In 1936 fascist Italy, the government kidnaps a boy from his family, whom they subsequently kill. The boy is needed for an experimental project to create a fascist supersoldier; however, Dr. Vaselli (Carla Cassola) objects to using the boy, and under the cover of gunfire flees to the United States of America to help create an American super soldier.
Seven years later, the American government finds a volunteer in Steve Rogers, a loyal all-American who is excluded from the draft because of his polio. The formula successfully transforms Rogers into a superhero, but before any more super soldiers can be created using the formula she keeps in her head, Dr. Vaselli is murdered by a Nazi spy. Meanwhile, the Italian boy has become the Red Skull and is planning to launch a missile at the White House. Rogers, code named Captain America, is sent in to defeat the Skull and deactivate the missile.
However, after an initial battle, the Red Skull defeats Captain America and ties him to the missile as it is about to launch. Captain America is able to grab a hold of the Red Skull, forcing him to cut off his own hand to avoid being launched into destruction with his “American brother”. While the missile is over Washington, D.C., a young boy named Thomas Kimball takes a photograph as Captain America forces the missile to change course and land somewhere in Alaska, where he remains frozen until 1990.
Kimball goes on to become an honest politician and Vietnam War hero until being elected the President of the United States of America. In 1993, a year into his term, he is pushing for pro-environmentalist legislation that is angering the military-industrial complex, who hold a secret conference in Italy that is led by the Red Skull.
After the War, the Red Skull had extensive plastic surgery done in a partially successful attempt to alter his disfigured features, raised a daughter, and became the leader of a powerful crime family. In the 1960s, this American military-industrial complex hired the Red Skull and his thugs to murder various Americans who were against their militarism and Red Skull’s fascism, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Now, Red Skull is targeting President Kimball for assassination.
Captain America’s frozen body is found in Alaska by researchers, and he awakens still thinking that it is the 1940s. After battling some of the Red Skull’s thugs, he brushes off Sam Kolawetz (Ned Beatty), a reporter and childhood friend of President Kimball, and hitchhikes his way back to his wartime girlfriend, Bernice (Kim Gillingham), in California.
While Bernice still lives at her old residence, she has long since married and raised her own daughter, Sharon, who subsequently gives Rogers a series of VHS history tapes so he can catch up on what happened while he was frozen in ice. Meanwhile, the Red Skull’s thugs, lead by his daughter, break into Bernice’s house and kill her. They also cause her husband to have a heart attack during their efforts to find where Captain America is hiding out. Rogers and Sharon visit the secret underground base where Rogers gained his superpowers in the hopes that Dr. Vaselli’s diary is still there and contains the original name of the Red Skull.
Although Rogers and Sharon find the diary, the Red Skull’s thugs attempt to grab it. Rogers and Sharon vow revenge as well as the rescue of the recently kidnapped president. They travel to Italy and locate the Red Skull’s home and an old recording of the murder of his parents. Sharon agrees to be kidnapped to allow Steve Rogers, who once again dons his costume, to enter the Red Skull’s castle.
In the midst of their battle, the Red Skull pulls out a remote trigger for an explosive device, but Captain America uses Sharon’s recording of the murder of the Red Skull’s family to distract him. While the Red Skull is lost in thought, Capt. America uses his shield to send the Red Skull off a cliff before the bomb can be set off. As the Red Skull’s daughter prepares to kill Captain America, she is then decapitated from behind by his returning shield.
The United States Marines show up to save the President and arrest the Americans involved in the kidnapping. The credits roll with a comic book image of Captain America in the background and a plea to support the United States Environmental Protection Act of 1990.
This is another of those films that I watched more because of my love of the character, and against my better judgement. Having said that, though, this wasn’t as utterly horrible as I expected, but it also wasn’t worth the paper the script was written on.
Filmed on a low-budget, Captain America was supposed to be the film to usher in superhero films. Unfortunately it failed, and failed big, partly because the audience and word wasn’t ready for the genre and second…this just isn’t that great of a film.
The good…for the most part, they do a good job of telling the origin of Captain America. Even though the uniform looks about as rubber as Batman’s suit from the movies, it still is brilliantly red, white, and blue. Cap’s iconic shield is present. Choosing Red Skull as the villain was really a no brainer, so they did a good job there. Action, what little there is, is pretty good.
The bad…I don’t care for any of the cast, especially Matt Salinger and Scott Paulin, who play Captain America and Red Skull, respectively. They just didn’t work for me, or sell their characters as well as they could/should have. A problem I had with Superman’s films is present here, too. There isn’t enough action for this to be a superhero film. It is way too much driving around and whatnot, but for me, if I’m watching an action/adventure flick, I expect to see some action. There also should have been more detail on the serum and stuff instead of just grab Steve out of California, inject him, and bam, he’s a supersoldier. The whole thing just happened to jump around way too much and lacked any kind of continuity.
Let’s no beat around the bush. The only reason anyone should even think about wasting their time on this is if you’re a fan of Captain America, but if you are a fan, chances are you’ll be offended by this, so you should stay away, too. There is a reason this hasn’t been released on DVD, too. They wouldn’t make any money! Look, if you want to see a Captain America flick, wait until July 2011 when The First Avenger: Captain America is released. No matter how bad or good it is, there is no possible way it can rival the level of suckage that this thing was. Having said all that, though, this wasn’t as terribly atrocious as I thought it would be. No, it’s not worth viewing, but if you’re looking for something late at night to pass the time (and make fun of), Captain America is for you.
2 out of 5 stars