Archive for July, 2011

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Review: Captain America (1990)

July 25, 2011

(lots of aid from imdb.com)

It’s been a Pyun-ariffic week.

In preparation for Captain America (2011)*, SyFy decided to run Albert Pyun’s version of Cap last week – in what will probably be its only airing on cable for the next 20 years.  I’ve also seen Pyun’s “sequel” to The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982) called Tales of an Ancient Empire, which I want to review in a double-header manner next, since I love Sword to death.

The synopsis – Crippled (not just wimpy) Steve Rodgers (Matt Salinger) fights the Red Skull (Scott Paulin) during WWII, gets frozen, and revives to fight the Skull again in the 90s, this time to stop the Skull from kidnapping the President of the US.

Those who have seen the 2011 version have a good origin story to look to, so I won’t summarize the entire canon of Cap’s history.

Pyun has always had a hit or miss quality to his films.  For every Sword or Cyborg (1989) you have something like Arcade (1993). Good and bad (mostly bad) alternating.

In watching, I’m betting this was the biggest budget Pyun ever worked with, even with the budget problems IMDB alludes to.  Location shoots in Croatia and Slovenia?  Period cars and wardrobe? Assaults on Nazi strongholds (though filmed mostly in darkness, probably due to budget)? All awesome of course, but the story was the most lacking for me.

The writers for some weird reason made the Red Skull an Italian (probably for financing’s sake but WTF?)

The intro to Steve’s life before the Super Soldier Serum is handled pretty well, with a bit about how the serum can fix handicaps (I suppose the technology of the time prevented the wimp-turns-into-hunk aspect of the origin story). Cap does have a brief throwdown here with the Skull here, gets strapped to a rocket aimed at the 40s White House (diverted with Cap kicking the fin, no less!) and into the Arctic.  The “thaw” scene where he revives is pretty laughable, but at least this version attempted it on-camera.

We are also introduced to the President (Ronny Cox, in one of the few roles I can remember him being in that was sympathetic), who is so cool he wears jeans in the White House and wants to pass a lot of environmental bills.

The Red Skull is still around as well, just using a lot of foundation and a toupee in order to blend in better…

Anyway, Skull is now a crime kingpin, has to stop the President from signing a Green bill, Cap has to stop him, yada yada. Again nothing extremely memorable.

Other notable bits of the writing I thought were cool were:

– Ned Beatty, as a reporter sent to get Cap after-thaw, pick Cap up in a car.  Cap then starts looking around in the car, seeing former Axis powers build a ton of the stuff around him. A nice funny bit.

– A pretty nice exchange with the General who’ s in charge of Project: Rebirth in a plane. First time to my memory Cap appears in an Army helmet (most of the images Goggle found just now show Cap in the actual 40s comics in his usual uniform).

Not so cool:

Boy that uniform sure is smooth!

Cap’s home – couldn’t they have just SAID it was Brooklyn? The scene could’ve played out the same way…

All in all – don’t waste your time.

* Saw this too – go here for a good takedown of the movie.

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