Jump Cuts: “Captain America II: Death Too Soon”

“Jump Cuts” is a recurring feature idea for A.D.D. in which I reveal the thoughts that swirl through my head as I watch famous (or infamous) movies. This time it’s Captain America II: Death Too Soon, the small screen sequel to the TV movie of the same name. Yes, before there was that botched attempt at a feature film in 1990, there were two television movies in the late ’70s that tried to bring our star spangled superhero to living rooms nationwide with minimal success. This was back in the days when Spider-Man had a short-lived run on TV, Doctor Strange had a single movie and The Incredible Hulk actually ran for five seasons. Cap did not have more than two TV flicks in him at the time.

In this second installment, former Marine turned super soldier Steve Rogers (Reb Brown) has to track down Miguel (Christopher Lee), an international terrorist seeking to extort $2 billion from the U.S. government with the threat of unleashing a rapid aging gas on a large populace. Miguel has the perfect hideout and lab base: a federal penitentiary! How he managed to tale over the warden’s position there without anyone in power knowing is anybody’s guess. Then again, looking at our prison system today, maybe it’s not such a stretch.

Here are my random musings on Captain America II. These are the types of things that just pop out of my brain when I watch movies.

1. Captain America: Friend to cats, old ladies and cute equestrians.

2. Christopher Lee is always badass, with or without an automatic weapon.

3. While part two is not exactly sensational viewing, Cap shows up a lot more often in this version and kicks some ass. And escaping from an ambush by riding over the edge of the dam and into the rapids below is a great stunt.

4. I love how the evil henchmen immediately know who Captain America is, but there has been no exposition revealing that the public at large, or anybody at all, knows who he is.

5. That cornball brass theme is stuck in my head now. Oh wait, it reminds me of CHiPS.

6. I don’t see how Cap’s motorcycle can possibly fit inside his van and still allow him room to shoot out through the back doors.

Captain America verus forklift.
(Screen capture courtesy of TheHomeworld.Net.)

7. After flying out on his bike, Cap leaves his van behind. But the doors are open. What if someone finds it? Or steals it? Or…oh, never mind.

8. Cue Dr. Evil cackle: “Two billion dollars!” Hey, that actually was big money at the time.

9. Miguel: “He’s not a wandering artist, Stader! He’s too intelligent and too inquisitive for that!” Hey!

10. Those dock workers get knocked out too easily.

11. Ah, good old Connie Sellecca, the smart, pretty sidekick in the subsequent Greatest American Hero series. Luckily the testosterone level is actually tolerable for her here.

12. Captain America: Fighter. Biker. Handglider. Portrait artist.

13. While Reb Brown was certainly not a great actor, he had the all-American appeal needed for the role. But I imagine Cap’s creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were scratching their heads at the thought of Steve Rogers driving a groovy fan and chilling out as he explored the California coast. Stan Lee collected the consultant fee.

14. There are so many disposable supporting and minor characters in this movie it is not even funny. They literally get tossed aside once their basic usefulness is gone.

15. I love how the announcement of the villain’s escape is made public over the penitentiary PA. That’s genius. Really.

16. Back in the day, I wondered what would have happened if this had been turned into a series. Then again, maybe it’s just better to have wondered.

17. Brown and Lee appeared onscreen again in Howling II, and Brown also had a small role in the awesomely campy Sword and the Sorceror.

18. They got the costume right this time.

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