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Captain America II: Death Too Soon

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  83m  •    •  Directed by: Ivan Nagy.  •  Starring: Reb Brown, Connie Sellecca, Len Birman, Christopher Lee, Katherine Justice, Christopher Cary, William Lucking, Stanley Kamel, Ken Swofford, Lana Wood, Arthur Rosenberg, William Mims, Alex Hyde-White.  •  Music by: Pete Carpenter, Mike Post.
       When Simon Mills is looking for a missing scientist, he believes that a revolutionary knows as Miguel has him. And that he is using him to get his formula for something that can accelerate the aging process. So he sends Steve Rogers aka Captain America to find him. His only lead is a chemical that the scientist needs for his formula. Steve follows it to small town. It's then that Steve notices some weird things going on.Some men tell Steve to leave town. It's also then that Miguel threatens to spray the chemical on a major city unless his demands are met. Which the President will not agree to.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:05
 
 

Review:

Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Image from: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
I managed to catch Captain America II on Sci-Fi a few years back and I couldn't help but feel that at some point during its making, the producers threw in the towel as far as trying to make the movie true to the original work, make sense, and be believable (even on a comic book level). I didn't see the entire film, but the final 40 minutes or so are wonderfully horrible and worth seeing, especially if you're feeling down on yourself and need to see other people failing more miserably than you. Because I didn't see the whole thing, I'll only go through and point out some of my favorite parts instead of reviewing the whole mess. There's no fair way to assess this piece of junk other than to say I couldn't make a better movie (unless I was given at least 45 minutes).

Somehow the 'plot' of the movie leads our hero to Christopher Lee's evil compound where he's holding the girl hostage, or has some death chemicals, or some secret something. Whatever. Steve Rogers needs to get in and he waits across the street in his van (which is like the van the A-Team uses, not a moving van, which would be more convenient for hauling a big motorcycle) for the better part of the day, timing the opening and closing of the gates with a wrist-watch chronograph. I guess digital watches were new-ish then and kind of a big deal, so they make sure we see that his is super-high-tech because it counts up from zero. Notice how he starts and stops the watch. He uses such fiercely exaggerated movements, you'd think he was fighting the spasms caused by the 'Rage' virus in 28 DAYS LATER. I can't remember how much time the doors typically stay open, but they must cycle long enough for Rogers to do the following:

--See the doors begin to open --Get out from behind the wheel to the back of the van --Completely change into his Capt. America costume while maneuvering around the motorcycle stored inside. --Starting the motorcycle and getting it revved up to the level that it creates enough exhaust smoke so as to look cool when he bursts through the rear doors (How did he reach the handle from the seat of the bike and still be able to exit IMMEDIATELY after the doors are open?) --Speed across the street --Avoid the cars exiting the compound --Make it through the gates with plenty of time to spare (or so it seems in slow motion)

Once inside the compound, which is comprised of about 10-20 different buildings, Capt. America races DIRECTLY to the building with the hostagepotionsecretwhatever. He's so confident he's in the right building, he rides the bike INSIDE and goes right to the office he needs to reach. Luck guess, Cap'n.

At some point, he and the bike get separated and he must descend a flight of stairs outside a building. Instead of bounding down the stairs at full speed to avoid the most inaccurate sniper fire from above, Capt. America comes to an almost dead stop so he can awkwardly slide down the metal railing all Tommy Tune-like. Personally, I think it's silly, but I'm not a superhero so I don't know the best, most heroic ways to cover 10-15 feet of stairs.

He gets back to his bike and gets lost in the compound. While he went directly where he wanted to go earlier, his exit strategy is lacking. He rides around and around and around before stopping dead (again) at an exterior wall. He has no escape. He's trapped. Or is he? Cap performs one of the most creative ways of getting around the nuisance of a 15 foot block wall by doing what anyone would do in that situation-THROWING the motorcycle up to the walkway at the top of the wall. Sure it's a riced-out J-bike, but it's still gotta be heavy. Conveniently, the bike lands on both tires and the kickstand equally. Then, before you can catch your breath from such a stupefying event (even for a made-for-network-TV movie), he leaps up and jumps to the bike, or at least the railing for the walkway, in one of the worst examples of a cut-awayvisible wire stuntreversed film sequence in post-Triassic Period history (Why didn't he jump over the railing directly to the bike? Right, because he had to jump off the railing backwards.).

Once on the walkway, he's gotta make an exit because Christopher Lee is escaping. Cap rides full speed to the end of the wall and before going over he hits a button that transforms his bike into a (possibly powered -' I can't remember) hang glider that he flies directly to Lee's hideout in the woods. It makes one wonder why he wasted half his day timing the front gates when he could have either thrown his bike over the wall, or, more easily, flown the bike in. Whatever.

There's a final confrontation between Cap and Lee in which Lee shoots at Cap, but the bullets are blocked by Caps trash can lid shield. Cap uses the shield to take Lee out, but instead of throwing it right at him, Cap throws the shield like a boomerang way, way, way, WAY up and around Lee. He wasn't even close. Lee's probably still got some bullets at this point, but rather than use them to gun down Capt. America, he takes the time to watch the shield (obviously on a wire being guided by a boom pole since it teeters like a quarter slowing down after spinning upright) slowly circle around until it makes contact and kills him. Someone touched on this in another review and correctly pointed out that the scenario could have been different if Lee had simply ducked, or had taken a step to one side or the other. Better luck next time, Mr. Lee.

There's some kind of resolution after that, but it's generally a happy ending and typically lame. If you ever get the chance to see it for yourself, be prepared to feel the urge to kick in your TV screen at least once in every scene because of the flawscheapnessbastardization of the original materialgeneral lameness of the whole production. However, if you like really bad, stupid movies, this is golden garbage for you.

One additional note: I don't read many comics, but I would imagine Captain America deserves more than being portrayed the way he is in not only the two TV movies, but the 1992 debacle, as well. While the '92 movie was supposed to be a major release, it has moronic scenes like the one with the Red Skull tying Cap to a missile fired from Europe to Washington D.C.. Cap rides the thing all the way across the Atlantic and waits until The White House is in sight (what?) before he decides to kick his heels against the tail ailerons of the missile, thus deflecting it and sending it toward the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, the rocket still has enough fuel left over to go a few thousand miles more to Alaska or some such area that can be inexpensively represented by shooting in Canada once Cap wakes up 50 years later, completely fine and not brain dead, kinda like a short-term John Lone in ICEMAN. Rubbish.


Review by smalone-1 from the Internet Movie Database.