Captain America
The words Captain America and a round shield against a black background
Promotional poster
Directed byAlbert Pyun
Screenplay byStephen Tolkin
Story by
  • Stephen Tolkin
  • Lawrence J. Block (aka Larry Block)
Based on
Produced byMenahem Golan
CinematographyPhilip Alan Waters
Edited byJon Poll
Music byBarry Goldberg
Distributed by
Release dates
  • December 14, 1990 (1990-12-14) (United Kingdom)
  • July 22, 1992 (1992-07-22) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[2][3]

Captain America (released in the Philippines as Bloodmatch)[4] is a 1990 American superhero film directed by Albert Pyun and written by Stephen Tolkin and Lawrence J. Block (aka Larry Block). The film is based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name. While the film takes several liberties with the comic's storyline, it features Steve Rogers becoming Captain America during World War II to battle the Red Skull, being frozen in ice, and subsequently being revived to save the President of the United States from a crime family that dislikes his environmentalist policies.[5]


In 1936, in Italy, the Fascist government kidnaps child prodigy Tadzio De Santis and uses him in a project to create a supersoldier. The procedure's inventor, Dr. Maria Vaselli, objects and defects to the United States.

Seven years later, the American government finds volunteer Steve Rogers, a frail polio survivor. The formula cures Rogers' ailments and gives him superior strength and endurance, but before more supersoldiers can be created, Vaselli is murdered by a Nazi spy working with Lieutenant Fleming. The now adult de Santis, with red-scarred skin from Vaselli's earlier procedure, has become the Red Skull, with physical prowess equal to Rogers, and plans an intercontinental ballistic missile strike at the White House. Rogers, code-named Captain America, is sent to neutralize the threat. He penetrates the Nazi launch compound, but the Red Skull ties him to the missile. Captain America grabs the Red Skull's arm, forcing him to cut off his own hand to escape being taken along. A young boy, Tom Kimball, photographs Captain America over Washington, D.C. kicking the missile off course to crash in Alaska, burying itself and Rogers under the ice.

In 1992, Tom Kimball is elected President of the United States. He pushes environmentalist legislation that angers the military-industrial complex headed by now-general Fleming. Fleming meets with the Red Skull and leaders of a global shadow organization. Since the war the Red Skull has raised a daughter, Valentina, and become the head of a powerful crime family who murdered Americans who were against militarism and fascism, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. The Red Skull notes the assassinations caused the public to posthumously venerate those people and instead orders Kimball's kidnapping and brainwashing.

Rogers' body is found frozen in ice. He revives and escapes, making international headlines and alerting both Kimball and the Red Skull. After escaping Red Skull's thugs, Rogers brushes off reporter and Kimball's childhood friend Sam Kolawetz, who has long hounded the Skull, and hitchhikes to his wartime girlfriend, Bernice, in California. She has long since married and raised her own daughter, Sharon, who helps Rogers catch up. Valentina and her thugs kill Bernice while looking for Rogers. Learning that Kimball has been kidnapped, Rogers and Sharon recover Vaselli's diary and learn Red Skull's original name. In the Red Skull's childhood home they find a tape recording of the murder of his family. Sharon gets herself kidnapped as a distraction to allow Rogers, who dons his costume, to enter the Red Skull's castle.

Kimball is rescued by Captain America, and they lay siege to the castle. Red Skull pulls out a remote trigger for a nuclear bomb, but Rogers distracts him with the recording of the De Santis family's murder. Before the Skull recovers, Rogers uses his shield to send him off a cliff, killing him, and as Valentina prepares to kill Rogers, she is hit by his returning shield. United States Marines arrive, save the President and arrest the kidnappers. Rogers and Sharon embrace, and a news voiceover announces Kimball's environmental pact as agreed upon by countries around the world.



The first feature-length production of Captain America for theatrical release had a long and tumultuous production history. The film rights were originally purchased by Universal Pictures, who planned a theatrical feature-length film starring Jeff Bridges as Captain America, and Peter Fonda as the Red Skull. The writer, Jeffery Sprouse, later revealed a script and pieces of concept art that also included Falcon, Baron Zemo or Helmut Zemo, and Bucky Barnes as characters, when he was interviewed about the project. The film ultimately never got made due to issues reacquiring the rights.[citation needed]

The rights were then sold to The Cannon Group founders Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus in 1984.[7] Initially Cannon regular Michael Winner (Death Wish 1–3) was attached to direct a script by James Silke.[7] However, in 1986, Winner scrapped the Silke script and recruited British television writer Stan Hey (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Dalziel and Pascoe). According to Hey, the film involved a stolen Statue of Liberty plot by an elderly Red Skull aided by a female death cult and Steve Rogers working as an artist.[8] Later, after some negative feedback for the Winner & Hey version, Winner started over, working alongside Stan Lee and Lawrence J. Block (aka Larry Block), with an advertisement released with their names listed.[7] By 1987 Winner was off the project and actor-director John Stockwell came aboard with a script by Stephen Tolkin.[7]

Golan left Cannon in 1989, and as part of a severance package he was given control of 21st Century Film Corporation and allowed to carry over the film rights to the Captain America character.[7] Director Albert Pyun, who had previously worked at Cannon, was brought on board and worked with the Tolkin script that originally started at Cannon.[7] In an interview with Cinefantastique, Tolkin explained some of the changes that he made from the original comic, including changing the appearance and character of the Red Skull: "I didn't think people wanted to keep looking at this horrible skull face forever".[9]

Principal photography began in 1989 and was completed in 1990. Entertainment Tonight also visited the set during making of the film, airing a segment in August 1989.[citation needed]


The film was intended for release in August 1990,[9] to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Captain America.[10] Several release dates were announced between Fall 1990 and Winter 1991,[11] but the film went unreleased for two years before debuting direct-to-video and on cable television in the United States in the summer of 1992.[12] In UK, 20/20 vision released the VHS in 1991 prior to its release in the United States.[13] The film was given a limited theatrical release internationally.[14] In the Philippines, the film was released as Bloodmatch on December 11, 1991 in a double feature with a Snoopy film; posters miscredit Jean-Claude Van Damme as the "martial art instructor".[4]

The film was invited to screen as part of the 2013 Comic-Con in San Diego in July 2013.[15]

The film also had its debut on Cinemax Asia.[16]


Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the studio cut of the film an approval rating of 12% based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 3.70/10. The consensus states: "Lacking a script, budget, direction, or star capable of doing justice to its source material, this Captain America should have been left under the ice."[17] Some reviews and publications stated that the film is not quite as bad as some reviewers had said and that the director's cut was better than the studio version.[18][19][20][21][22]

In one of the few contemporary reviews, Entertainment Weekly critic Frank Lovece wrote, "The movie isn't merely wrong for kids – it opens in pre-war Italy with a sequence in Italian with subtitles, and a machine-gun slaughter – it's just all wrong", and decried the "shapeless blob of a plot" in grading the film "F".[12] Variety called it "a strictly routine superhero outing" and "this fantasy adventure is missing the large-scale setpieces" that audiences have come to expect.[23]

IGN gave the two different reviews for each different versions, the unfavorable rating for MGM version and the average rating for the Collector's Edition version.[24][25] Cinelinx's Victor Medina rated the film B−, but rated the overall DVD grade C− because of the DVD video transfer and the lack of extras.[26]

In 2016, Flickering Myth's Neil Calloway said, "It's not a great film, and is really only of interest as a pre-MCU curio for hardcore Marvel fans."[27]

The film gained some cult followings.[28] Film Trap's Justin Decloux mentioned the film as the one of Albert Pyun films he has liked.[29] 411MANIA's Bryan Kristopowitz rated the film 10.0/10.0 as the B cult films review.[30]

Home media

The film was first released on VHS and LaserDisc[31] by 20/20 Vision (UK VHS) in 1991 and by Columbia TriStar Home Video (US VHS and LD) in 1992.

The film was released on DVD as part of the MGM limited edition made-on-demand series.[14]

A Blu-ray Disc of the film was released by Shout! Factory on May 21, 2013 as a Collector's Edition which features a widescreen HD presentation and brand new interviews with director Pyun and star Salinger.[32]

See also


  1. ^ "CAPTAIN AMERICA (PG)". Castle Premier Releasing, Ltd. British Board of Film Classification. 21 November 1990. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. ^ Thompson, Adam (18 June 2018). "The 'Captain America' You Probably Missed". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  3. ^ "Fantastic Four". Adam Cadre. Retrieved 2023-08-10.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Opening Today". Manila Standard. Kamahalan Publishing Corp. December 11, 1991. p. 19. Retrieved November 17, 2020. AFTER 3 years of shooting, the final and the best CAPTAIN AMERICA VERSION IS HERE... A FILM CELEBRATING 50 years of CAPTAIN AMERICA [-] FROM MENAHEM GOLAN PRODUCER OF SUPERMAN...
  5. ^ "Bullet Points: Captain America (1990)". BPA. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Make Mine Marvel: Matt Salinger Interview". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The "Never Got Made" Files #66: Cannon's CAPTAIN AMERICA (1984–87)". Video Junkie. 22 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Best Films Never Made #33: Michael Winner's Captain America". One Room With A View. 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  9. ^ a b Florence, Bill (July 1990). "Captain America - Scriptwriter Stephen Tolkin on the liberties taken adapting the Marvel Comic hero". Cinefantastique. 21 (1): 11. Captain America (Matt Salinger) rescues our kidnapped President (Ronny Cox). Columbia Pictures is now set to release the 21st Century Production in August.
  10. ^ Dutter, Barry (February 1990). Marvel Age #85. Marvel Comics. p. 11.
  11. ^ Lee, Stan. "Bullpen Bulletins: Stan's Soapbox," Marvel comics cover-dated May 1990.
  12. ^ a b Lovece, Frank. Captain America (1992) (review), Entertainment Weekly, July 31, 1992. WebCitation archive.
  13. ^ "Captain America (1990)". Video Collector.
  14. ^ a b "Captain America DVD Delayed, Cover Updated"
  15. ^ "Shout! Factory Announces SDCC 2013 Events | San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog". 8 July 2013. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  16. ^ "Captain America". Cinemax Asia. Archived from the original on 2013-05-26. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  17. ^ "Captain America (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2022-10-28.
  18. ^ "REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990)". Benspark.
  19. ^ The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Comic Book Icons And Hollywood Heroes. Visible Ink Press. 2004. p. 116. ISBN 1-57859-154-6.
  20. ^ "Captain America 1990 Retrospective". GeekVerse Podcast.
  22. ^ "Review: Captain America (1990) Extended Director's Cut". robotGEEK'S Cult Cinema.
  23. ^ Cohn, Lawrence (5 June 1992). "Captain America". Variety. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  24. ^ Cindy White (26 August 2011). "Captain America DVD Review". IGN.
  25. ^ Joey Esposito (30 May 2013). "Captain America: Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review". IGN.
  26. ^ Victor Medina (September 9, 2011). "Captain America (1992) DVD Review!". Cinelinx. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Neil Calloway (2016-04-24). "The Captain America Movie You Haven't Seen (And Probably Don't Want To)". Flickering Myth. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  28. ^ "How to thrill movie audiences with superhero action on the cheap". MarketWatch.
  29. ^ Justin Decloux (July 19, 2017). "Albert Pyun Is A Great Director". Film Trap.
  30. ^ Bryan Kristopowitz (July 12, 2017). "The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Captain America (1990)". 411 MANIA.
  31. ^ "LaserDisc Database – Captain America [77076]".
  32. ^ "Captain America (1990)".