Poster artwork by Neil Ryder.
We finally get to this infamous movie. In 1990, 21st Century Films released a Captain America movie. However, it's production is kind of murky. In 1984, Golan and Globus bought the rights to produce a Captain America movie. British actor, critic and director, Michael Winner was attached to direct with James Silke writing. In 1986, Winner was taken off the director's chair and moved to writing alongside Stan Lee. In 1987, Winner left the project all together. John Stockwell took over as director and Stephen Tolkin was bought in as director. However, in 1989, Golan left Canon to start his own production company, 21st Century Films, taking the Captain America license with him, Albert Pyun was bought on as director using the Stephen Tolkin script as a base. Filming began in 1989 and was released to a limited audience in December of 1990 and then as direct to video and cable in 1992 for the United States,
The movie takes a few liberal changes with the Cap status quo. The movie begins in 1936. The Fascist Italian government kidnap a boy by the name of Tadzio de Santis and kill his family. They aim to experiment on him and turn him into a Fascist super soldier. However, one of the doctors, Maria Vaselli objects to experimenting on children and escapes, defecting to the United States. Several years later, the US Government is planning it's own super soldier program and finds it's candidate in Steve Rogers, who was excluded from the draft due to polio. The government injects him with the serum and turns him into a super soldier. However, a Nazi spy interrupts and murders Dr. Vaselli. Meanwhile, Tadzio has been turned into the Red Skull and plans to launch a missile at the White House,
Steve becomes Captain America and is sent by the army to go stop the launch. After getting into a fight with Red Skull, he's defeated and tied to the rocket. As the rocket launches, Cap grabs Red Skull, forcing him to cut off his own hand to survive. The missile makes it's way to Washington, but Cap damages the missile, causing it to crash in Alaska, where he was frozen for 50 years, recovered in 1993.
In 1993, we find out that Kimball, a boy who saw Cap in 1943 has become president and is planning on passing a new environmental law that angers the Military Industrial complex. We also find out that Red Skull is alive, had plastic surgery and has a daughter, Valentina. We also learn that since the war, The Red Skull has been working for the Military-Industrial complex and has been assassinating people who went against it, like Martin Luther King, JFK and Robert Kennedy.
Cap is thawed out by a research team. Confused and thinking it's 1943, he escapes into the wilderness. He makes his way to California to meet his then girlfriend Bernice, who had married in the time since. She helps Steve acclimatise himself to the present day with the help of her daughter, Sharon, however Valentina murders Bernice and attacks her husband, giving him a heart attack. Steve and Sharon go the secret underground lab where he was created to find Vaselli's diary. They get everything they need on the Red Skull, but they lose Vaselli's Diary to Red Skull's thugs.
Cap and Sharon go to Italy to not only defeat the Red Skull, but also rescue President Kimball, who's been kidnapped by Red Skull and is scheduled for execution. Steve dons the costume and makes his assault on Red Skull's castle. During the battle, Red Skull plays his trump card, a Dirty Bomb that will kill everyone. However, Sharon plays back the almost 60 year recording of the murder of his parents. With the Red Skull distracted, Cap knocks him off the castle to his death. Valentina vows revenge, but is decapitated by the return throw from the shield. Kimball arrives on the castle battlements as the United States Marines flood in to clean up. The movie ends with a plea to support the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Matt Salinger definitely looked the part as Steve Rogers. The costume, while authentic seems to be made of rubber or latex, rather than spandex or cloth. The movie is bad overall, not horrible like the 1979 movie, but it definitely has that Canon Films cheese and cheapness that they're notorious for. The movie has been released on DVD.