Captain America/Captain America II: Death Too Soon

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Reb Brown as Captain America / Steve Rogers
Len Birman as Dr. Simon Mills
Heather Menzies-Urich as Dr. Wendy Day
Robin Mattson as Tina Hayden
Joseph Ruskin as Rudy Sandrini
Lance LeGault as Harley
Frank Marth as Charles Barber
Steve Forrest as Lou Brackett
Connie Sellecca as Dr. Wendy Day
Len Birman as Dr. Simon Mills
Christopher Lee as Miguel

Special Features:
None

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Running Time: 203 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Captain America – When former Marine Steve Rogers is in an accident, his only hope for recovery is an injection of the FLAG super-serum created years ago by his own father which enhances each of his senses, as well as gives him great strength and fast reflexes. And to help him bring his attackers to justice, a government agency outfits him with a motorcycle and powerful shield, then turns the newly formed Captain America loose on the nation s enemies.

Captain America II: Death Too Soon – Captain America returns to carry on the legacy of his father and defend the country this time, however, he faces off against the terrorist known only as Miguel and the threat of a chemical agent that rapidly ages those who come in contact with it.”

“Captain America” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
I actually remember watching these “Captain America” TV movies when they originally aired back in 1979. But unlike “The Amazing Spider-Man” or “The Incredible Hulk,” this show disappeared pretty quickly. Now revisiting it 32 years later, I can see why it didn’t last.

Make no mistake about it – these are really bad movies. First of all, there’s almost nothing resembling the comic here. Steve Rogers is now a former Marine and a surfer dude just driving around the California coast in his van doing sketches of people and riding his motorcycle. He’s a reluctant hero that doesn’t want powers and doesn’t want to work for the government. Then in the first “Captain America” movie, he doesn’t even show up in costume until near the end of the story. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that everything leading up to it is stupid, dull, or dull and stupid. I’m not quite sure how my 6-year-old self stood it. The cheesiness is all very reminiscent of a ’70s comic book. Throw in wooden acting, a silly plot, hokey bad guys, and poor pacing and you have a recipe for disaster.

But this DVD is interesting now for a few reasons. First of all, their take on Captain America is a reflection of the times. Evel Knievel was huge in the ’70s, so Cap naturally rode around on a motorcycle and had a helmet on as part of his costume. He also did a lot of stunts on his motorcycle which, even by today’s standards, are pretty cool. You don’t see too many stunts with live actors today and these shows were packed with them. It’s also quite interesting to see Christopher Lee as one of the bad guys. He had a career resurgence lately in “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars,” but you see him here doing his best to make the terrorist Miguel something more than a C-grade TV villain. Connie Sellecca also briefly appears as Dr. Wendy Day. She went on to have a bigger career and return in another superhero series, “The Greatest American Hero.” Finally, this show had a theme song that I actually remember 32 years later. I’m amazed that I still recall it while at the same time lamenting the fact that TV theme songs seem to be a lost art. There aren’t many of them that you can recall off the top of your head much less expect to remember in 30 years.

So while these movies are bad… really bad… I think if you’re a Captain America fan or a fan of Marvel movies and TV shows, then this is a DVD worth adding to your collection for the sheer history of it all. You can’t appreciate where Marvel is now without looking back at where they came from.

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