SGT. STONE v1
Well I took a short break from toy reviews because I was a little burnt out after cramming to get my 365 reviews in 365 days done but I’m rested and ready to get back to work. It might be a few days yet before I get back on a regular schedule though because today is December 23. That means that I have all sorts of Christmas parties and family obligations to attend to. My little brother is home from New York for the holidays and I’ve been spending a fair amount of time with him. I expect a call from my folks any minute now saying that they’re on their way to haul me off to the first of four family gatherings that I have lined up over the next several evenings. It’s a very busy time of year. But another thing that this time of year is good for other than family and food is toys. I haven’t even opened any presents from loved ones yet but I already have a bunch of toys to review. You see I’ve been doing a lot of Christmas shopping for myself this past month and the goodies have been piling up under the Christmas tree. So much so that the ratio of presents “to Mike” greatly outweighs the number of presents “to Vanessa”. Rather than make her sit through watching me open dozens of action figures on Christmas morning I’ve been picking away at them over the past couple of days. My first X-mas present to myself that I allowed myself to open was a decent sized haul of Joes that I scored from an online retailer. He was selling Joes for as little as $1.99 so I couldn’t help but stock up. A small box containing 17 Joes showed up in the mail the other day; one of the Joes was Sgt. Stone.
Very recently I reviewed a Snake Eyes figure based on the live action G.I. Joe movie “The Rise of Cobra”. In that post I told you how I was resistant to the movie based figures initially. I was mad that they had seemed to replace the 25th anniversary line of figures that I was very fond of. I found the movie figures boring and I did not approve of the direction the toy line was going in. However since the line survived it, and soon went back to comic based, weird, wonderful and colorful figures I am able to appreciate those movie based figures more. I can now accept them for what they were, a mere blip in the long history of G.I. Joe. In fact I found myself suddenly wanting some of the movie based figures that I initially passed on. To this day I don’t feel like I needed every version of Snake Eyes and Scarlett that they put out but there were a few new characters added to the Joe-verse that I regret not picking up. The Toys R Us exclusive Bench-Press for example was a character I ignored. He was a new character, not anybody I had a connection to from my youth and he didn’t even appear in the movie so skipping him seemed like a no-brainer. But in hindsight I can appreciate him for what he was, a new character with some cool accessories whom I should have welcomed into the fold. Now I can’t find him online for less than $50.
Sgt. Stone was another newly created character who I had no attachment to. Some Joe fans might argue that he wasn’t a new character created for the movie because there have been Joe characters with that name before. However they appeared in off-shoot versions of Joe, G.I. Joe Extreme and G.I. Joe Sigma Six. Those versions don’t count in my mind, I’m only interested in the Real American Hero version of G.I. Joe, the one I grew up with. And this figure represents the first time that a Sgt. Stone has ever been included in the RAH line.
Unlike Bench Press, Sgt. Stone did actually appear in the movie. He had a brief cameo during the training montage and he was played by Brendan Fraser. Now I don’t hate Brendan Fraser, I loved Encino Man growing up and School Ties is pretty good too but I don’t love him. I find him pretty cheesy and hearing that he was cast in the movie made me shudder. The movie was directed by another cheese-ball, Stephen Sommers who directed Fraser in the 3 Mummy movies. The two became pals and I guess Fraser begged Sommers to include him in the movie because he’s a big Joe fan. I can respect that. If my friend was making a live action G.I. Joe movie I would’ve begged to just be an extra, if I was Brendan Fraser (with a handful of blockbusters under my belt) I think asking for a small walk on role with 2 or 3 lines of dialogue is a pretty reasonable request. Apparently for a time they were going to name Fraser’s character Gung-Ho, who is a very well known Joe character and I’m glad they didn’t go that route. Would’ve been a shame to waste such a great character in so trivial a role, its better that they save Gung-Ho for a sequel. I think casting Brendan as Sgt. Stone was a best case scenario for everybody. It allowed Brendan to play a “name” Joe without wasting a character that anybody would care about.
If Brendan Fraser truly is a big Joe fan I’m sure receiving his very own action figure was a huge thrill. Unfortunately it isn’t a very good figure. I’m not sure if they were trying to capture Mr. Fraser’s likeness but if they were they failed miserably. This looks nothing like him. Considering that they did a decent job on the other actors I’m assuming that they didn’t bother getting the rights to Brendan’s likeness for a character who was only on screen for 5 minutes. A disappointment to him I’d imagine.
The character and corresponding figure were both pretty dull looking. Black tee shirt, camo pants, black beret. They could’ve easily called this character Flint or Flacon if they wanted to shoehorn another popular Joe into the movie; but he looks nothing like Gung-Ho. The camo pattern used on his pants is the same one used on many of the movie figures which ties them altogether nicely. However I don’t like my Joes to blend together in this way, their individual looks is what makes them fun to collect. This is an alright figure with a good sculpt, a kinda cool vest and decent weapons but none of that saves him from being dull. I’m glad to finally add him to my collection though, new characters are always welcome. 6 out of 10.