This DVD is offered as part of MGM’s “Limited Edition Collection,” which is available from select online retailers and manufactured only when the DVD is ordered. The DVD features a simple menu with no menu for chapters or scenes. Manufacture-On-Demand (MOD) DVDs are made to play in DVD playback units only and may not play in DVD recorders or PC drives. This DVD did not play in our laptop DVD drive but did play in our Toshiba DVD recorder.
ASPECT RATIO: 1.33:1 full frame
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer
During World War II, a science experiment turns a weak army recruit (Matt Salinger) into a super soldier. After being frozen in ice, the soldier reawakens, battles an old nemesis (and assorted Eurotrash), and takes on the mantle of the nation’s protector, Captain America.
Director: Albert Pyun
Screenplay: Stephen Tolkin
The Matt Salinger version of Captain America finally gets a DVD release. Produced in 1992 on a shoestring budget, this Menahem Golan production gives a fairly faithful rendition of the classic Marvel Comics character. It also boasts a stable of great character actors, including Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. Matt Salinger is a solid choice to carry the shield as the lead character.
Why, then, is this version of Captain America so widely disliked? The answer is obvious after watching a few minutes of the movie. The script is terrible, the direction is uninspired, and the low budget makes it impossible to give this film the epic scale it should have had. In comparison, the new version of Captain America does not make the same mistakes and is far superior.
The criticism of this film, however, is much too harsh. The film is not un-watchable. It has some heart, and many of the performances do work. Yes, it is odd that the Red Skull’s daughter and her group of Eurotrash thugs (who appear to be played by the cast of Jersey Shore) are the main threat here. They have a bad case of the 1980s and are downright laughable at times.
The battle between Captain America and the Red Skull in 1943, which occurs early in the film, is actually the best scene in the movie. A more competent director would have made better use of the fantastic set, which featured lots of Nazi signage and a large rocket. Here, some really cool shots of the two fighting against a large red Nazi banner lasts for only a second, when it could have been one of the film’s more iconic images. It is one of many wasted opportunities.
I actually liked Matt Salinger’s take on the Captain America role, and I wish he had more to work with here. As much as I have issues with this movie, there’s enough here to like to gloss over some of the problems. You can just laugh at the rest.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
This low budget film must have used really low-grade film, because the video transfer here is terrible for a 1990s era film. It is grainy, sports a lot of dust and debris, and seems washed out. It looks better than the previous VHS and TV transfers, but surely this film could look better. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, and is not bad when compared to the video. Sure, it does not give much of a surround effect, but it has good clarity.
A theatrical trailer is included.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
OVERALL GRADE: C+
A poor video transfer really hurts this release, but Captain America fans will want to give this another look and not judge it so harshly. It warrants a rent, but only the most devoted comic fans will want to actually buy this.
Captain America (1992) is now available from online retailers from MGM/Fox Home Video.