No, not Captain America: The First Avenger. This is Captain America, the movie starring J.D. Salinger’s son, produced by the infamous Menahem Golan and directed by the even more infamous Albert Pyun. Yes, somehow this movie has gotten a Blu-Ray release and it… is… glorious.
Not because it’s any good, mind you. There’s a reason this movie, which was supposed to come out in 1990 in theaters to celebrate Cap’s fiftieth anniversary, didn’t arrive on US shores until 1992, and directly to video. The trailer explains it better than I could:
Still, it’s worth seeking out, not least because it’s one of the single funniest things you will ever see, albeit for completely accidental reasons. Since it’s made on a shoestring, the effects are, well, about what you’d expect; the rich taste of cheese will fill your mouth every time Matt Salinger mimes throwing his plastic shield, only to cut to a shield on a string knocking over a model. Or, for that matter, when you see the fake ears glued to the side of his mask.
Adding to the fun/problems is the fact that pretty much everybody in this movie is miscast. Matt Salinger, son of J.D. Salinger, just doesn’t work as a hero, although to his credit he’s got a real sense of humor about the role. Ronny Cox, better known as the bad guy in RoboCop and Total Recall, seems to believe he was hired to play Jimmy Carter, only wimpier. This extends to the entire movie; Albert Pyun is infamous for his total lack of pacing and editing best defined as butchery, and this movie is arguably his anti-masterpiece in that respect.
Still, nearly twenty-five years later, it’s hard not to be charmed, somewhat, by the proceedings. The movie is ridiculous, but in its own way, it becomes a lot of fun to watch; as bad as this movie is, you get the sense that at least some of the personnel, Salinger in particular, really loved the character and that shines through. In the end, it’s no worse than other takes on superheroes throughout the years, and hey, at least they tried, which is more than we can say for some superhero movies. And there are worse ways to spend ten bucks, so if you like cheese, keep an eye on the bargain bins.