While the comic book adaptations of Marvel Comics these are on average pretty good, this wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1980s the comics publisher sold off film rights to whomever could whip out their checkbook fast enough. In the case of the rights for Captain America, that checkbook wielder was 21st Century Film Corporation, who handed the project off to b-film director Albert Pyun. When a portion of financing fell through right before filming commenced in 1989, the result was, as you can see from the trailer below, something more akin to a low budget television show than a major theatrical film. A planned theatrical release date for the summer of 1990 was announced and then missed. The film finally escaped out on to home video in 1992 where it was quickly panned by fans.
Just in time for the release of Marvel Studios big budget Captain America film this summer, Pyun has announced that he will be releasing a “director’s cut” version of his film on blu-ray in May.
Why do we want or even need a director’s cut of the film? Well, according to what Pyun told io9, perhaps we’ve been judging the end result too harshly. The film had been edited by the producers and Pyun promises that this version will be based off of his original work print and temp sound mix which he describes as “more character-oriented and less ‘super hero action.” In total, this director’s cut will run 124 minutes verses the original release’s 97 minute running time.
Normally I would write this off as an attempt to polish a turd, but I have to admit to being a bit intrigued about what the end result could look like. As it stands now, Pyun’s Captain America is a muddled mess of a movie hamstrung by the cheapness of its big action set pieces and a muddled story. While nothing can be done to upgrade the production values, perhaps a re-edit can beef up story points and characterization. I think it’ll be interesting to see what can be salvaged of his original intent for the film.