Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Halloween: Toy Review – Predator 2 Lost Predator By NECA

Predator 2 is an interesting and brave movie. It takes a lot of the things that were so interesting about the original film – the jungle, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura – and excises them completely. Instead we have downtown LA, Danny Glover, and Gary Busey. Concrete instead of trees, wise experience instead of young power, and… well, a different kind of bugfuck crazy.
It was still an awesome movie and still a great use of the concept of the Predator creature. I think it’s worth mentioning that while the titular creatures from the Alien franchise have been dubbed “xenomorphs” (from a line in Aliens) the Predators have no such fancy-pants name. And it kind of bothers me. Of course, you can also consider that fact that the Alien and Predator franchises were never even intended to mesh and that comparisons between the two are utterly artificial and speculative. It just worked out that Dark Horse Comics came up with a great idea that led to some movies that… well, they happened.

I have no idea what the deal is with these “Lost Tribe” Predators that just came out. I just know that they look cool and have some nice color variations. I think maybe they are the ones from the end of Predators 2. You know, the ones from the big dance scene.
What? What do you mean there’s no dance scene?
Oh, really, Sassafras? Then what the fuck is this?:


That’s right – you just got served. By Predators. And Danny Glover.
First Glance: I’m not going to knock McFarlane’s Predator figures because they are truly amazing toys. But they all kind of looked the same. NECA is tackling a lot of different versions of the creatures and some are startlingly fresh and unique. This guy has a green coloration that makes him stand out among his brethren, which is the main reason I bought him. I already am somewhat predisposed to green, but it is Lil’ Troublemaker’s favorite color, so I really like it when I can bring something home and go, “Look – it’s a green one.”
Oh, and initially this guy looks like one of the very best Predators I’ve seen.
Articulation: There is a lot of articulation here. Not the most of any Predator figure, but a lot.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – ball joint
Waist – ball joint
Hips – ball joint
Thighs – swivel
Knees – double pivot
Ankles – ball joint
There’s not a whole lot this guy isn’t going to be able to do. All of the joints move freely and easily. Like the Stealth Predator, this figure’s dreadlocks are a soft and sturdy plastic that moves easily and does not interfere with the head movement.
I’m not sure how useful the double-jointed knees are. I’m always pleased to have a wider range of motion on a joint, but the ankles – though ball-jointed – don’t have a deep enough pivot for the figure to squat. He can do a Crane Kick, though.
I think I am starting to prefer ball-jointed waists to the waist swivel combined with the abdominal pivot. You have almost the same mobility without the unsightly abdomen joint. No matter how well done that cut in the abdomen is, it still looks ugly. The best ones I’ve seen are the ones that sort of use the ribs for the joint (like the McFarlane Predators) but even those are a bit of an eyesore. It’s one thing to have elbow, hip, and knee joints. Not only do those blend better with the body’s form, they aren’t right in the center of the figure.
Sculpt: The first thing I’m going to mention is how glad I am that the netting is sculpted onto the body. The figure already has a ton of wonderful texturing in the way of skin and folds and musculature, but that layer of netting just adds so much more.
The head is outstanding. There was a time when I would have complained about the lack of mask, but I am actually glad NECA is choosing to do masked and unmasked heads. It allows for so much more character with each Predator when they don’t have to try and fit a mask over the face. That being said, it would be awesome if each one came with two heads – one masked, one not – but I totally understand why they don’t. I already mentioned the pliable dreadlocks on this guy. Each one is individual and has its own detailing. The face is the best one I’ve seen at this scale. As good as McFarlane’s Predator figures were, their faces were a little… action figurey. This guy looks like a monster. Every detail of that hideous face is carved out. The eyes are full of rage, the face fingers or mandibles or whatever are totally disturbing and the mouth underneath is a nightmare.
This interstellar hunter does not have the bladed gauntlet on his right hand that many of the Predators do, but I like that. Instead he has a matching pair of tech gauntlets that give him a bit more balance. I do like a bit of asymmetry in things, but it is cool to have balance from time to time as well. That seems to be a thing with this guy, as he has neither the blade gauntlet nor the shoulder-mounted laser cannon.
He has a spread right hand and an open fist for his left. The fingers are detailed very nicely, with wrinkles and folds running down to the clawed tips.
One thing I like about NECA’s Predators is that the musculature is slightly less defined than McFarlane’s. Like the face son those, the bodies came off as very toy-like. They were too sculpted an defined. These from NECA look more organic and lifelike.
The calves sport pieces or armor that, like the forearms, are balanced but not exactly the same. The feet are large, clawed, and detailed.
Every bit of this figure is covered with sculpted detail. There really isn’t a surface that hasn’t been given some kind of shape or form.
Coloring: The paint applications on this guy are no less amazing than the sculpt. I am truly astonished at what NECA’s design team has accomplished. The fine details and the precision involved is just mind-blowing.
The skin of the creature is perhaps the most impressive thing. The blending of the green and the lighter tones is just wonderful. I’ve seen less skilled work on life-sized pieces.
The face is covered in little details; from aforementioned blending of the skin tones to the beady, little eyes and the mouth phalanges. Even the interior of the mouth features some paint work. I am glad they resisted the temptation to put any kind of wash on the dreadlocks. To me those have always been pitch black – more like insect hairs than mammal ones.
The claws and netting are some of the finest details. The claws are pretty easy, I guess, but the netting – I looked this figure over for quite some time and couldn’t find a flaw in the paint on the netting. Not even one slightly off-center line. It’s amazing.
Flair: The Lost Predator has a good bit in the way of sculpted extras. His chest armor is a unique piece that is more balanced than what we are used to seeing on these guys. It goes across the upper chest and features a number of bits of technology that are sculpted and painted. It fits snugly and is the sort of piece that you have to look at to realize it is separate from the figure’s torso. 
It has some detailed armor plating on the back, as well.
He also has a belt and a loin cloth. The loin cloth looks like a sort of leather and fits loosely but stays in place well. It is molded to the figure’s hips so it doesn’t look odd or hang incorrectly. The belt is just a bunch of pieces of stuff with a loop on the left side to store the included machete. I’m not sure how else to describe it. It, too is molded to the figure and sits perfectly. The loop has a nice, wide sculpt and looks better than if it were just an extra piece of the belt. Both pieces could be mistaken for being part of the figure when seen from a distance.
Accessories: This Predator comes with a particularly wicked-looking machete. It is molded from a firm plastic – no rubber here! – and looks great. The edges are very clean and smooth and the blade is believably sharp. The hilt fits perfectly into the figure’s hand and the blade slides into the loop on its belt, though it takes a little effort. The paint on this piece is detailed, featuring a few different colors and a nice, worn look.
Packaging: NECA is still putting its Predators in cardboard-backed blister cards, which makes me happy. This one has a shaped cardback
Value: $17.99 for this figure feels good, even with my typical mindset of fifteen dollars being too much for a six inch figure. First of all, this figure tops seven inches. Granted, that still makes him six inch scale, but you know what I mean. But just looking at the level of detail involved and the amount of articulation, I can’t help but feel like it’s well worth eighteen bucks. Especially when you consider that this is eighteen dollars:
And this is almost twenty-four:
My rational mind screams at the fact that I subscribed to the DC Matty figures again for 2013 when items like this are available for far less. I can’t explain myself. I am a toy junkie.
Overall: This is a tremendous action figure. NECA is well on their way to being my favorite toy company of 2012. Their innovation and smart usage of licensing is absolutely blowing me away, particularly here in the last half of the year. 

5 out of 5

I don’t know that this is THE Predator action figure you would want if you’re only going to buy one, but it is an excellent figure. If you collect Predators it is well worth your while. It’s available in Toys R Us stores now, or you can go to pretty much any online toy retailer and order just him or the whole series he is part of.



Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween

If you’re new here or haven’t been keeping up, this is where I give my thoughts on SyFy’s “31 days of Halloween” programming. Obviously I haven’t seen everything I’ll be talking about, but that’s kind of what the internet is all about – talking out of your ass. 

Each day I will cover the schedule from the time my post goes live (usually 11 AM) through the following 24 hours. On Fridays I will cover the whole weekend, which is a huge pain in the ass but also kind of fun.

Enjoy!

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM – Reign of the Gargoyles – This one stands out in my mind for being particularly crappy. I made fun of it before they showed it last year, then watched it and felt totally justified. It was crap.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 2
1:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Rise of the Gargoyles – I cannot believe that fucking thing got a sequel.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 2
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM – My Bloody Valentine – I like this movie, and seeing it here makes me glad that SyFy isn’t doing some kind of gargoyle theme today. There are some good deaths in this one and who doesn’t like Jensen Ackles? I still don’t buy that weasely kid from Dawson’s Creek as the sheriff. That’s just ridiculous, despite his attempted mustache.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 1
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM – Hannibal – What!?! How the heck is SyFy showing this? Sir Anthony Hopkins appearing on the same channel as WWE SmackDown and Scare Tactics? This is the Lecter picture that really came off as straight horror, though, and is more than appropriate for 31 Days of Halloween. Unless, of course, this is a SyFy Original biopic about the Carthaginian Conqueror.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 4
8:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Shutter Island – I just realized I haven’t seen this movie yet. I remember seeing the trailer in the theater and thinking I would definitely go see it. Never did for some reason. I still want to, but I doubt I’ll be watching it on censored cable. With commercials. Blech.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 4
11:00 PM – 1:00 AM – The Skeleton Key – I have seen this movie a bunch of times and I have no idea why. I mean, I like it, but not a ton. I probably haven’t watched The Incredible Hulk as many times and I loved that movie. Anyway, this stars Kate Hudson and some serious voodoo shit and I recommend it.
Speaking of which, I might be doing a post about voodoo before the month is over. Stay tuned.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 4

FRIDAY

1:00 AM – 3:00 AM – Wes Craven Presents: They – I think this was the terrible one. There were two very similar movies that came out around the same time, both dealing with monsters in the shadows. I believe this was the one that sucked. Maybe they both did. I’m not sure.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 1 (unless the other one is the one that sucked)
3:00 AM – 5:00 AM – They Wait – Jaime King – who I generally like – stars in this one about Chinese ghosts. It might be kind of good. I can’t remember ever hearing of it.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 3
5:00 AM – 6:00 AM – Ghost Whisperer – Hello, Ms. Love-Hewitt. How are you this morning? Still sexy and talkin’ to ghosts? That’s what I thought.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 3
6:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Paid Programming – I wonder if I could get somebody to sponsor me doing a series of posts about one of the infomercial products. Not the Pos-T-Vac, but the total Gym or the Hoveround or something.
Halloween score – 1
Quality score – 5
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Twilight Zone – “The Last Flight” is one of those episodes about somebody being displaced. These are the ones that creep me out the most. I’d much rather find a gremlin on the wing of my plane than end up in some strange world where nothing is the way I think it should be.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 4
8:30 AM – 10:30 AM – The Seamstress – This actually sounds kind of good, but the writer is listed as “Anonymous”, which can’t be a good sign. The story is pretty much A Nightmare on Elm Street, but Freddy is a female and a seamstress rather than a male custodian. Also it doesn’t sound like she’s a child murderer.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 2
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Timber Falls – The story of an innocent lumberjack who was hunted down and tortured to death by a mob of angry villagers who were convinced he’s been stealing their sack lunches. He was killed by being cut in half with his own saw – one of those super-long ones that takes two people to use.
Two score years later, the lumberjack is resurrected by the magic Sasquatch shaman of the forest, who sends him on a path of vengeance to the village; which is now a bustling town. The lumberjack lures the townsfolk – the children of the ones that murdered him – into the surrounding woods and then kills them by felling trees on top of them.
The twist ending is that the Sasquatch was really the one stealing the sack lunches.
Just kidding. I wrote that before even looking to see what Timber Falls was. It actually sounds like an okay movie.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 3

Come back tomorrow when I'll be talking about Darkman!

-Phantom



4 comments:

  1. The name for the Predator race is "yautja" -- it's never mentioned in the movies to my knowledge, but it's in all the Predator novels. (If I can recommend one, "Aliens vs. Predator: Prey" is a fun read.)

    Loved your figure review!! (I'm a Predator fanatic, so it's nice to see all of the new stuff coming out!)

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    1. Thanks for the heads up! Always glad to have new info. And I'll check out that AVP book. For some reason I've never been in any way compelled to pick up an Aliens or Predator novel.

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  2. I just got my first predator figure and went with Warrior Predator, but it was a difficult choice for me between him and this Lost Predator. Maybe I should have gone with the more traditional looking Scout Predator, but I really like how striking Warrior and this figure are.
    I really like the colors of this figure, especially the contrast between the blue/metallic armor and green skin. His unique weapon choice is cool too, in that there is no claw and no laser. Also, isn't it a rule that if I have one masked predator figure then I also need an unmasked figure too?

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  3. I have gone on a bit of Predator kick, buying Big Red sort of set me off down a bad path. Anyway, I just got Lost Predator today, and he is fantastic. I like him a lot more than Warrior Predator, and had I bought this one first, I probably would have started growing my collection before now.

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