I’ll admit it, I’m a huge Captain America fan. So after growing up seeing those terrible made-for-TV Cap movies from the late 70’s, it was nice to finally get a real Captain America movie in 1990. At long last, Shout! Factory has released Marvel’s campy classic for the first time (in high-definition) with Marvel’s Captain America: Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray. And while it’s campy and bad in so many ways – and pales in comparison with the more recent Captain America film starring Chris Evans – those are actually some of the things that make it so much fun.
The story begins with lowly Steve Rogers (played by Matt Salinger, son of author J.D. Salinger) signing up to undergo the super soldier experiment back in World War 2 as he’s too weak to enlist into the army. He becomes Captain America and battles against the Red Skull, who is actually an Italian guy this time around who was experimented on by Nazis (yeah, they kind of went off course here). After being strapped to a rocket that’s launched by the Red Skull and left for dead by being frozen, Cap is eventually found and revived in present time (or 1990) where he learns the Red Skull has also survived through the years and is once again trying to take over the world. So it’s up to Steve to once again don his shield and costume to take out Red Skull and his minions once and for all.
It was fun watching Captain America again on Blu-ray, despite all of the things wrong with the movie, such as bad fight choreography, Cap’s shield looking like a giant frisbee, a general lack of direction that’s scattered all over the place, cheesy bad guys and so-so acting (also watching this in high-definition really makes the fake ears on Cap’s costume stand out). It was also nice seeing great actors such as Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox and Darrin McGavin play in the movie as they try their best to play the cards they’re dealt in this camp-fest. Thanks to the power of Blu-ray, everything looks and sounds as good as it possibly can given the age of this film.
Sadly for a “Collector’s Edition”, the only extra feature here is a 20-minute interview with star Matt Salinger and director Albert Pyun titled “A Look Back at Captain America”. Here the two discuss some of the problems that plagued the production of the movie, such as wearing the costume in extremely hot weather conditions, having little time and funds to complete the film and more. I thought this extra was pretty cool, as it gives viewers more insight into why the movie didn’t fare so well, but it would’ve been nice to have a few other extras on here.
Despite all of its problems, Captain America: Collector’s Edition is fun look back in time where cheesy movies still had that certain “something” that made you keep watching, despite knowing how bad they were. It’s hard to believe there was a time when superhero movies like this were even released, but even with all its issues you can tell the cast and crew gave their all making the best Captain America movie they could with what they had. It doesn’t hold a candle to the newer film, but fans of the iconic superhero will enjoy the movie just to see their favorite character in action, while others who like campy fun are sure to find plenty to love here. Watching this back-to-back with Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher would be time well spent.
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