This was going to be saved until next week, but having now watched it, this just needs to be reviewed on April Fool’s Day. The review content was written with the intention of posting on April 7, but given that the movie itself feels like an April Fool’s Day joke, I just couldn’t wait.
Cast and Crew Information
Reb Brown as Captain America / Steve Rogers
Len Birman as Dr. Simon Mills
Heather Menzies-Urich as Dr. Wendy Day
Steve Forrest as Lou Brackett
Written by Don Ingalls
Directed by Rod Holcomb
This is available on DVD packaged on a single disc with its sequel, Captain America II: Death Too Soon.
Steve Rogers, ex-marine and ex-motocross rider and current bodybuilder, returns from a tour of duty despite the complete and total lack of a war or any overseas military activity of any kind. Unsure of what to do with his life, he stumbles onto a series of coincidences closely tied into his past involving dangers posed by criminals with no motivation of any kind and his father’s secret research.
The part where he stopped the Nazi… no, wait, that didn’t happen. Right! The part where Captain America threw his shield… no, wait, that didn’t happen either. I know! The part where he punched a bad guy. Argh! That didn’t happen either. No, this is it! The part where Dr. Day was wearing a somewhat unflattering swimsuit. She still looked good in it. That was the best part!
All that stuff that wasn’t in the high point because it didn’t happen? The fact that none of it happened is the low point.
This gets some originality credit for creating a version of Captain America that is completely unrecognizable to fans of the original property. I give it 4 out of 6.
The effects are lousy, and there were barely any. These are virtually all physical effects and camera speed tricks, and they still look terrible. I give it 2 out of 6.
The story starts with some potential, but the villains are never given any motivations of any kind. The epilogue is eliminated as a possibility about half way through, logical leaps are taken frequently without basis, and characters act based on information that they do not have access to. I give it 2 out of 6.
The acting is quite horrible. Reb Brown looks the part of the post-injection Cap perfectly, but he doesn’t emote at all. Nobody else is impressive, but very few of them had anything in the script that would allow them to be impressive in the first place, so that’s a somewhat meaningless judgment. i give it 1 out of 6.
The production is good if you like car chases. In 100 minutes, we had four car chases totalling approximately 30 minutes of screen time. I give it 3 out of 6.
The emotional response was minimal. I’m not enough of a Captain America fan to be offended by this, but I can see why this pilot failed to produce a series when the others did. Even if you don’t know the comic, there’s nothing here to enjoy. I can’t wait to watch the sequel. I give it 2 out of 6.
Overall, this is a historical oddity, creating a version of Captain America that is unlikely to be remembered, even by those who watched it. That may be a psychological defense mechanism. I give it 2 out of 6.
In total, Captain America (1979) receives 16 out of 42.