplay are a perfect match made in Hell. (In the odious Midnight Express Davis was effortlessly upstaged by co-stars John Hurt and Randy Quaid; here, even far-lesser actors have no problem walking away with their scenes.) Davis is no one in particular, just a mediocrity who relies on generalized mannerisms that never congruently come together into something genuine. His only positive is that he isnâ€™t smug in that thereâ€™s effort been put out to etch a three-dimensional characterization: itâ€™s just that his best simply isnâ€™t good enough. Still, no actor could lend gravitas to something as inane as Cold Steel. Atrociously written and directed and edited, itâ€™s to cinema what the Edsel was to the automobile. The inchoate dialogue consists of gems by the likes of â€śIf I catch you anywhere near this case, Iâ€™ll throw you in the shithouse so fast itâ€™ll make your head spin,â€ť the abysmal action sequences staged by the criminally-untalented debuting director Dorothy Ann Puzo (daughter of The Godfather novelist Mario Puzo) are a disgrace in the spatial-logistics department, and even simple talking-heads scenes are an absolute insult to composition. (Not to mention, the cruddy lighting suggests that of an industrial-training video.) Even the motivation of the villain has been hopelessly fouled up â€“ youâ€™d expect him to target the gang responsible for his disfigurement, not the ex-friend who was rendered unconscious and unable to fight back. The movieâ€™s sole saving grace is the colorful performance by the English musician Adam Ant, who plays the bad guyâ€™s second-in-command with undiluted moxie. Heâ€™s clearly having oodles more fun than the unfortunate audience.It's available in an out-of-print DVD, though I doubt there will be any takers.