Captain America Image

Captain America

By Alan Ng | December 11, 2020

It’s easy to forget that there were movies based on the Captain America comics made decades before Marvel Studios’ version. In 1990 Albert Pyun directed Captain America, and it feels like it was made all those years ago. It even touches on a few of the issues a thawed super-soldier might face, like an aged girlfriend and misunderstanding of technology and recent history.

In 1936, as the Nazis were rising to power, the fascist government kidnaps a young prodigy, Tadzio de Santis (Massimiliano Massimi), and injects him with a super-serum giving him enhanced physical strength and heightened psychotic intelligence. The young boy becomes The Red Skull. Seeing the cruelty done with her work, Dr. Maria Vaselli (Carla Cassola) escapes the Nazi stronghold and instead uses her research to help the Allies.

“Cap is then strapped to a rocket headed for the White House.”

Seven years later, Vaselli perfects her experiment and turns the brave soldier Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger) into the super-soldier known as Captain America. Vaselli is assassinated, as there was a spy in their midst, and her work is lost forever. Assigned to the mission to stop The Red Skull, Captain America challenges him directly and is quickly defeated. Cap is then strapped to a rocket headed for the White House. He diverts the rocket and crashlands it in the Arctic, enshrining our hero in a frozen tomb.

Jump to 1990. Scientists find Captain America, bring him back to life, and use him to uncover The Red Skull’s sinister plot as he plans to kidnap and control the President of the United States.

With the basic plot out of the way, let’s talk about the 1990 Captain America. First, it’s the next evolution of filmmaker Albert Pyun, who, prior to this, released Alien from L.A. and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Both those films prove he could make a big sci-fi feature film and tell an exciting story at the same time. Now Pyun is entrusted with an actual piece of intellectual property in Marvel’s Captain America. The film tells his legendary tale from comics, recreates his iconic suit (in spandex), and even pays homage to his creator, Jack Kirby.

Captain America (1990)

Directed: Albert Pyun

Written: Stephen Tolkin, Lawrence J. Block

Starring: Matt Sallinger, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin, Michael Nouri, Scott Paulin, Melinda Dillon, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Captain America Image

"…a callback to my childhood buying Marvel Comics..."

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