Captain America (1990)
Plot: The terrorist known as Red Skull (Scott Paulin) plans to kidnap President Kimball (Ronny Cox) and put him under mind control. The only man who can stop him is Captain America (Matt Salinger), a soldier named Steve Rogers who’s been frozen since 1943 after battling Red Skull. Both men are the only known humans to have taken a formula that makes them almost super human.
When I saw Captain America, the first thing that came to mind was how excited it got me for the upcoming Captain America movie later this summer. You can tell this 1990 version didn’t have all the money in the world behind it, and it was kind of cheesy. But seeing this type of story be told in the “We take superhero movies really seriously and throw tons of money at them” era, it’s going to be bad ass. But let’s stick to this Captain America movie. I enjoyed it. I was shocked to see such putrid ratings for it on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. The dialogue is pretty bad because it’s so direct. You have generals basically saying, “He’s going to be a symbol for us.” And the music is just awful. It sounds like the level in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when Tails is flying Sonic in that plane. That’s fine for Sonic 2, but Captain America…Otherwise, I was entertained. The settings looked pretty grim and cool. It dives right into the action. We get some good Captain America shield moments, and aside from a handful of bad lines, there’s nothing too cringe worthy. Matt Salinger does a good job of making Steve Rogers likable and determined that you understand why he was chosen for the super formula. This is a passable attempt at Captain America. But I got to say, if I enjoyed this version, than I’m hoping to really be blown away by the new one.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Matt Salinger as Steve Rogers/Captain America
-He’s got the likability, intensity, determination, just a real solid choice. He practically carries the movie. The suit for Captain America is pretty silly, but he makes it passable. That’s really his most important job, was not making that suit look dumb.
Worst Performance: Kim Gillingham as Bernice “Bernie” Stewart
-She has one scene as Bernie, and it’s awful. She says “I love you” to Steve Rogers worse than someone would say “I love you” on a soap opera. It was horrific. Oddly enough, she returns later in the movie as Bernie’s daughter Sharon, where she’s fine. The Bernie performance could have been a director (Albert Pyun) blunder I guess.
Best Line: “Then come to me my brother. Let us see if this heart of yours is stronger than my hate.” –Red Skull
-This really sums up how Red Skull feels about his American equal. It’s a perfect line right before they face off one last time.
Worst Line: “I love you Beeeeeernie!” –Captain America right as he dives off the plane
-This reminds me of the classic Simpsons line “I regret nothing” right before some guy falls off a bridge. The difference is the Simpsons is comedy, this is not. Enough said.
-It’s definitely when Captain America and Red Skull go at it at the end of the movie on top of the castle. You get pretty much everything you want out of the fight; cool barrel rolls on the ground, awesome bullet shield deflections, jump kicking, and more. It’s a pretty good fight all around.
-Look, I get Captain America is strong, but when he’s tied to that rocket and kicks the wing, putting a few dents in it, will that really veer the missile so off course that it wouldn’t hit the white house. The rocket was right there, about to hit it, and then it just sky rockets in another direction, all the way too…Alaska? WTF.
-Although the better fight is at the end, the better scene in general is the first encounter of Captain America and Red Skull. Scott Paulin (Red Skull) overacts a bit here, but I really like the look of the scene. They fight in like a Nazi gymnasium with all the terrible symbols on the wall as the big rocket sits in the background. It really sets up the importance of the scene nicely as the two go at it for the first time. It’s also the only time you see Red Skull with his full fledged red skull face.
-Going back to that terrible Bernie line. It’s just this whole scene on the bridge as Rogers says goodbye to his girlfriend. I’m telling you, it’s worse than a bad soap opera scene.
-When the President gives Captain America his shield back, Captain America takes a time out to say, “Mr. President…Thanks!” And he puts his thumb up too. The enthusiasm on how he says it really got to me. It almost sounded like they were doing a PSA, but they were in the middle of fighting a crazy terrorist.
Bad Ass Moment:
-After Red Skull ties Captain America to the rocket, Captain America grabs onto his hand and eventually fakes him out, making him cut off his own hand. This was a good moment because I bought Rogers as Captain America here.