Captain America (1990), is that reason enough to read Zechs' review of it and witness his decent to further madness?
I'm a lover of movies; in fact, I love all kinds of movies. Amongst them all, action movies especially are my passion. However, I also do enjoy sci-fi, drama, comedy, and horror. As for romance? Eh, if the babe is hot it might be deemed possibly watchable for me. Though even then, that so did not help me when I watched The English Patient (1996). Otherwise, I rather watch Batman & Robin (1997) for 24 hours straight than see a cheesy romance flick. Still, I cannot see every movie known to man when they come out, or only hear good stuff about them. Therefore, I'll put my behind down and review the flick. Enter this column, where I finally state was the movie truly worth the price of viewing or not.
Oh boy, I bet those of you are thinking I must be a masochist if I have to watch this movie? Well, I have to admit I did watch part of this film some time ago, and honestly I have to confess the part I saw I loved. I admit I wasn't much of a Captain America fan when I watched the bit of it I saw. I think it was on HBO at the time and obviously it was the part where Cap fought the Red Skull during World War II. I just remember, “Huh.. this is sort of cool.” and then I had to go do something and turned off the movie. After hearing so much negative things about it since, I haven't seen it since, UNTIL NOW.
Though this isn't the first time Captain America had a movie done. In fact is the third shot at Cap movie with the first two where TV movies staring Reb Brown (of Space Mutiny and Yor the Hunter From the Future fame). Honestly I saw both those movies once on the Sci-Fi channel and I complimented suicide after watching both. Seriously I think in some Eastern European country watching these two movies back to back is a form of torture. But enough of talking of that nuclear accident, let's talk about this Cap movie, which is more a train wreck.
So the movie actually surprised me that it actually has some bits of the comic book origin actually in the movie. Cap is in World War II and his origin of a super soldier serum is perfectly intact. Even the Red Skull being his Nazi opposite number is here though modified more (him being Italian and the serum due to his deformity instead of it being a mask). Still, the Cap here only goes on one mission which means no Invaders or Bucky. Sadly, this also means no Baron Zemo either. I have to confess to why the later character and Bucky aren't in the film given how much they're linked to Cap.
But I digress it does just get to the nitty gritty with Cap and the Red Skull rivalry. Honestly, the first twenty minutes I actually enjoyed. Yeah Steve's background is breezed through in two minutes. I admit the explanation for Cap's costume is utterly idiotic. Two lines of dialogue and we buy that? COME ON! Oh and no explanation for his shield. He just has it and somehow can wield it perfectly.
And yet with all of that, I still actually enjoyed seeing Cap beating the crap out of Nazis. I mean that's what you expect when watching a Captain America movie. You expect Nazis getting their asses kicked every second Cap is on screen. However, the moment the Skull loses his hand and Cap with said missile is launched the film utterly plummets. So I begin the long list of negatives I had with this film.
I mean honestly, the kid who watches Cap nearly miss the White House becomes President of the United States? I mean seriously? I mean sure living the American dream is nice and all, but he grows up to become President Dick Jones? Damn you Ronny Cox for being the villain in Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990), and of course the slithering Senator Kinsey from Stargate SG-1 thus never buying you ever as a good guy. Then again I can buy Ned Beatty being a reporter who somehow disappears after Cap tricks the dimwit with one of the oldest tricks in the book (Oh and he uses that trick twice in this movie, WHY?!).
Regardless, Beatty jumps the boat of this film early on. So does Darren McGavin channeling his performance in from the Natural (1984). Ok seriously, how did all these nice supporting actors all get roped into this movie? I mean the Roger Corman's Fantastic Four (1994) has a bunch of nobodies in that. This film has Michael Nouri, Billy Mumy, and Melinda Dillion in it as well. I guess the allure of Captain America can get anyone into being in it (I mean the 70s TV movies somehow got CHRISTOPHER “MISTER VILLAIN” LEE as the main antagonist for the sequel).
Cap himself in this really isn't all that spectacular after those first twenty minutes. He just runs and hides when the bullets start flying when before he took bullets into his chest like a freaking bad ass. Heck, the dude even has a bullet proof shield and doesn't even use that to protect himself. I mean seriously this dude is a super soldier and yet displays none of the effects for the remainder of the movie. He just does things that anybody else could if they put on a goofy costume, hide and get their ass kicked. I mean come on! What happened to the kicking Nazi ass in the beginning? Don't go Reb Brown's Captain America on us!
there's the White Skull. I have to admit I bought all the beginning
stuff with the Red Skull in the beginning of this film and if he
looked like that for the rest of the film, it might have saved it,
but nope he drags the film to a whole new level of bad. Once he
evolves into White Skull the character just loses me and is a crime
against villainy. You don't tease us in the first twenty minutes of
awesomeness then give us the same actor in cheaper make-up. The
character's name is RED SKULL! How do you keep calling him that name
when he doesn't have a RED SKULL ANYMORE?! That's like having Doctor
Doom without his mask. *glares at 20th Century Fox's
Fantastic Four films*
Even more there's no pay off, no true final battle between the two. I almost expected Cap to friggin damage the Skull's face so he be sort of red again for the finale. Nope, I made the film more awesome in my head then it had any right to be. Shame on me. Instead, we get the two arch foes hiding, running, and one of them shooting at the other before a distraction of super dickery proportion ends the White Skull's villainy. Instead, the better villain death come's from when the Skull's daughter gets it. COME ON MOVIE?! WHY!? I mean sure the White Skull's daughter was sure more interesting then her father at this point in time with her super slow mo power. Also I have to admit in a side-note here, I always knew super models where actually sleeper agents for a new Nazi order. Thus explains a lot about Tyra Banks.
However, one thing that actually surprised me was some of the current stuff in Cap comics might have actually been a homage to this film. Seeing Cap in a WW II uniform and helmet I cannot help but think of the Ultimates. Even more with the Red Skull's daughter being his head lackey here that I wonder if that's why Brubaker brought the character, Sin, back in a tip of the hat to this film. Or perhaps I've grown more insane by watching this film. Yeah I think I have.
I cannot believe how much this film was a HUGE disappointment. We're going to be getting the fourth version of Cap and after watching this and remembering he 70s movies, I cannot help but wonder will they FINALLY get the character right? I mean how hard is it to not get this character right? Killing Nazis isn't a hard task. I mean the film I review next week, Inglorious Basterds (2009) pulled it off. How can Captain America be so gosh darn difficult? You just have an entire movie be set in World War II showing some of Cap's adventures, have Bucky. You have the Red Skull as the major villain with Baron Zemo filling the film as minor. You have Nazis getting their asses kicked and right there you got yourself an entertaining movie. The finale can have Cap being frozen, hint at Bucky being used by the Soviets as the Winter Soldier, and then end it with Cap being found in the modern day and bam end of movie. See, it's that simple to do a Cap movie.
Though I do have to wonder given recently the director of this very film, Albert Pyun, has joined this very forum apologizing for this film (which I find so damn ironic given the timing of this review and his appearance on the forums). Well I say to the director that I forgive him because he gave us Mean Guns (1997), one of my favorite action films from the 90s. Not to mention when this film is coupled with a certain Team America song for the briefest of seconds it turns this film into perfection (thus proving all a movie needs is a damn good music). Still, from what he posted in the thread of his intro at the Outhouse forums, there seems to be quite the story on why this film was such a mess. God I cannot wait to read that and curious just to see the...
Ok I couldn't resist doing that at least once in writing this review given I absolutely love watching that scene in the Cap movie with the out of nowhere Nazi surprise that nobody could see coming. Nor the fact that scene alone gives this film half point more than it should deserve just for the swerve. But yeah this Captain America movie is just a mess. But it's a watchable mess (unlike again the Reb Brown Cap movies) where one has to wonder “how did this film become just so very wrong?” This film has so many good supporting actors going for it and at first it appeared to be heading in the right direction before somehow someway something screwed this movie up. In any case, this movie will always be remembered as the Cap movie that could have been something and instead was just another failure in the long list of movie failures Marvel Comics had until Blade (1997).
1.5 out of 5
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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