D50 watches crap you’ve never heard of: Captain America II – Death Too Soon.

First of all, I would like to reassure you that I will be doing a review of Jill the Ripper starring Dolph Lundgren this weekend.  I actually watched it first, but the potential timing for THIS review couldn’t possibly be better.

For the longest time, Captain America was thought of as kind of a joke.  Among other comic superheroes, he was always pretty weak in comparison, with nothing more than a shield to set him apart.  This movie does nothing to change that image.

I was surprised to learn that this was NOT a crappy sequel to the 1990 Captain America movie.  It was a crappy sequel to an even earlier Captain America movie that I never watched.  I can’t imagine I’m missing much.

And FYI, the period in the title is supposed to be there.  This is Captain America II – Death Too Soon.

NES Mega Man has nothing on this.

NES Mega Man has nothing on this.

We start things off with our hero, Steve Rogers, working as what I assume is a caricaturist.

You're my first customer that isn't a guy wearing embarrassing shorts.

You’re my first customer that isn’t a guy wearing embarrassing shorts.

 

No one told me Aunt May was going to be in this flick.

No one told me Aunt May was going to be in this flick.

The old lady talks about how the neighborhood isn’t as safe as she’d like, and she’s too afraid to cash her own pension check.  Steve tells her to go ahead and cash it, and presumably everything will be alright.

Naturally, the old lady does so and immediately gets stalked by a group of stereotypical gang members.  Oh, the 70’s…

So yeah, A FUCKING GANG decides they have nothing better to do than to, well, gang up on an old lady and rob her.  Will that nice artist come and save her?

I call it the AmericaVan.

I call it the AmericaVan.

Steve pulls up in his van, then a motorcycle just pops out the back.  IT’S CAPTAIN AMERICA, PEOPLE!

Conflict escalation in action!

Conflict escalation in action!

To review, you get a gang to rob an old lady of her purse, and CAPTAIN AMERICA to deal with said purse snatchers.

So, Captain America pursues the purse snatcher via motorcycle, then corners him on foot.  He takes out his trusty shield and throws it… completely missing.  The bad guy thinks he’s safe, right?  Wrong.

Psst.  Behind you.

Psst. Behind you.

For some reason, Captain America has something against throwing his shield directly at people, preferring to miss them completely and hit them on the shield’s way back.  This takes an absurd amount of time.

Anyway, day isn’t saved yet.  That purse snatcher had fellow gang members, and Cap has to chase them down the beach to show off his motorcycle and whatever the hell it is they’re driving.

I don't even know WHAT you call this thing.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say that was a Fisher-Price Power Wheels.

I don’t even know WHAT you call this thing. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that was a Fisher-Price Power Wheels.

Oh wait, he decides not to use his motorcycle… he RUNS.  Well, at least this Captain America is already more super than the 1990 Captain America.

To review: Use a motorcycle to chase a running purse snatcher.  Run to chase someone on what I assume is a motor vehicle.  Captain America, you are some kind of genius.

Anyway, the day is saved.  Thank you, Captain America, for keeping our seniors safe.

Oh, we still have an hour and 20 minutes left in this film?  I thought the plot was wrapped up quite nicely, but… oh well.

Next plot point!  Someone important needs to talk with a scientist in the west coast.  In one of the dumbest things I’ve seen (and you have to know, I have seen a LOT of dumb things), they find that the door to the scientist’s lab is locked, so he tells a soldier to “blow the door.”  The soldier proceeds to press a few numbers on the lock’s keypad, causing the lock to BLOW UP.  Yes, apparently, rather than give security the code to open a door, they decide to give them the code to BLOW IT UP.

Anyway, they enter and find the scientist is gone.  But they find a clue.

We're lucky he took a shower before getting kidnapped.

We’re lucky he took a shower before getting kidnapped.

They find a piece of glass that he wrote on with a finger, and some chemical landed on it, fogging up all but the place he wrote on, leaving a message.  This is a convoluted and utterly pointless explanation, but whatever.  The important thing is the clue:  “MIGUEL.”

The immediate response: “Miguel?  The international terrorist?”  Okay, let’s ignore the unlikelihood of an international terrorist that only goes by “Miguel.”  Apparently, there aren’t enough people in the west coast named Miguel that they could immediately narrow it down to that specific Miguel.

THIS is Miguel.

THIS is Miguel.

We see Miguel wanting the scientist he abducted to work for him and making threats to make him more cooperative.  Y’know, standard villainy.  Cap gets sent off to do some investigation because… our regular non-serum detectives suck.

They track down Miguel to a small rural town, where Steve stakes out his next lead while posing as an artist.  A group of rednecks tell him to get out of town because they don’t trust outsiders.  When Steve doesn’t get the message, they step up their intimidation factor.

They ruined his painting.  Those monsters!

They ruined his painting. Those monsters!

 

Al Borland, how could you?

Al Borland, how could you?

But Cap doesn’t give up and continues asking questions, this time moving on to a single mother / farmer, and creepily asking her son if they can go on a horse ride together.  And then he shows up at their farm.  Forget suspicious villager activity for a sec… this guy needs to be locked up.

Anyway, some villagers show up with baseball bats saying they warned Steve that he needs to git.  They start wailing on him with the bats before Steve turns the tables and shows off some superhuman feats like leaping from the ground to the top of a roof and knocking down a support beam with one bat swing.  Still, this was like five guys with baseball bats, and our hero still got pretty damaged.  But hey, he won, and he also seems to have won over single farmer lady.

Very smooth, Cap.

Very smooth, Cap.

So he sticks around her place for a while and asks more questions about the town.  Suddenly, the kid cries out because he found a dead sheep (“Whitey”).

Look on the bright side.  We're having lamb chops for dinner.

Look on the bright side. We’re having lamb chops for dinner.

The kicker is that Whitey was only months old, yet he seemed to have died of old age.  The mother says it’s a different sheep, but the kid is adamant and points out an old injury on its leg.  Steve is suspicious, this time due to something relevant.

Apparently, the missing scientist was working on something that sped up the aging process considerably.  As in aging 30 days in one hour fast.  Well.  Guess we know what Miguel’s play is.

One of the neighboring farmers was working for Miguel and reported the nosy artist.  He has to be taken care of… by imprisoning him.  Miguel orders him to be killed instead, so he sends some thugs to finish him off.  But he’s escaped.  Apparently, he managed to leave through his cell window after someone bent the iron bars with his bare hands.  When the thugs get out of the prison, they see Captain America speeding off in his motorcycle.

“Captain America just broke Steve Rogers out of prison!”

I…

Okay, I can accept this.  Apparently, everyone has heard of Captain America, and Steve Rogers is his secret identity.  Simple enough.

“Everyone knows he can do anything with that motorcycle of his!”

That… that I just… No, that makes no sense.  Apparently, his motorcycle is more iconic than his shield, and driving really fast is just confounding to everyone.  But whatever.  Miguel has his posts chase Captain America, and no one connects the dots between Captain America’s appearance and the appearance of mysterious artist Steve Rogers, who can take on 5 armed men at once, has superhuman strength, and can leap a building in a single bound.

Captain America ran away... bravely ran away, away...

Captain America ran away… bravely ran away, away…

Captain America is chased to a dam that’s blocked off, so Cap manages to escape his pursuers by popping a wheelie, jumping a ramp, and having his motorcycle VEER HARD RIGHT IN MIDAIR… off the dam.

Not his best escape plan.

Not his best escape plan.

Cap gets away, and Steve shows back up at the farm and gets the mother and kid to help him track down Miguel’s hideout.  Meanwhile, Miguel steps up his plan by releasing the age-acceleration gas on a major American city: Portland, Oregon.  And he releases this gas via skywriter.

Yeah.  Well… points for originality.

All Miguel needs is a smile, smile smile from these happy friends of mine...

All Miguel needs is a smile, smile smile from these happy friends of mine…

From his earlier investigation, Steve learns the local vet isn’t a vet at all and is probably part of Miguel’s group.  Through a convoluted plan of calculating how much mileage the doc’s car gets and what materials get stuck on the doc’s tire treads, they calculate that Miguel’s hideout is in fact a newly-built state penitentiary.  Imagine that.

So… Cap decides to infiltrate the State Pen by motorcycle.  Yeah, I guess it was undamaged in the fall.

I think the medieval style gate was a bit overkill, but who am I to criticize the classics?

I think the medieval style gate was a bit overkill, but who am I to criticize the classics?

 

Honestly, I fail to see how this was anywhere close to a good idea.

Honestly, I fail to see how this was anywhere close to a good idea.

 

Because even Captain America can get lost.  Remember kids, maps are your friend!

Because even Captain America can get lost. Remember kids, maps are your friend!

After several minutes, Cap FINALLY encounters some resistance in the form of… dogs.

Nazis?  Not a problem.  Aliens?  Pushovers.  Dogs?  Shit just got real.

Nazis? Not a problem. Aliens? Pushovers. Dogs? Shit just got real.

After a glorious moment of animal cruelty, Cap finally encounters people with guns.  Sure, they just fire a single shot from their rifles at a time, then change positions for no reason, but at least it’s something.

When Cap realizes he needs to drive his motorcycle over a barricade, he shows off one of his lesser-known superpowers: Fucking physics.

That's... that's just impressive.  On multiple levels.

That’s… that’s just impressive. On multiple levels.

Less impressive but still mind-boggling is his motorcycles next transformation: Motorcycle Glider mode!

Now, we're ABSOLUTELY SURE we didn't outsource this to Japan, right?

Now, we’re ABSOLUTELY SURE we didn’t outsource this to Japan, right?

Cap finally catches up to Miguel, who actually has a weapon that can fire multiple rounds at a time.  Cap blocks it with his ridiculously stupid clear shield, then finishes Miguel off with his signature shield throw.

Dang.  I totally thought that would work.

Dang. I totally thought that would work.

…or not.

The fight turns into a hand-to-hand brawl in which Cap embarrassingly finds himself on the losing side for a brief moment.  Then he overpowers Miguel due to, y’know… super serum.  At least one would hope so… but then we see Miguel changing.

Once again, the day is saved!  Thanks to... FoxDie?

Once again, the day is saved! Thanks to… FoxDie?

Miguel somehow dies due to rapid aging.  I don’t recall seeing him exposed to the aging chemical, and I don’t quite understand why he would age several years in a few seconds, but… good for Cap.  you beat an old guy.  Wow, what a strange way to bookend this film.

So, before Steve leaves, he spends some time with the kid watching his mother ride  a horse and shows off his painting.  I guess the point is that everyone is happy now.  I assume Cap was able to retrieve the antidote sometime offscreen.

The end.

Overall, this operated like your typical A-Team style episode that was prevalent in the era.  You know, hero(es) enter a new town, encounter some trouble, get to know the townsfolk, then solve their problems with violence and leave.  The Incredible Hulk TV show was like that, and Banner was like a one-man A-Team.  Captain America seems to follow suit.  And funnily enough, this Cap and TV Hulk seem to be at around the same power level.  Sure, Cap doesn’t leave any Cap-shaped holes in anyone’s walls, but we know he can bend iron and casually break wood and jump really high.  Plus, Hulk doesn’t have an indestructible motorcycle.

Um… don’t really know how to end this review, really.  I want to say I was excited to see Connie Sellecca, who I became a fan of after watching Greatest American Hero.  Now that’s an example of what this could have been.  Cap even kinda looks like a buff William Katt.  But I didn’t even take any caps with Sellecca…  She was the scientist who tried to develop an antidote and figured out how the chemical works, but she couldn’t make the antidote and they had to resort to Cap getting the antidote from Miguel, pretty much making her character worthless.

Oh, the hell with it… I’m ending this post with the intro to Greatest American Hero.

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