Today I have yet another Snake-Eyes figure to review. It seems there is no end to these things. There are over 60 versions of Snake-Eyes available and that’s only counting the 3 3/4 “ scale figures. The crazy thing is probably about 80% of them are relatively the same; solid black from head to toe. Every time I get a new Snake-Eyes action figure I think, “this is it, my last Snake-Eyes figure”. I already own more versions of Snake-Eyes than any other character and with so many great versions why on earth would I feel inclined to buy anymore. Well the problem is Snake-Eyes is often forced on me. Hasbro tends to include him in multi-packs and boxed sets and packaged with vehicles so I end up with a whole bunch of extra Snake-Eyes’ peripherally. Such is the case with this figure, the forty-seventh version of the character.
As big a G.I. Joe fanboy as I am you might be surprised to know that just a few short years ago my interest was wavering. 2009 was a strange time, that was the year that “Rise of Cobra” was released. When the news of a live action G.I. Joe movie first broke I was bursting with excitement. I began trolling around movie sites regularly to gobble up every leaked bit of information that I could find. My friends can attest to my enthusiasm as I posted each new bit of casting and production news on facebook followed by multiple exclamation points. The Joe comic was going well and the 25th anniversary toys were being released on a regular basis and improving in quality all the time. The property was in a good place and seemed poised to reclaim its throne as the best toy line ever. A lot hinged on the upcoming movie.
Well once production started and images began to hit the net my enthusiasm stalled. What the f#@k is Cobra Commander wearing? Marlon Wayans as Ripcord? Bland grey camo uniforms? A cameo by Brendan Fraser? I was worried. The brand had been building itself up for years and this turd of a movie had the potential to bring it all crashing down.
The movie managed to succeed and fail at the same time. It sucked, I know that, but I still think it was fun. It made good money, but not as much as the studios had hoped; they had been banking on Transformers level success. It increased awareness of the brand amongst adults and children but it also tarnished the brand. I’ve seen it many times and can enjoy it for what it is but I really really really hope they get it right the second time around. Again, a lot hinges on G.I. Joe : Retaliation.
The lackluster 2009 movie brought with it a solid year of lackluster toys. And not only were the toys based on the movie boring themselves but Hasbro cancelled the 25th anniversary line which I loved because they didn’t want to confuse consumers by having multiple Joe brands on shelves at the same time. The Rise of Cobra series gave us really plain figures, missile firing weapons (groan), so-so actor likenesses, and lots of character repetition. The Rise of Cobra was almost completely devoid of figures that interested me. I bought one Channing Tatum as Duke, one Marlon Wayans as Ripcord in his god-awful accelerator suit, along with a Breaker, Heavy Duty, Scarlett and a few Cobras. I passed on the Dennis Quaid as Hawk, the Brendan Fraser as Sgt. Stone and the Joseph Gordon Levitt as The Doctor. I skipped on a lot of those figures. If this was to be the direction of the Joe toy line for the foreseeable future then I wasn’t gonna stick around much longer. Luckily the Rise of Cobra line morphed into the superior Pursuit of Cobra line which was kind of a hybrid of the movie universe and the Real American Hero universe. This was followed by the 30th anniversary line and by then we were back on track getting some of the best Joe figures ever.
Knowing that the toy line survived beyond that stinker of a movie and its related toys made me resent those figures much less. I actually find myself wanting to go back and collect some of those figures I initially passed on. That’s where this Snake-Eyes comes from. For the past 3 years, every time I go into Zellers I see literally dozens of the “G.I. Joe Rescue Mission” set clogging the shelves. This set contains a Channing Tatum Duke in his training outfit, this Snake-Eyes and 2 metallic blue Neo-Vipers. Even though I initially hated the Neo-Vipers they have grown on me over time and I’m a sucker for collecting at least one of each trooper variation. I’ve considered buying this set many times just to get a blue Neo-Viper but he’s not worth the $35 Zellers was asking for the set. I’ve been waiting for them to reduce the price but, even though the movie is almost 4 years old and they have hoards of this set, the stubborn bastards have not budged on the price.
Well finally Zellers is marking things down as they’re being bought out by Target. Andrew called me the other day to say he was at Zellers and they had marked the set down to $18 so I finally pulled the trigger and asked him to pick it up for me. Now that I actually have this set in hand, with the bad taste left in my mouth from the film completely rinsed away, I find myself really liking it. The Neo-Vipers look great in blue, I actually like the Duke and to my surprise I find myself loving the Snake-Eyes. How, after 46 previous releases, Hasbro still manages to thrill me with another Snake-Eyes is beyond me. However I will do my best to explain it. The head is awesome. It’s sleek and smooth and lacks any wrinkles, seems and (thank god) facial features.
One of my biggest gripes about the movie was the fact that Snake-Eyes had sculpted lips on his mask. Why would he have those? It was a costuming debacle on par with the bat nipples if you ask me. This figure lacks said lips and it is much better than other movie based Snake-Eyes figures as a result. The body is brand new and like the head it’s sleek and cool. It’s got enough going on to keep it from being boring but it isn’t overwhelmed with detail. This body was quickly re-used for City-Strike Snake-Eyes, a fan favorite who perhaps overshadowed this one to some degree. I love the glossy black finish used on the visor and on various parts of his costume. He’s got some cool but simple weapons packed with him including a sword with sheath that attaches to the back of his belt and multiple guns. I’m honestly not sure why I like him so much but I do. If you’ve got a Zellers nearby go out and grab this set for yourself. 8 out of 10.