Compared are the Commentary Version and the Director's Cut (bpth available on the US 3-Disc-Set by Curnan Pictures)
Long before the Marvel hero in the funny blue/red costume appeared in the new version with Chris Evans - not to mention the all star vehicle The Avengers - on the big screen, there was another adaption of Captain America in theaters in 1990. The company 21st Century Film Corporation (involved with Menahem Golan / Cannon) was allowed to take a shot for a motion picture. At that time, the company was the rightholder of Spider-Man as well by the way - it's probably for the best that they lost the rights shortly afterwards without being able to make a Spider-Man movie...
Anyway, in this particular case, the movie was directed by Albert Pyun which apparently seemed to have similar consequences as his most famous movie Cyborg. After differences during the production process, the studio altered the movie quite heavily and the final cut didn't have much in common with Pyun's original version. Furthermore, the scheduled theatrical release was postponed several until the movie was released direct-to video in 1992.
And there's another similarity. Just like Cyborg, Pyun got a workprint of his "Director's Cut" and offered it on-demand so to speak on his homepage www.pyun.com. The release of the regular US-Version (= Original Version) was being handled in a similar way because MGM released it in September 2011 (Pyun wanted to sell his version before under any circumstances) as DVD-R. Unfortunately, the quality sucks.
The Commentary Version
AS mentioned before, the Director's Cut (differing from the Original Version) is only available on Pyun's homepage. The customer always receives a 3-Disc-Set whereas the 3rd disc contains a newer production of Pyun's company. Technicalla, the first 2 discs BOTH contain Pyun's favorite version (verifiable due to the alternate beginning and the flashback at the end) but there's still a difference of several minutes which is confusing. But don't worry, the following comparison will shed some light on it.
Disc 1 contains the unedited workprint with a director's commentary track instead of the regular audio track (there's a black screen for 4 minutes at the beginning which contains nothing but Pyun's voice). In this commentary, Pyun mentions his plans to edit this version for a future release on Blu-ray.
On Disc 2, this already seems to have happened which means it contains the actual Director's Cut: the image quality still sucks but it was at least improved a bit. As a result, some scenes look much better than they do on the first disc. The same goes for the introductory text box in the beginning. The two spelling mistakes from the Commentary Version on disc 1 have been corrected. A further introductory text is only available in this edited version. But more than that (and the actual reason for this comparison), there's an 11-minute-block of scenes in the middle of the movie which is missing in the Commentary Version on disc 1. This means, the entire footage exclusively in the Director's Cut is withheld because the differences in the beginning and end is nothing but recycled footage, as the comparison between the Original Version and the Director's Cut will show.
Due to the background information, the Commentary Version is kind of nice. But in the end, it's a waste of time because this version lacks the interesting footage in the middle of the movie. A commentary for the complete Director's Cut would have made much more sense.
Many thanks to the label Shamrock Media for providing the entire footage for the comparison.
Time index refers to
Commentary Version in NTSC / Director's Cut in NTSC
00:00-04:44 / 00:00-00:50
The Commentary Version starts with a long black screen during which Pyun says hello to the audience and elaborates some background information. He claims he'd been a huge fan of the comics back in days and he'd especially liked the fact that the time traveling caused problems for Steve Rogers. Then explains what he liked about the script: Captain America and Red Skull were being presented as brothers because they'd both been degraded to tools of the state and that they had to live with the consequences. Then he speaks about trouble during the shoot. He particularly complains about Cannon producer Marc S. Fisher. He also talks about Yugoslavia as location. Refering to the text box, he explains the main difference to his version was the stronger focus on the character development of Captain America and Red Skull which is also the explanation for their encounter in the beginning of the movie.
More about Pyun's Director's Cut alteration can be found in the seperate comparison between the Original Version and the Director's Cut.
Except for that, the Commentary Version follows the very same structure as the Director's Cut!
The Director's Cut starts immediately with the text box with the spelling mistakes being corrected. The words "The" and "reconstructed" were wrong.
Subsequently, an introductory text which is neither in the Commentary Version nor the regular US-Version follows.
Commentary Version 234.2 sec longer
57:28-57:32 / 53:34-64:46
After the shot of Valentina in the plane, an exterior shot of Steve's apartment follows in the Commentary Version. Then an interior shot of the apartment. He puts a tape in the recorder to watch it with Sara.
This sequence equals the one in the Original Version!
The Director's Cut lacks the mentioned exterior shot. As compensation, the Director's Cut contains an 11-minute-block of scenes which is missing in the Commentary Version for some reason. Basically, it's several sentimental scenes with Steve still feeling lost in the new timeline which is why he tries to find to himself.
Steve searches for Colonel Louis at an army base. Due to the woman at the info point, he's at the hospital for vets and that's where Steve's going.
The following conversation is about the sense of wars in general ("Now it's just a goddamn business!") and Col. Louis doesn't understand why Steve came to him at first.
A flashback of Steve in surgery follows. Here, the VERY SAME shots from the beginning of any version have been used; altered with a color filter. Anyway, young Col. Louis expresses critical comments regarding Steve's safety. He says he'd only be known as Captain from now on and adds Steve's safety needed to be kept a secret.
Back at the hospital, Col. Louis takes a trip down memory lane for a moment and Steve talks about how he failed his mission and that he didn't feel well as Captain America because of that. Then, Louis enters a trance again. When he's being addressed by Steve, he can't recall Captain America being right in front of him. Steve returns the newspaper and says bye.
Steve leaves, some shots of him walking around buried in thoughts follow.
Back at home, Steve watches an interview of the President on TV. This interview is made of recycled footage as well - on any version, this interview pops up approx. 30 minutes earlier.
Sarah arrives ans Steve claims to be looking for a job. Subsequently a shot of him working at their gym.
Steve is on the phone with Bernie. He gets to know that the Red Sox won the NFL Championship in 1944 and he jokes around that Bobby owed him some money. Bernie replies Bobby had died in Korea a long time ago.
Finally, a shot of Steve buried in thoughts, flipping through a book which contains newspaper articles about the assassination of JFK - among other things.
Director's Cut 668.3 sec (= 11:08 min) longer