The Curator of Schlock #126 by Jeff Shuster
Captain America II: Death Too Soon
How did they get Christopher Lee to star in a TV movie?
So it’s just one more week until Captain America: Civil War, one more week until the Capsicle gets the taste slapped out of his mouth by the Invincible Iron Man.
Let’s talk about their teams. On Iron Man’s side we have the Black Widow, the Iron Patriot (he’s like Iron Man, but his suit is red, white, and blue), Vision (the red robot), and Batman…or is it Catman…The Black Panther? I don’t know who that is. Yeah, I don’t read comics. I’m not a nerd! Anyway, on Captain America’s side, we have Falcon (the guy with the robot wings), Hawkeye (the guy with the bow and arrow who helped the aliens invade Earth in the first Avengers movie), the Winter Soldier (the main villain of the second Captain America movie, a mass murderer), and Ant-Man (an avowed Communist!). So Captain America is siding with super villains? I guess whatever it takes to win, huh Cap!
This week I’ll be reviewing the second Captain America movie from 1979, Captain America II: Death Too Soon. Reb Brown returns to the title role along with Len Birman as Dr. Simon Mills. What kind of name is Len? I don’t think I’ve ever heard that name before. It’s a German name meaning hardy lion, or lion-bold. Maybe it’s short for Leonard. I can’t help, but think the network brass was considering this one for a full season. After all, I think The Six Million Dollar Man started out as TV movies before going to series. Also, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman were popular, so adding another superhero series to the lineup must have seemed like a good idea.
Maybe the 80s brought an end to this type of series. Maybe Captain America II: Death Too Soon brought an end to this type of series.
Our movie begins with Steve Rogers painting a portrait of an elderly woman, obviously, in a park near Venice Beach. She informs him that a gang has been robbing the elderly pensioners in the neighborhood. They wait until each oldster cashes their check and then the hoodlums nab the loot. Well, Steve Rogers is having none of that and asks the old lady to cash her check right now. When one of the scuzzbuckets steals her purse, Captain America is in hot pursuit on his rad motorcycle. When he catches up to the thief, he pulls out his Wildey magnum and asks the scuzzbucket if he believes in Jesus before pulling the trigger.
Oh wait. That was Paul Kersey.
Meanwhile, an evil count/revolutionary/general/international terrorist named Miguel (Christopher Lee) has kidnapped a scientist who has invented a chemical that will make people grow old really fast. Like you’ll age a week in and hour or something to that effect. Miguel sprays Portland with the stuff and won’t release the antidote unless the United States government pays the ransom. Miguel and Captain America duke it out at the end of the movie. Miguel spills some of the aging potion on himself and dies of old age in a matter of seconds, getting tons of wrinkles and gray hairs in the process. I guess that counted out Christopher Lee as a recurring villain.
The two pilots, alas, never went to series.