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Old 06-23-2009, 09:47 PM   #1
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Th Confused Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

So, after 19 years how does the original modern live action Cap flick hold up.


Good? Bad? Ugly?


Discuss!



I for one thought it was great as a kid and upon watching it now, I still like it pretty damn good!

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Old 06-24-2009, 11:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

That was not the original.

Reb Brown played him prior (Twice ?). Around the same time as Nick Hammond did Spider-man.


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Old 06-24-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Well,the TV movie doesn't count because if you want to be technical,there was some awful movie serials in the '40s.
I seem to remember that the '90 movie was actually going to be released in the theaters,i even remember seeing a movie poster featuring the shield,up in our local theater lobby. Starlog and Comic Scene had features on it. There was even a 2 minute Entertainment Tonight story on it and then.....nothing.
I was hard up for a Cap movie fix,so i always would rent that movie all the time. I probably haven't seen it in 15 years. I liked the final fistfight between him and Skull, I liked his suit,even though he was barely in it. I did not like his rubber ears or his frisbee shield. I remember being embarassed when my dad walked in on me watching it,because he laughed at it.
I didn't like Steve smoking early on in the movie,or that the Red Skull just looked like he had massive head trauma,or his jigsaw look later in the movie.
I didn't like him being lost after his one and only WWII mission..........all those things i hated,yet i rented that movie a ton. I must have been desperate for a Cap movie,because movies like Dick Tracy and The Rocketeer were also favorites at that time and those movies were soooo much better than that mess.

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Old 06-25-2009, 12:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I really enjoyed it as a kid, I rented it multiple times from the local video store.


I watched it more recently, and it's not as bad as I had expected. My complaint with Cap's costume is the eye-holes.... Looks like Droopy Dog.




Otherwise I really dug the suit. I liked the Red Skull's... well, his skull, but again disliked his look later in the picture. I also liked the Red Skull's origin.


I agree with what was said before, about him being lost after his first mission.

Another cool shot:



And the Marvel.com interview with Matt Salinger in case someone hasn't seen it. It's a few years old.
http://marvel.com/news/moviestories....nger_Interview

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

they probably had him lost after his 1st mission, due to time constraints in the film...

it's really a matter of getting as much story into a film's time frame as possible.

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Old 07-05-2009, 06:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Man, I need to see this.

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Old 07-05-2009, 11:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Worth seeing at least once. I downloaded it online @ Veoh TV. The Red Skull as an Italian was very bizarre and Cap's rubber ears and those ABS!..... but it's the best we have at the moment.

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Old 07-19-2009, 11:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I remember liking the suit, but not the movie. I'm so scared by what they are going to do to the suit in the new movie!

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

What are they going to do?

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Old 08-30-2009, 11:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

That was f*&%ing hilarious!

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Old 09-16-2009, 03:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I haven't seen it in years, Cap being lost after only one mission was an insult to the character. I thought Matt Salinger (in what he no doubt hoped would catapult him to stardom) gave a very sincere performance as Cap. The Red Skull looked cool when he was actually the Red Skull before getting that makeover.

I just hope they don't replace the red with burgundy for the new film.

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Old 09-20-2009, 04:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I'd argue that the movie would have been "decent" if they had a bigger budget. Replace the president's friend with S.H.I.I.E.L.D officials and whatnot. Also i guess Red Skull looked more like the actor later due to "screen time" bullcrap. @_@ Also scrap Captain America's new girlfriend and voilá. It's a 6/10 movie atleast by then! :P

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Old 03-24-2010, 06:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

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I haven't seen it in years, Cap being lost after only one mission was an insult to the character. I thought Matt Salinger (in what he no doubt hoped would catapult him to stardom) gave a very sincere performance as Cap.
Yeah he did his best. There are fairly recent (2000s) interviews with Matt (who was a working actor for a long time including Revenge of the Nerds) on the internet. The production was having major problems, which Salinger knew meant the movie probably would never get released (if even finished)

Interestingly Matt Salinger is writer JD Salinger's son. I thought he made an earnest Cap, like you thought. Maybe being part Jewish IRL put a little bit more punch on his action scenes with Red Skull lol

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Old 03-24-2010, 07:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Just look up and recent interviews with Albert Pyun. He pretty much says that they had there budget to shoot the opening of the film, and then after that it was all gone. For a guy with more credits then and other director in the buisness as long as he, he surely is the most unlucky filmmaker when it comes to whatever he his hired to do.

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Old 03-25-2010, 06:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Saying it's horrendous would be giving the film too much credit.

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Old 03-26-2010, 06:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

It's better than Punisher Warzone...not that it takes much...

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Old 03-28-2010, 10:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I remember reading feature articles about it in Comics Scene (wow, who remembers that magazine, a Starlog sister publication)....I remember finally seeing it on cable.. I felt it was pretty bad. Production problems notwithstanding, I just felt it was a bad adaptation. I remember being incensed at an interview with the screenwriter where the guy admitted that he wanted to keep Steve in that trenchcoat for most of the film, since the costume was "silly".. the decision to make Red Skull a kidnapped Italian teen classical-piano prodigy.. um, oh-kay..
Remaking Steve's hometown Redondo Beach california instead of NYC.. grr..
Ronnie Cox and Ned Beatty (both alumni of Deliverance) are basically wasted in this film..
The rubber ears showed a laziness on the part of the costumers..
For whatever its worth, I'm curious if it will finally show up on an official DVD.. I wonder if Disney owns the rights by default. They may bury it.. If not, possibly some third party like LionsGate may be willing to release it.

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Old 03-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #18
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Th Cool Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I remember watching it on laserdisk soon after it first released. It didn't hold my attention for long. I enjoyed watching the 70's TV movies more, but I'm not sure why.

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Old 04-03-2010, 01:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Quote:
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I remember watching it on laserdisk soon after it first released. It didn't hold my attention for long. I enjoyed watching the 70's TV movies more, but I'm not sure why.
same here.. they should put those out on dvd.. a double-sided single disc..

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Old 04-11-2010, 09:59 AM   #20
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

1990 movie > TV film.

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Old 04-11-2010, 10:40 AM   #21
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

I remember watching this as a kid and enjoying it but I have not seen it in years. I would probably think it sucks if I saw it now. Not much stuff you think was awesome when you were a kid are as good as when your an adult.

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Old 05-11-2010, 07:31 AM   #22
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Default Re: Thoughts on Captain America (1990)

Here's my review of Captain America:

AT LAST A motion picture which addresses the eternal question: if one is trapped in suspended animation for fifty years, is it okay upon leaving to forget your old, now aging girlfriend and take up with her daughter? The answer's yes, according to 1991's Captain America, a by-the-numbers superhero flick with just enough solid action to scrape by.

The American comicbook industry was at it's highest peak during World War II, when the simplistic heroics of Superman and Captain Marvel buyoed troops and taught kids the evils of racketeering and wife-beating. When the Nazis launched their offensive across Europe, Timely Comics creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were given a genuine villain for the forces of good to fight against; now they just needed a hero. So they took Old Glory, made it into human form, and created Captain America.

Of course, post-World War II, Cap lost his relevence. What was the point of a superhero whose war had been won? It was only in the 1960's that Stan Lee (of course) realised that itself was a hook, having Cap frozen in time and re-awaking into the sixties. Now the previously perfect Cap would face problems he couldn't fight by hurling his shield. What would a man of old-fashioned morals do in the political and social upheval of the 1960's?

This movie version wisely uses the man-out-of-time idea as it's central premise, merely altering Cap's journey from the 40's to the 90's instead. Lame soldier Steve Rogers volunteers for an experiment to create the US army's first super soldier ("He won't be Superman," notes the General) - and it's last. He is sent into Germany to battle the Red Skull, grotesque crimson personification of Nazi evil (changed to Italian here for still unknown reasons). The Skull takes him down with ease and straps him to a missile launched at the White House. Cap just manages to knock it off course, but ends up in the Antarctic, where he remains frozen for decades. He is re-awakened during the late eighties, to discover that his former sweetheart Bernice is now an old lady, and that the Red Skull survives and is plotting against the US President. Luckily he still has his powers, his costume, his shield and the help of Bernice's now adult daughter Sharon.

A confused movie to be sure, Captain America is part superhero adventure and part low-key european tourist board advertisment. After the obligatory superhero origin of the first act, we are treated to some dull exposition updating the story from the second world war to the present day. Then the film becomes something of an 80's James Bond movie, with our hero and damsel-in-distress being chased around scenic Italian locations by thugs with expensive suits and motorbikes. While it's not the worst material ever filmed, it's a strange diversion for a supehero movie, and it's certainly no For Your Eyes Only (1981). In fact it reminds one of Condorman (1981).

The script makes few changes to the Captain America mythos portrayed in comicbooks since 1941. The main alteration is an intresting one; the scientist who turns weakling Steve Rogers into mighty Captain America did the same work for the Nazis previously, and defected when she realised they were turning a young boy into the Red Skull. She thanks Rogers for allowing her to correct her mistake.

This is an effective streamlining of events, making the creation of Cap and the Skull more believable . The audience does not have to suspend disbelief for two superhumans origins, ala Spider-Man (2002), only one, used on two people. It also adds poignancy and emotion to an otherwise routine origin. We can see Cap and the Skull as brothers (the Skull actually calls them as such) and the doctor as their mother. There is great dramatic irony in the two - one wrapped in the red, white and blue, the other the personification of Nazi evil - being brothers. This element is not overplayed, simply used to enhance the narrative.

Director Albert Pyun uses an energetic yet detached and realistic style, similar to that of 007 director John Glen. Glen directed all the 1980's Bond movies including Octopussy (1983) and The Living Daylights (1987). Pyun seems disintrested in any scenes without action, and as a result the movie is unfocussed, drowsy and almost dreamlike in quality. In many shots it's almost unclear what the viewer's attention is supposed to be upon - surely not the incredibly basic character interactions? Surprisingly the patriotic angle is not overplayed. America during WWII is presented in cliched apple pie style, with good-ole-boy maustachioed army general. Cap is, of course, an action hero wrapped in Old Glory - and Pyun knows that is enough.

Kudos goes for the handling of the Red Skull. This may very well be the first superhero movie to portray a supervillain as tragic and engage the audiences sympathies. This leads to a effectively melancholy climax as the Skull plays his piano for the last time, reminding the viewer that he was once simply an innocent young boy.

The action sequences of Captain America somehow contain the problems of both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and Batman Begins (2005); many of them are simply too dark, and many of them are also cut too fast. The end result is numerous rapid shots in which the viewer can make out something in perhaps every third one. Cap's opening attack on the Red Skull's base in a perfect example; the audience simply cannot see where our hero is in relation to the villains, or where exactly the villains are. Then Cap blows up a truck - where did the truck come from? And so on. This approach spoils a similar brawl in an abandoned underground base. The film attempts tension by showing characters sneaking around in the dark. Problem is the audience doesn't know which characters they are, or how close they are to each other, until a punch is thrown.

However, it's not all bad. The saving grace of Captain America is the action sequences. You will get the rare chance of seeing a grown man throw a table at two women. Cap's (better lighted) opening battle with the Red Skull captures the epic drama of such an iconic confrontation, there's genuine excitement as they clash. Cap hurls his shield at the Skull, who catches it - uh oh - and hurls in into the concrete. Then the Skull leaps from the walkway he's poised on and mocks his foe as the red, white and blue hero rushes towards him. Even though the Skull seems a little too keen on the knee -to-the-stomach movie, it's a bruising smackdown and even the shot of Skull throwing Cap through the air works. Not only is this the best sequence in the film by a wide margin, it's amongst the most atmospheric in any comicbook adaption. It achieves a balance so many films of the genre fail at - the villain is a genuine threat to the hero, is better than him - but not so much better that they're not well-matched.

The two clash again during the finale, and throw more punches than the entire Rocky saga. There's a sense that Cap, still in his prime, fighting the Skull, now middle-aged, is less than fair - but who cares? And let's not forget, it's just good to see the superhero and supervillain having a prolonged battle. The rapid editing suddenly becomes very effective in two sequences of the Skull blasting machine gun fire at Cap, as shots of Cap racing to grab his shield for protection and the Skull letting loose are cut so far they are almost merged together. It's short, creative moments like this that elevate Captain America beyond it's reputation.

One of the major reasons for Captain America's obscurity is the lack of stars. The most well-known actor amongst the cast would be Ronny Cox, the evil head of OCP in RoboCop (1987). Then we have Ned Beatty, Otis from Superman (1978). Darren McGavin played the title role in X-Files-inspiring cult 70's TV show Kolchak: the Night Stalker. SKim Gillingham has been seen in both Friends and Seinfeld. Bill Mumy is mainly known for the sci-fi TV series' Lost in Space and Bayblon 5, and has also worked on The Flash, Superboy, Ultraman (!) and Batman: the Animated Series.

Dolph Lundgren, who had already played the Punisher, was reportedly lined up for the role of Captain America. He had everything except his nationality - Swedish - going for him. Ultimately, the role was given to Matt Salinger. To his credit, Salinger genuinely does seem to have stepped out of the 1940's, and maintains a boyish sense of wonder and quiet awe at everything that happens. However, this has to be put aside when playing a superhero, and especially a gung-ho, commanding superhero such as Captain America, and while effective enough, Salinger never quite convinces as the shield-slinger. He effectively gains the audiences sympathy but never has the presence required. All in all, this is a below average Captain America. You feel inclined to agree with the Red Skull when he shouts insults at him.

To phrase it differently, the manner in which Salinger plays Cap he does very well, he just chose the wrong manner.

The Skull however is a standout performance. A truly effective supervillain, he is both convincingly diabolical and believably human. Scott Paulin effortlessly commands every scene he appears in, with a majesty that would have done well to study as Doctor Doom.

It's hard to dislike Captain America. It's fuzzy, low-key and unfocused, the action scenes are sometimes impossible to understand, most of the the cast could have been people from the street, and the title character appears too little. But it has heart, it has costumes taken straight from the comicbooks, it has two great clashes between Cap and the Skull, and it has a commanding villain in Scott Paulin. The script is decent enough that a good director could have made a good film.

Although considered by many to be amongst the very worst the genre has to offer, it's certainly superior to the likes of Generation X (1996), The Guyver (1991), and Spawn (1997) - y'know, the really crap ones. Captain America does atleast capture a sliver of the mood of the 1960's Marvel comicbooks, the 'adventure first, melodrama second, logic a distant third' approach of Stan Lee's work.

Is it good? No. Is it fun? Occasionally. Imagine having a dream about the star-spangled shield-slinger, fighting low-key thugs in sunny Italy. And then waking up and only remembering vague images. That's the effect of Captain America.

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