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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > WWII > Science Fiction > Captain America (1990 (released 1992)/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)

Captain America (1990 (released 1992)/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)


Picture: C-     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Film: C-



PLEASE NOTE: This release is an online-only exclusive from MGM and can be purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach through the sidebar of this side.



Imagine if you are a multi-millionaire, have made B-movies for a long time and made a good amount of money on it.  You are far from the most respectable producer around, but you get to keep making films, even if most of them are bad.  Real bad.  You have been doing this with a partner for years, but finally, that partnership is slowly dissolving and it is even amazing it lasted as long as it did considering the lack of quality releases.


Now knowing you will be on your own, you continue your own mini-studio/production company and you are able to get the rights to two of the most successful comic book characters of all time: Spider-Man and Captain America.  You would think with them, you could launch a company that would debut big, get big and be a long-term success, but not if you are Cannon Films Producer Menahem Golan!  Your company 21st Century Pictures looses track of what to do with Spider-Man because you cannot afford special effects for webslinging and you make a horrible film out of Captain America that is finished in 1990, but does not arrive until 1992 and barely so, bombing and killing your fledgling company!


Playing more like a very bad variant of the already bad reactionary 1980s action films (at the start of a new decade?!?), Golan hired Albert Pyun to direct, a director who has been compared to Ed Wood!  Yes, he really is that bad.  Then Golan hired Matt Salinger to play the title character (son of writer J.D. Salinger, as if that was a qualifying reason to sign him; his acting debut was Revenge Of The Nerds) who does not even look like the character.  So maybe the sup[porting cast including Ronny Cox, Darren McGavin, Ned Beatty, Michael Nouri, Scott Paulin, Melinda Dillon, Francesca Neri and Bill Mumy could save this and at least make it fun?  Not with the idiotic screenplay by Stephen Tolkin (from a story he wrote with Lawrence J. Block) totally misunderstands the character.


At least the two Universal TV movies from the late 1970s with Reb Brown only tried to make Cap look like Evel Knievel and were dumb, but this film wants to be pro-environmental (failing to promote some bill that apparently was not ratified), yet pro-militant, yet fun and a feel-good film.  Borderline schizophrenic, the film is more than all over the place and then Cap cannot fight!  When he is being shot at, he forgets to use his shield more than a few times (!), a shield that is more like a boomerang?  Oh, and this version of the Cap outfit makes Salinger look more like he is ready to deliver bouquets for a national flower chain!


As I watched, I could see that one of the many problems with the new 2011 film was how much it went out of its way to either not be this film or outdo it, but more on that another time.  This is as bad as you have heard and continued Marvel Comics live action adaptation rut (save The Incredible Hulk TV series) until the first Blade arrived.  Seeing these actors wasted is a shame, but it bombed rightly and remains one of the all-time superhero feature film embarrassments.  Now you can see for yourself.


Now would someone just release the old 1966 cartoon series and 1944 Republic movie serial?


The 1.33 X 1 image transfer is easily the poorest MGM Limited Edition disc we have seen to date and that includes a few dozen releases, all with the same disclaimer that the print might not be in the best of shape.  What happened to the film?  Who knows.  This barely looks like the 35mm shoot it was.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is barely stereo, is also several generations down and was originally recorded and released in Dolby’s advanced Spectral Recording (SR) analog process.  The combination is very, very weak.  The only extra is an original theatrical trailer and that is more than expected.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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