Video | Review by Dan Taylor
PUNISHER, this feature film sat on the
shelf for a few years before being picked
up for video. (It was filmed in 1989 and
not released on tape until three years later.)
Though not as horrifyingly bad as you may've
been told, CAPTAIN AMERICA is a perplexing,
bewildering attempt to bring the red, white
& blue-clad hero to the silver screen.
I'll be totally honest with
you...I've never been a big fan of tha Captain.
In fact, his rampant patriotism and "gee
whiz" mannerisms were always a bit
too Supermanish for my tastes. I've always
preferred comic book heroes that busted
heads first and asked questions last (ala
Wild Dog). I guess the only time that I
followed the comic adventures of the Cap
was during the 1970s when the funky black
Falcon was his partner; you know, that whole
Shaft-with-wings thing. What's the point???
I don't know how much of this flick is faithful
to the comic origins of the character, and
I don't really care.
Oh yeah, the flick -- starting
off strongly enough, director Albert Pyun
(DANGEROUSLY CLOSE, RADIOACTIVE DREAMS)
whips us through the origins of Nazi super-fascist
Red Skull and his American "brother,"
Captain A. Directed and written with a heavy-handed,
ham-fisted approach, the opening 20 contain
the flick's most lively moments. Oozingly
evil Krauts and Wops, double-crossing Nazi
spies, secret passageways, cheesy rockets,
and that impeccable German fashion sense
give the start a period charm not unlike
the underrated ZONE TROOPERS. And then,
it all screeches to a sleep-inducing halt
as Captain America gets sent into cryogenic
suspension in Alaska (don't ask) and the
Red Skull tires of wearing that exhaustive
makeup and undergoes reconstructive surgery.
When the flick pops into the
present, what little drive and spunk it
had evaporates into thin air, leaving the
viewer with the equivalent of a run-of-the-mill
"terrorists have kidnapped the President"
TV-movie drivel (where's Bill Devane and
Susan Lucci?). Oddly enough, for a movie
titled CAPTAIN AMERICA, Matt Salinger spends
precious little time in the ridiculous CA
costume; at least Christopher Reeve spent
a healthy chunk of the Superman films wearing
the garb. Chasing (and being chased by)
bad guys around Italy, the script reduces
the character to a sixth-rate James Bond
clone with the grown-up daughter of his
old girlfriend as a sidekick / foil / accomplice...yawn.