Saturday, 30 April 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Captain America (1979)

It would be 35 years after the Republic Serial until we got a new Captain America movie. In 1979, CBS created a TV Movie of Captain America. It starred one of the biggest action heroes of the time, Reb Brown as Steve Rogers. The 100 minute movie aired January 19th 1979. It came out at a time when Superheroes were making their way onto the small screen. At the time, Amazing Spider-Man. Incredible Hulk and Dr. Strange had aired. These were born out of the previous successes of Richard Donner's Superman and The Six Million Dollar Man.

In this incarnation, Steve Rogers is more contemporary. He's a member of the Marine Corps, presumably fresh out of serving in Vietnam. His service is over and he's now wanting to make his living being an artist. During a visit to his friends, his panel van is run off the road. He finally meets with his friend, Dr. Len Mills, who informs him that his father was a 1940s agent, working for the government, where he created a steroid called FLAG, Full Latent Abilit Gain. It only works with the genes of the Rogers Family.

He leaves after refusing to become a test subject for FLAG. However, when the villain of the piece Brackett and his thugs kill Rogers, they have no choice when Mills revives him with the FLAG steroid, giving him new abilities. Brackett has also killed Rogers' friend Jeff, who holds a microfilm explaining how to build a neutron bomb. Steve takes up the mantle of Captain America to get revenge on Brackett for killing Jeff and get back the microfilm. Mills upgrades Steve's panel van to fit a motorcycle in the back and a hang glider. Brackett's plan is to nuke the city of Phoenix with the Neutron Bomb and then rob a gold depository for $1 billion in gold bullion. 

Steve is dropped onto the truck containing the bomb. There's no climactic battle with Brackett or stopping the truck. Instead, he simply bends one of the exhaust pipes and floods the trailer with fumes, rendering Brackett unconscious. The truck is stopped, Brackett is defeated and that's it, movie over.

Overall, this is one of the worst TV movies to come out in the 1970s superhero boom. It takes 45 minutes of a 100 minute movie to see Steve in the Cap suit, which is a motorcycle helmet and blue spandex suit. The shield is clear plastic as well. The Mike Carpenter soundtrack is very 70s and cliche. It has been released on DVD recently in both US and Europe, if anyone is interested in watching it.