DVD Review: Original ‘Captain America’ Tries to Bank Off Reboot’s Success

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CHICAGO – You’re probably going “Huh? There was another Captain America movie? Before Chris Evans?” Believe it or not, yes. Before people like Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi turned the Marvel-verse (and really all of Hollywood) on its head by proving that superheroes could not only be profitable but critically viable as well, there were some honest train wrecks, including an incomplete version of “Fantastic Four” and an awful adaptation of “Captain America,” recently released on DVD to tie in with the success of “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Don’t get them confused.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 1.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0

Honestly, even looking at the case, much less seeing a minute of footage, clarifies the differences between the high-budget 2011 blockbuster and the 1990 movie that was supposed to be a summer movie tentpole but ended up going straight-to-video and was essentially forgotten by history. There’s a reason many of you probably didn’t know there was a pre-Evans “Captain America.” There’s little reason to see it beyond Marvel completists.

Directed by straight-to-video icon Albert Pyun (whose “bigger hits” include “Cyborg,” “Kickboxer 2: The Road Back,” and “Dollman”), “Captain America” is a B-movie in every way from its awful production values to a cast full of no-names.

Captain America was released on DVD on August 30th, 2011
Captain America was released on DVD on August 30th, 2011
Photo credit: MGM

Matt Salinger (son of the legendary J.D. and co-star in “Revenge of the Nerds”) plays the legendary Steve Rogers. Believe it or not, the villain is, like “The First Avenger,” The Red Skull (Scott Paulin). There are a few recognizable character actors in “Captain America” (Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin) but it’s one of those early ’90s VHS glories populated mostly by people who weren’t really seen again…for a good reason.

The story goes that “Captain America” was devastated by test marketing and reshoots. It was shelved for a few years and shuffled off to VHS, only to be dusted off by the Manufacturing On Demand program in 2011. In other words, you’ll have to order a copy to get one and it comes without special features. You might want to use a secret identity for this one.

“Captain America” stars Matt Salinger, Ronny Cox, Scott Paulin, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin, Michael Nouri, Kim Gillingham, Melinda Dillon, Bill Mumy, and Francesca Neri. It was released on DVD on August 30th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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