DVD REVIEW: Captain America 1992
The Marvel Hero fights Italian Red Skull...
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Ah... the trainwreck that is the 1990's Captain America film. Long ridiculed for its cheesy humor, bad special effects, poor acting, and liberties with the iconic hero’s origin and story, bootlegs have been highly sought after for fans wanting to get a good laugh. Its reputation has given it an almost cult status and for good reason. The film was originally slated to be released theatrically in 1990, but due to delays resulting from budget concerns and poor screening tests, ended up direct-to-video over two years later. Up until this year’s awesome Captain America: The First Avenger, this was sadly the best Captain America film made. The Captain had three live-action appearances prior to this film’s release: The 1944 serial, Captain America (1979), and Captain America 2(1979). The film is now finally available on DVD as part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection and is manufactured on demand on DVD-R discs.
The film is directed by Albert Pyun who’s probably best known for directing the sci-fi classic Cyborg starring Jean Claude Van Damme and stars Matt Salinger as the red, white, and blue hero and who is, amazingly, the son of famed author J. D. Salinger. In this version of the story, Red Skull is a highly-intelligent Italian boy who is captured by Nazis and watches his family gunned down before his eyes before being subjected to a secret program designed to make soldiers of superior intelligence and strength. The doctor overseeing the program defects to the US and recreates and improves the serum that is then tested on Steve Rogers, who was denied admittance into the military due to polio. After becoming Captain America and facing off against the Red Skull, he is frozen in ice and revived in modern day. Red Skull has since had a daughter and forged a criminal empire while having plastic surgery in an attempt to hide his deformed face. When the President is kidnapped and the world is in danger once more, Captain America must once again pick up his shield to defeat his evil foe once and for all.
The film comes to DVD in what is claimed to be the “best print possible”, meaning the film has not been remastered or given any sort of upgrade from its original release. It seems like a missed opportunity with the new film being released, but it’s not surprising considering the quality if the rest of the DVD. The cover art is grainy and the text is bland. The disc is a plain red with generic type and the release features no bonus content or extras except a trailer. While it’s great to see this classic film available once more, it’s sad to see it given such poor treatment. Despite the film’s cheesy nature, this was my Captain America movie growing up as I’m sure it is for a lot of other people and it still remains enjoyable to watch, even when compared to its superior successor, much like the Dolph Lungren Punisher film stands on its own next to the Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson versions. Captain America 1992 is available now from MGM.
Review by Michael Klein