Heatseeker (1995, directed by Albert Pyun)

Directed and co-written by Albery Pyun, Heatseeker takes place in the near future, in the year 2019!  The world is a corrupt and dangerous place where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.  Corporations are as powerful as governments.  (Albert Pyun, prophet.)  Each corporation is represented by an MMA fighter because it’s not enough that a corporation provide a needed good or service.  Their fighters also have to be able to win tournament after tournament.

Chance O’Brien (Keith Cooke) is a world champion fighter who is unique because he fights without corporate sponsorship and he is also not a cyborg.  While every other fighter has been “enhanced,” O’Brien remains all-natural.  Evil CEO Tsui Tung (Norbert Weisser) wants to show off his newest fighter, Xao (Gary Daniels).  Tung arranges for Chance’s girlfriend and trainer to be kidnapped as a way to force O’Brien to travel to New Manila and take part in the ultimate fighting tournament.  Tung’s plan is for Xao to defeat Chance while the entire world is watching.  Chance just wants to rescue his girlfriend, even if she is now being forced to train Xao.

Heatseeker, I watched in memory of director Albert Pyun.  Pyun was the master when it came to movies about cyborgs entering MMA tournaments and Heatseeker is typical of his films.  The plot is incoherent but no one is watching for the plot.  The fights are the attraction and Pyun doesn’t waste too much time before getting into them.  Gary Daniels and Keith Cooke may not have been the best actors but they were pros when it came to fight scenes and they both give it their all as the work their way to their inevitable final confrontation.  Since all of the fighters, except for Chance, are also cyborgs, that means that each match ends with sparks and exposed stainless steel.

Pyun fans will get exactly what they want out of Heatseeker.  Along with the tournament, Heatseeker also features performance from Pyun regulars like Tim Thomerson and Thom Matthews.  One thing it does not do is feature anyone seeking heart but you can’t have everything.


Monday Live Tweet Alert: Join Us For Heatseeker and Face/Off!

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in hosting a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #MondayActionMovie, the film will be 1995’s Heatseeker!  Selected and hosted by @BunnyHero, Heatseeker was directed by the later Albert Pyun and yes, it does feature a cyborg! The movie starts at 8 pm et and it is available on YouTube.


Following #MondayActionMovie, Brad and Sierra will be hosting the #MondayMuggers live tweet.  Tonight’s movie, starting at 10 pm et, will be 1997’s Face/Off, the John Woo classic starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as rivals who switch faces!  Face/Off can be found on Prime!


It should make for a night of intense viewing and I invite all of you to join in.  If you want to join the live tweets, just hop onto twitter, start Heatseeker at 8 pm et, and use the #MondayActionMovie hashtag!  Then, at 10 pm et, switch over to prime, start Face/Off and use the #MondayMuggers hashtag!  The live tweet community is a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.  And reviews of these films will probably end up on this site at some point over the next few weeks. 


6 Classic Albert Pyun Trailers

Albert Pyun (1953 — 2022)

I just heard the sad news that director Albert Pyun has passed away at the age of 69.

In honor of Pyun’s career, it’s time for a special edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!  The six trailers below were all designed to promote films directed by the great Albert Pyun.

  1. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

Albert Pyun made his directorial debut with this film, which starred Richard Lynch.  The Sword and the Sorcerer was Pyun’s most financially successful film.

2. Dangerously Close (1986)

In 1986, Albert Pyun directed the teen vigilante classic, Dangerously Close.

3. Cyborg (1989)

Due to the presence of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the leading role, Cyborg remains one of Pyun’s best-known films.

4. Captain America (1990)

20 years before Kevin Feige and the MCU, Albert Pyun brought Captain America to the big screen!

5. Omega Doom (1996)

In 1996, Albert Pyun was responsible for this post-apocalyptic western, starring Rutger Hauer.

6. Tales of an Ancient Empire (2011)

Finally, in 2011, Pyun directed his long-awaited sequel to The Sword and the Sorcerer, Tales of An Ancient Empire.

Rest in Peace, Albert Pyun.

Albert Pyun Films That We Have Reviewed:

  1. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)
  2. Dangerously Close (1986)
  3. Cyborg (1989)
  4. Captain America (1990)
  5. Arcade (1993)
  6. Omega Doom (1996)
  7. Blast (1997)

Arcade (1993, directed by Albert Pyun)

Alex (Megan Ward) is a suburban teen still trying to come to terms with the suicide of her mother.  She and her friend, Nick (Peter Billingsley), spend all of their time hanging out at the local video arcade, Dante’s Inferno.  (Symbolic name alert!)  Also hanging out at Dante’s Inferno is a man (John de Lancie) who is desperate to find people willing to play what he says is the next step in the evolution of gaming.  The game, which is simply called “Arcade,” is a virtual reality simulator and soon, all the teens want to play it!

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Arcade.  It was partially programmed with the brain cells of a child who had been beaten to death by his mother.  Don’t ask why anyone thought this was a good idea because this is a Charles Band production so you know no one would explain even if they could.  The child wants either friends or revenge so, as a result, the game is stealing the souls of the people who play it and transporting them to the virtual reality world.

Realizing that all of her friends will soon be gone, Alex enters the virtual reality world to save them and thwart Arcade!  She’ll have to defeat skulls, serpents, and every other CGI challenge that the game can throw at her.

If you remember this film, it’s probably because you’re like me and you saw it on HBO when you were kid.  Though the film has an R-rating because of some awkwardly deployed bad language, the film really is a teen boy fantasy, one in which you can enter the world of your favorite video game and save the world with Megan Ward, a hot girl who loves video games just as much as you do.  When it was released, Arcade’s special effects were pretty impressive.  If you watch the movie today, it’s obvious that the actors have just been superimposed against a virtual background.  Watching the film today, I had the same feeling that I had when I recently hooked up my old Xbox 360 and played a few games.  It was more primitive than I remembered but that rush of nostalgia was enjoyable for a few hours..  Arcade features an energetic cast (including Seth Green and  AJ Langer in supporting roles) and Dante’s Inferno was the coolest arcade I’ve ever seen.  It was a hundred times better than the one from Joysicks.

One final note: If you needed any more evidence that Disney is evil, they actually sued Charles Band because they claimed Arcade was too similar to Tron!  As a result, Band, working with Peter Billingsley, actually had to redesign a good deal of the CGI before the film could be released.  Disney was right about Arcade being a goof on Tron but who cares?  I doubt anyone has ever said, “I’ve seen Arcade, I don’t need to see Tron.”  Chill out, Disney.  There’s room for at everyone at the arcade.


The TSL’s Grindhouse: Omega Doom (dir by Albert Pyun)

Omega Doom!  What’s all that about?

Seriously, don’t ask me.  I just watched this Albert Pyun-directed, 1996 sci-fi epic and I’m stil a bit confused as to what exactly was actually going on in the movie.  This is a movie that opens with a totally blank screen and then, eventually, two red suns appear in the sky.  The film takes place in the future, at a time when humans have nearly wiped themselves out of existence through their endless wars and the planet is now controlled by robots and cyborgs.  Omega Doom (Rutger Hauer) was a cyborg programmed to kill humans until he got shot in the head.  Apparently, taking a bullet to his cranium changed Omega’s programming and now….

Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it?  It’s kind of hard to say what exactly it is that Omega does now.  We do know that he spends a lot of time walking around because there’s a lot of scenes of him doing just that.  Eventually, he stumbles upon the ruins of a town that is now controlled by two warring bands of robots.  Before you can say Yojimbo or even A Fistful of Dollars, Omega is playing both sides against each other and …. well, I don’t know what the preferred outcome here is.  What is Omega Doom’s motivation?  He’s not making any money out of it because robots don’t need money and it’s not like there’s anything left to buy.  And he doesn’t seem to be interested in ruling the town himself because it’s kind of a dead end of a town.  I mean, there’s dead bodies and robotic parts all over the place.  It’s suggested that he might be looking for a secret stash of weapons that can be used to either kill or protect the remaining humans but, at the same time, we don’t ever really see any remaining humans and there’s no reason why Omega would care enough about them to get caught up in a war between robots on their behalf.

So, don’t ask me what’s going on.  I guess it really doesn’t matter because it’s not like you watch a film like this for the plot.  You watch it for the action!  Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of action to be found.  There’s a lot of scenes of robots talking about various exciting things that they could, in theory, be doing but no one ever seems to actually get around to doing any of that stuff.  Instead, all of the robots stay in their separate sections of the town and wait for everyone else to make the first movie.  Eventually, Omega makes a few moves but, even then, they’re not particularly exiting moves.  Omega carries a gigantic sword on his back and how I anticipated seeing what he was going to finally do with that sword.  Well, it turns out that Omega didn’t do very much with it at all.

Actually, the main reason you’re going to want to watch Omega Doom is because Rutger Hauer plays the title role and Hauer was always cool, even when he was appearing in a less than memorable film.  In Omega Doom, Hauer does a passable Clint Eastwood impersonation, delivering his lines with just the right amount of weary condescension.  Though you’re never quite sure why Omega is doing anything, Rutger Hauer is always watchable.

And, to be honest, I actually didn’t dislike Omega Doom as much as it may sound like I did.  It’s a slow movie and not much happens but, at the same time, I did like the look of the bombed-out city and, though the dialogue was largely forgettable, there was still the occasional line that suggested that Omega Doom had existential ambition, albeit unrealized ones.  “God took a vacation,” Omega says at one point and, for a split second, you get a hint of what Omega Doom could have been if it had a bigger budget and a better script.  It’s a film that had potential and it’s somewhat fascinating to consider how little of that potential was realized.

Of course, in the end, it all comes down to this: How can you possibly resist Rutger Hauer as a cyborg?

Music Video of the Day: Blood and Roses by The Smithereens (1986, directed by Albert Pyun?)

Blood and Roses was the lead single off of The Smithereens’s debut album, Especially For You.  In the U.S., it peaked at #14 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart.  That’s not bad for the first single from a debut album.

It was also the theme song for a teensploitation film called Dangerously Close.  Written by John Stockwell and directed by Albert Pyun, Dangerously Close is about a group of high school students who keep order in their school through fear and intimidation.  It’s meant to be a statement about fascism and out-of-control policing but mostly it’s just remembered for being the debut film of future Bond girl and Law & Order actress Carey Lowell.  Not surprisingly, the music video duplicates the film’s high school setting.

According to the imdb, this video was also directed by Pyun.  However, according to Wikipedia, the video for Blood and Roses features clips from the film, none of which are featured in the video that’s available on YouTube.  I’m going to guess that there were two versions of this video, one that just featured the band performing and another one that was done to promote Dangerously Close.  Did Pyun direct both of those videos?  I don’t know but for now, I’m going to assume that imdb is correct and that Pyun directed the video featured in this post.

Pat DiNizo, lead singer of the Smithereens, would later run for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey as the candidate of the Reform Party.  (Remember them?)  In the 2000 Senate election, he ran fourth with 0.4% of the vote.  That election was won by Jon Corzine.  Corzine later went on to serve as governor of New Jersey and did such a terrible job that he was defeated for reelection by Chris Christie.  Corzine was then appointed CEO of M.F. Global.  Under Corzine’s leadership, M.F. Global went bankrupt, investors lost over $1.2 billion in cash, and at least an extra two years were added to the Great Recession as a result.

In other words: you should have voted for DiNizo, New Jersey!


Cinemax Friday: Blast (1997, directed by Albert Pyun)

Blast opens with a title card telling us that what we’re about to see is based on a true story except that it’s not.  In the days leading up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the FBI thwarted many potential terrorist plots.  Only one of the plots was a domestic terror plot.  Blast is the story of what would have happened if that plot had not been disrupted.

(What about Eric Rudolph and the Olympic Park bombing?  That’s not mentioned, probably because this film went into production before the Atlanta Olympics actually began.)

Omodo (Andrew Divoff of Wishmaster fame) is a terrorist who does evil things because he’s evil.  He and his group have taken the American Olympic swim team and their coach, Diane Colton (Kimberly Warren), hostage in an Atlanta gym.  They’re demanding money and an opportunity to escape.  The police (led by Tim Thomerson) don’t know what to do.  The FBI (represented by Rutger Hauer with braided hair) are not much help either.  Fortunately, the gym’s janitor, Jack Bryant (Linden Ashby), is a former Olympic gymnast who is a master of Tae Kwon Do!  Jack also happens to be Diane’s ex-husband!

Blast comes from us the time when every action movie was a blatant rip-off of Die Hard and we were all cool with that because Die Hard was so awesome that it deserved to be remade a thousand times.  Blast is more of the usual.  Jack sneaks around the facility, defuses bombs, and picks the terrorists off.  Omodo kills two hostages in cold blood.  Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame plays one of the hostages but she doesn’t get many lines beyond, “Help us!”  Why does Rutger Hauer have his hair in braids?  Because he was Rutger Hauer and everyone was probably so happy to have him on set for a few hours that they were willing to let him do whatever he wanted to do with his hair.  Rutger Hauer only gets about five minutes of screentime but he makes the most of them.

Lindsen Ashby is convincing in the fight scenes but I think the movie would have been better if he had just been an ordinary janitor, instead of a Tae Kwon Do supstar who has fallen on hard times.  That would have added some suspense to the story because, as it is, Jack is so obviously superior to his opponents that there’s never really any question as to whether or not he’s going to succeed.  Andrew Divoff is a good actor but his villain isn’t given any good lines and the people working for him are all pretty bland.  One of the best things about the first three Die Hard films was that the villains were just as interesting as the hero but the same cannot be said for Blast.

Blast is forgettable but still, five minutes of Rutger Hauer is better than no Rutger Hauer at all.

Cyborg (1989, directed by Albert Pyun)

The time is the future and the world has seen better days.  As a result of solar flares and war, Earth has been reduced to a barren wasteland where only the strong survive.  Making things even worse is that a plague has broken out and is threatening to wipe out what remains of the world’s population.

A cyborg named Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon) has been sent to New York to retrieve the information on how to cure the plague from a computer system.  Now that she has the information, it’s all a matter of safely returning to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.  She’s being pursued by the evil Fender (Vincent Klyn), a pirate who says that he loves the new world and who wants to be the one to decide who does and who does not get the cure.  When a mercenary named Gibson (Jean-Claude Van Damme) offers to protect her on her journey back to Atlanta, Pearl declines.  She says that Gibson is not strong enough to defeat Fender and that she’ll take her chances with the pirates.  (Pragmatically, Pearl says that her allies in Atlanta can kill Fender themselves.)

However, Gibson is not willing to take no for an answer.  Gibson is less concerned with saving humanity and more concerned with avenging the death of his lover, who was murdered by Fender.  Working with Nady (Deborah Richter), another sole survivor of one of Fender’s massacres, Gibson sets out to track down and destroy the pirate.

When Cyborg started, I was really looking forward to watching Jean-Claude Van Damme play a cyborg but it turned out that Van Damme was playing a human.  I thought that Fender might be a cyborg but he’s also just a human.  There’s only one cyborg in this film and she’s often superfluous to the action.  I imagine that this movie was called Cyborg in order to capitalize on the popularity of movies like Terminator and Robocop but Cyborg actually has more in common with the Mad Max films.  Van Damme is a haunted loner, just like Max Rockatansky, while Fender and his crew feel as if they could have stepped out of the Road Warrior.  Even the lengthy scene where Gibson is crucified in the desert feels tailor-made for Mad Max and Mel Gibson’s habit of playing characters who undergo lengthy torture scenes.  (And is it coincidence that Mel Gibson and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s haunted hero both share the same last name?)

Jean-Claude Van Damme, with his pun-worthy name and his reputation for bad behavior off-screen, never got much respect but he was one of the best of the Arnold Schwarzenegger imitators of the 80s and 90s.  He was a genuine athlete and he was a far better actor than someone like Steven Seagal.  When Van Damme was under contract with Cannon Films, he was offered his choice of starring in three films: Delta Force 2, American Ninja 3, and Cyborg.  He chose Cyborg, playing a role that was originally envisioned for Chuck Norris.  As a film, Cyborg will never win any points for originality but the fight scenes are kinetic and exciting and, even more importantly, this is a movie that lets Van Damme be Van Damme.  There are no attempts at character development or any sort of self-aware winking at the audience.  Instead, Van Damme shows up and fights.  Matching Van Damme blow for blow is the imposing Vincent Klyn, whose opening monologue (“I like the death! I like the misery! I like this world!”) is a classic of its own.

Cyborg would be followed by two sequels, which were largely unrelated to the first film.  Jean-Claude Van Damme would not return for either of them.

A Movie A Day #320: Dangerously Close (1986, directed by Albert Pyun)

Vista Verde, an exclusive suburban high school in California, has a problem.  Some of the students have a bad attitude.  Some of them are experimenting with drugs.  Graffiti is showing up all over the school.  What better way to return peace to Vista Verde than for a bunch of WASPy rich kids and other jocks to organize into a secret vigilante force?  The headmaster thinks that it’s a great idea and soon “The Sentinels” are holding mock trials and shooting the other students with paintball guns.  One bad kid even turns up dead.  Graffiti is no joke.

The leader of the Sentinels is a rich kid named Randy (John Stockwell, who also co-wrote the script).  Randy knows the importance of good PR so he befriend the editor of the school newspaper, Donny (J. Eddie Peck).  Donny may not be rich but, because of his amazing journalism skills, he has been allowed to attend Vista Verde as a magnet student.  At first, Donny is skeptical of The Sentinels but he soon finds himself seduced by not only Randy’s wealthy lifestyle but also by Randy’s beautiful girlfriend (Carey Lowell).  Meanwhile, Donny’s friend Krooger (Bradford Bancroft) not only listens to punk music but also has a mohawk so he naturally becomes the latest target of the Sentinels.

A teen film with a conscience, Dangerously Close was one of the better films to come out of the Cannon Group in the mid-80s.  The script is smarter than the average 80s teen film and Albert Pyun’s slick direction captures the appeal of being young and rich in the suburbs.  Stockwell, Peck, and Lowell all give better than average performances  and there is actually some unexpected depth to Stockwell and Peck’s friendship.  Stockwell does not play Randy as just being a typical rich villain.  Instead, he is someone who thinks he’s doing the right thing even when he’s not.

The cast is full of faces that will be familiar to anyone who has ever been a fan of 80s high school films.  Keep an eye out for Thom Matthews, Don Michael Paul, Gerard Christopher, Miguel Nunez, Jr., and DeeDee Pfeiffer, all doing their part to keep the halls of Vista Verde safe.


Film Review: Captain America (1990, dir. Albert Pyun)


I don’t read comic books. I’m not a big fan of superhero movies. I’m not particularly a fan of the Marvel movies we have been getting. I couldn’t get my hands on the 70’s Captain America movies. Jedadiah had the nerve to write about the Turkish Captain America movie before I started writing on Through the Shattered Lens. I don’t really even recall much about the Chris Evans’ Captain America movies except he’s kind of lovable, but vapid. None of that matters. This is pure cheesy fun. The only real crime this movie commits is not having a budget. That, and I think they thought they were making a Bond film. Let’s dig in because to not talk about this film in detail would be an injustice.

This movie drops you right into something that just screams Captain America: 1936 Italy.


Get used to title cards. This movie has a bunch of them even when they aren’t necessary, or don’t make any sense. We are introduced to a child prodigy when the movie bothers to subtitle the actors speaking foreign languages so we can actually know what’s going on. I thought I had a dubbed version of this movie for awhile. In come the Nazis or Fascists and they take the kid and kill his family. A tape recorder is running during this because he was playing the piano. It winds up recording the murder of his family.

Now it’s off to Fortress Lorenzo. I know this because the title card tells me so.


We are here because we need to watch the bad guys looking at stock footage of a white rat. Then the grand reveal!


Okay, they are working with a low budget, but that is simply a rat they have turned into Red Skull Rat. We do actually get a real Red Skull (Scott Paulin) when they put the kid in what looks like an electric chair.


There’s a female scientist (Carla Cassola) here who doesn’t like what is being done to this kid and escapes as they zap him. What part is she going to play in this movie? Wait for it later. It’s kind of awesome and really stupid.

Now we cut to 7 Years Later, which means 1943 because again, title cards told me so. Two of them in case I can’t add and to make sure I know that 7 years have past for…um…reasons? Now we are at the White House, which is in Washington, D.C. Thank goodness for this title card. Otherwise, I might have been confused.


We find out that the scientist lady who escaped 7 years prior in 1936 Italy from Fortress Lorenzo perfected a process of taking a boy with birth defects and making him “as fast and as strong as an athlete” in America. Hitler already has Red Skull at this point. They plan to have a regiment of super soldiers and Steve Rogers has volunteered to be the first. You might be thinking right now that the few lines of dialog that were subtitled earlier mentioned how old the kid was so that adding 7 years would explain how Red Skull will appear as an adult. Of course not.

Now we go to Redondo Beach, California via another title card.


Meet 1990’s Captain America (Matt Salinger)!


I did not try to catch him with looks like that on his face. He does that all on his own throughout this movie. He limps around and says goodbye to the family and girlfriend. Now it’s off to a top secret diner with scientist lady. They get there one week later. I know this because another title card tells me so.


It would have been very confusing without it. At least I thought it was them. It turns out it’s a couple of military guys who proceed to go through a secret entrance in the cloakroom and down to an underground lab. Of course Senator Kirby is there.


Is that Jack Kirby? He really does call him Senator Kirby. He is also the only person he greets by name for no reason. They’ve kept all the details about this a secret between one guy and the lady because once they die, the movie can just randomly give Captain America his things without having to explain anything. How fast does that happen?

Zap him!


I love how during this they cut several times to parts of his body that don’t appear to change to show he is getting stronger. His vitals signs are stable. Thank God! Also, thank God for plot convenience because there’s a traitor in their midst you see. He immediately shoots and kills both the guy and the scientist before getting himself electrocuted. Captain America also takes a bullet to the chest.


Don’t worry about him. We now cut to him lying in a bed.


I can’t tell you how much time has passed, where this bed is located, or if this building is the White House or not because there wasn’t a title card to tell me so. Taking a bullet to the chest is really going to put the Captain down for awhile, right? I mean he’s not Superman or anything. They even said that earlier. That’s not a issue for 1990’s Captain America. He hears something about the bad guys having a launch site and he’s up and ready in the blink of an eye.


Then we cut to footage of a plane from so far back that we can’t tell it isn’t actually from 1943 or whenever it is now. He now has his uniform and his shield. The uniform is apparently fireproof and looks like it does because the scientist lady loved the red, white, and blue.


Captain America says that there’s something nobody has talked about. It’s that he would like some backup. Captain America wasn’t paying attention earlier. Since the traitor killed off the guy and scientist lady, he is the only one of his kind. Captain America jumps out of the plane and within seconds is spotted.


Then with probably the best special effects this movie has to offer, he throws the shield to knock down a guard tower. Cut to Red Skull who apparently is psychic because an alarm going off automatically means it’s Captain America.


Meanwhile, Captain America is outside probably wondering why it’s necessary for him to be wearing the uniform when there’s no fire around. That’s of course when he blows some stuff up to make his own fire before entering the launch site. He spots Red Skull, says “holy mackerel”, and greets him by throwing his shield at him. Red Skull catches it without any trouble.


He throws the shield into the ground. Red Skull proceeds to beat Captain America up and straps him to a rocket.


He mentions New York while he is strangling Captain America, but then tells him the rocket is going to the White House. Captain America grabs Red Skull’s hand to make him come along for the ride so Red Skull cuts off his own hand, and the missile launches. Now we cut to Washington, D.C. again.


I’m not sure where in Washington, D.C. though because the title card doesn’t tell me this time. It cuts to another building and then to what I think is a hotel room. There’s a kid there who is up at 4 A.M. because he wants to see the president since the title card said the set he is on is in Washington D.C. Mom puts him to bed and the kid makes a wish to be the president one day. The kid is having none of this. He gets up and grabs his decoder ring.


I’d make a joke about Ovaltine seeing as that is a Captain Midnight decoder ring, but something way better is about to happen. The kid now goes to that place we saw earlier and sees this through his camera.


Captain America sees the kid so he punches and kicks on the rocket till a wing breaks off. The rocket nearly hits the kid.


Then the rocket misses the building. That’s right. Captain America kicked and punched a rocket he was attached to and it changed its trajectory to miss the target. You won’t see Chris Evans do that in any Captain America movie. Probably because it’s bullshit. Anyhow, we now cutaway to somewhere in Alaska.


I’m not sure where in Alaska, but it certainly is “somewhere”. Wherever it is, the rocket crashes into the ground and there is a hand in a red glove sticking out of it now. I’m not sure rockets work that way so that missing the White House would place it in Alaska, but I’m no expert. However, I am an expert at reading title cards because I now know we are in Springfield, Ohio.


This is the house of the kid from earlier who is talking to his friend about what he saw. Thanks to him we find out that was the White House earlier. The movie also helps you to know that Captain America kicked off a wing from the rocket because if you blink during that scene you’ll miss it.


The kids decide they need to figure out who this guy on a rocket was. The blonde kid asks if he had a trident. The other kid says no, which means it wasn’t Sub-Mariner. The kid also rules out that it was the Human Torch because he would have blown up the rocket. Yes, the kids just ruled out that our current Captain America was strapped to the rocket. I would say that’s the coolest thing in this movie, but I’d be lying.

Now we fly through the decades to reach 1993. The kid grew up to be Ronny Cox who was elected as president in 1992. Ronny Cox is going to be leaving for Rome to try and negotiate a ban on “environmentally damaging industrial practices.” By that I mean he is going to Rome so that Red Skull can easily have him kidnapped.

We then cut to that place from earlier. There’s no title card, but thankfully it does look like the one that said the White House. Ronny Cox talks to a General Fleming who doesn’t like these new environmental guidelines President Ronny Cox has written up. He also isn’t happy that his leg lamp he had in A Christmas Story (1983) was broken because he’s played by Darren McGavin. Now we go to Fortress Lorenzo, Italy.


First necessary title card we’ve had in awhile seeing as the shot of this place was so dark earlier that it could have been anything. Not sure why we really need to know this is Fortress Lorenzo though seeing as they could have just used the same establishing shot and then cut to Red Skull inside or other established villains. Inside we find that Red Skull is a ventriloquist on top of being psychic because he doesn’t actually move his lips, but we hear his voice.


What’s that you say? He’s too far away in that screenshot to tell that his lips are closed? Don’t worry! His lips don’t move here either.


Finally, Red Skull decides it’s time to speak with his lips. This is when we find out that it was Red Skull that hired Sirhan Sirhan to kill Bobby Kennedy and Oswald to kill JFK. Also, it apparently cost over $22 million to kill Martin Luther King. Because doing these things were so tough and they didn’t get anything for it, he decides that instead of killing Ronny Cox, they should implant something into his brain to control him. Red Skull also isn’t so red anymore and has hair. He also wears gloves so we can’t see that he has both of his hands. I’m going to just stop calling him Red Skull at this point. He’s Red “Blofeld” Skull, or Redfeld for short.

Now we cut to Alaska.


It is the same shot from earlier, but minus the “somewhere in” and the blue tint. Some Germans from a West German Alaskan Field Station find Captain America. I know this because of an actual sign and not a title card. They brought him back in a block of ice where we get blurry shots, closeups of eyes, and ice falling on the ground. Captain America has broken right out of the ice and immediately leaves without saying a word.


Captain America doesn’t have time to talk. He only has an hour left in the movie and hasn’t even made it back to California before going on vacation in Italy. That is his shield he is holding. It was nice of Redfeld to strap his shield to the missile along with him. No really, he did strap Captain America to the rocket with his shield.

It’s off to the White House now. Ronny Cox looks at a paper filled with a lot of nonsense text that is repeated in several locations. There is also a picture taken by a scientist at the Alaskan station that he so did not take because we saw him take a picture of Captain America’s back and not a profile shot. None of that matters because as Ronny Cox is about to toss the paper onto a table, we see that 150 convicts have been released.


That must have been wonderful news for Menahem Golan who produced this movie. It meant there would be plenty of criminals on the street for Charles Bronson to shoot in Death Wish V (1994). Ronny immediately calls his old friend who now works for the Washington Dispatch, which was established in 1889. Again, I know this because an actual sign tells me. Don’t worry, the title cards come back. Ronny Cox’s old friend grew up to be Ned Beatty.


He is here because he already did Superman (1978) so he needed to balance that out with a Marvel movie. Beatty is off to find out what happened.

Then we go to Rome via a title card and are introduced to Redfeld’s daughter.


Why? Because Redfeld doesn’t do things himself anymore. He sends his daughter to deal with Captain America. How does that logic work? Redfeld couldn’t even keep his own hand against Captain America and he is a super soldier too. She’s not going to seduce him either. He is legitimately sending her to kill Captain America. Last time we saw Captain America he was in Alaska, but he has made his way to Northern Canada.


I love how it cuts to Captain America breathing heavily against a tree, to a chopper in the sky, and then to a newspaper being held by one of the bad girls that says “British Columbia Gazette”. Maybe because they realized that Northern Canada could mean he was over near Hudson Bay or that they thought their audience wouldn’t know where British Columbia was located. This did come out in 1990 (sort of) so I’m going with option number two.

The ladies immediately spot Captain America to which he gives us another great look.


Ned Beatty is also out here driving around because somehow! What follows is Captain America being chased through the forest by women on motorcycles. He throws and hits the daughter in her helmet before getting shot by her in the arm. That’s when Ned Beatty shows up because just roll with it. He asks Captain America who they were and he says Nazis.

Now we get what is probably the most ridiculous thing in the movie. As Ned Beatty talks to Captain America, he notices that Beatty has a tape recorder made in Japan and is driving a Volkswagen. Captain America isn’t looking so good here.


That’s when this happens.





Yep! Captain America just pretended to be car sick so he could steal Ned Beatty’s car. You won’t see Chris Evans do that. Most likely because Captain America isn’t supposed to be a car thief. I also love that it’s Ned Beatty in particular he leaves in the middle of the wilderness.

He keeps driving till he runs out of fuel, then gets into the back of a truck. The truck then drives by the camera with it’s back door open and ocean in the background, which means Captain America has reached California.


He also has a trench coat now and a bag conveniently big enough to hold his shield. He is very confused by this lady who probably was once an extra on Baywatch. He then finally finds his house from the beginning of the movie. A car pulls up in front of the place and this woman (Kim Gillingham) gets out.


That of course means it’s Captain America’s girl from the 1940s who looked like this.


He tries to grab her, she hits him in the head with her purse, and Captain America falls to the ground.


I guess he was crazy from the heat. Surprisingly, the credits say it is the same actress who played both roles. I don’t see it, but hair and makeup can do some amazing things. What did she have in her purse anyways that knocked him down so easily? We get a little reintroduction here between Captain America and his girlfriend in old lady makeup who is the mother of the blonde named Sharon.

Then we go back to Fortress Lorenzo where honestly Redfeld’s daughter appears to use the fact that Ned Beatty is a Pulitzer prize winning reporter as a reason that she couldn’t capture Captain America. I guess that means if Roger Ebert had been out there, then he would have also gotten Captain America to safety because he once won a Pulitzer prize. He also would have gotten his car stolen. She’s also convinced that the reporter can lead them to Captain America.

A few things happen now, but it just means that everyone knows where Captain America is now. What’s really important is that Captain America is now learning how to work a VCR.


You can see that Redfeld’s daughter wasted no time whatsoever because she has already bugged the place and is listening in from the top of the frame.

I think you know what happens now. Ned Beatty shows up and dies. Captain America’s old flame dies. Her husband winds up in the hospital. Captain America and Sharon escape Redfeld’s daughter’s wrath. During this scene we also find out that scientist lady kept a diary because Captain America needs to know Redfeld’s real name. Oh, and while they don’t show it. It appears that Redfeld’s daughter electrocuted the old girlfriend to death offscreen. She doesn’t mess around. Neither does Captain America at the end of this movie. That’s another part that’s awesome about this film. The president has also been kidnapped by 20 heavily armed men. I don’t believe that. Redfeld only uses the baddest of the bad 1980s girls that money can buy.

Things have really gotten serious, but I’ll pare you the details.


He goes to the previously secret diner, into the ladies room, knocks down a wall, and descends into the secret room. He finds the diary before having to defend himself from bad guys. Captain America really has two modes of fighting in this movie: ninja mode and street brawler mode. Either way, he wins through the power of wildly confusing editing. He wins, and it’s off to Italy with Sharon. Can you guess what happens next?






Captain America again pretends he needs to puke, then takes the car to leave Sharon behind. This time it’s even better than before. The reason is because in about 1 minute of runtime she catches up to him making that taking the car scene pointless. They are at some people’s house who give them the tape recorder from the beginning of the film, they get it fixed, and they are off to have lunch so they can be attacked.


Captain America runs away and discovers the two dumbest kids in Italy who don’t know to move when two people are running towards them with a car speeding behind the two people running towards them. Flip, confusing editing, Captain America pays for a bike, and they take that bike immediately off a cliff because it has no brakes. Captain America has no problem stealing cars, but he pays for bicycles.


During all of this action one of the ladies dropped her purse with a picture of Redfeld inside, the weather magically changes to rain, and then they start driving to Fortress Lorenzo where the weather is just fine again. The bad guys are in pursuit. Do I need to show what happens next? Nah, she gets out, spots the bad guys, runs back to the car, and drives it away to draw the bad guys away from Captain America who she has now ditched. That appears to be the running gag in this movie. She is captured and held separately in the fortress with Ronny Cox. Captain America now dons the uniform once more and somehow climbs up on this ledge.


You know the drill. Sharon and Ronny Cox escape on their own. Along with Captain America and crazy editing, they force Redfeld to a cliff where he apparently keeps his piano for some reason.


Redfeld is going to set off a bomb so Captain America pulls out the tape recorder to remind him of the child he once was. Redfeld’s daughter also shoots Captain America in the arm again here. It’s a very touching moment as he remembers, his daughter looks on, and he looks off the cliff realizing what a monster he has become. However, he still wants to set off the bomb to destroy them both so Captain America throws his shield and knocks him off the cliff.


I love how it looks like you can see someone dressed like Redfeld’s daughter push the dummy of Redfeld off the cliff.


Redfeld’s daughter picks up a gun to shoot Captain America. Captain America’s shield is still in the air and on its way back to him. He tells her “heads up”, we hear it hit her, and he catches it. We never see her body or the shield connect with her head. Captain America just severed Redfeld’s daughter’s head with his shield. I can’t think of any other explanation.

With the bad guys defeated, Captain America looks off towards the sky for some reason.


Then he appears in full uniform and transforms into his comic book character.


But there’s one final piece of information we need to know. The nations agree to an environmental protection treaty. Ronny Cox says to remember those who have “sacrificed all to make our world a better place to live.” And “to Captain America, we are all back in the fight.” They even ask you in the credits to support The Environmental Protection Act of 1990.


There is one more thing to mention here.


This movie was an American and Yugoslavian co-production. That wasn’t unusual. Jadran Film worked on many co-productions. They would fall from being a powerhouse when Yugoslavia broke up. Yugoslavia was breaking up into separate states right around 1990. That means as Yugoslavia was about to break into separate states, they co-produced a movie about one of the most nationalist and patriotic superheroes in the world.

My final thoughts on this movie are to go enjoy the new Captain America movie, then come back and have some fun with this one. At the very least, it will make you appreciate that we are getting Marvel movies now that have proper budgets, good actors, and crews that put in an effort into making the films. 1990’s Captain America approves!