COBRA COMMANDER v51
We’re less than 2 months away from G.I. JOE : RETALIATION!! When it was announced back in May 2012 that the G.I. Joe sequel’s release date was being pushed back from June 29, 2012 to March 29, 2013 it was absolutely heartbreaking. I had been so looking forward to seeing this movie so to be told mere weeks before its release that I had to wait another 9 months to see it really put a damper on my 2012 cinematic experience. Sure I got Avengers, Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-Man but I wanted G.I. Joe. And the heartbreaking thing wasn’t just the additional waiting period but the rumors associated with the delay. Internet buzz was that the movie was terrible and that the studio was hoping to salvage it with reshoots. Also rumored was that test audiences wanted more Channing Tatum. The studio’s official press release was that they were taking the extra time to convert the film to 3D. I don’t really care what the reason was, all I know is that it’s almost time. Those 9 months have been whizzing by and now we’re less than 2 months away. From the footage I’ve seen I think this movie looks stellar and I cannot wait to see it.
One of the ways in which this film looks superior to the original is in its portrayal of Cobra Commander. The Commander was barely in the first one, at least as the Commander. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the dual roles of Rex and The Doctor in the original. Only in the final minutes of the movie was it revealed that he was to become Cobra Commander. What should have been an epic reveal fell flat because “The Doctor’s” transformation into “The Commander” was ridiculous. I must confess I don’t completely hate the look of the Commander from the first film but it took me a long time to even begin to warm to it. It makes for a neat looking action figure but nothing about it says Cobra Commander to me.
When I saw the first images of the Commander as he will appear in Retaliation I was floored. He looked amazing. The frustrating thing is that it probably wasn’t that hard to pull off. There’s no reason why the Commander couldn’t have looked that cool in the first film. No matter, let’s put Rise of Cobra behind us and move on.
Because the film was originally set for release in June 2012, toys starting hitting the shelves in May. Had the film come out as scheduled I’m sure I would have been enjoying a steady influx of new Joe figures for the entire second half of 2012. But because the film was pushed back, so were all the toys. Only the first wave of figures which had shipped out before the announcement made it to store shelves. When I heard that there was going to be a potential shortage of Retaliation figures due to a lack of restocking I bought them all up in one fell swoop. One of the figures that I picked up back in May was Cobra Commander version 49. That version was a fairly good representation of the Cobra Commander we’d seen in promotional images from the film. The figure didn’t have the long coat seen in the images and the helmet design was a little different but it was close.
Another toy that I scooped up in May was another version of the Cobra HISS tank, my favorite G.I. Joe vehicle. I’ve reviewed 2 or 3 of those by now. Usually HISS tanks come with a specialty driver such as the HISS driver or Crimson Horseman. This time around the HISS tank came packaged with a new version of Cobra Commander, the 51st one released to date.
This version of Cobra Commander is kinda weird looking but I actually think he’s pretty cool. I already have dozens of Commander figures which look nearly identical so it’s nice to get one who shakes things up now and again. The helmet on this figure looks closer to the movie helmet than even the one on the standard carded figure. The helmet would probably look better in black or blue but as I said, it’s nice to get something a little different. The solid chrome face has been an iconic look of Cobra Commander’s since his very first action figure back in 1982. I like the hooded version as well but the battle helmet has always been my favorite look for the character.
The body on this figure has a very futuristic vibe to it but it isn’t too far out of left field to be unbelievable. The Joe movies are set in “the not too distant future” which allows them a little leeway with this type of stuff. That said, I find it very unlikely that we’ll see the Commander wearing this outfit in the film. I find this outfit has nods to the Commander’s Battle Armor and I also find the high boots reminiscent of the original HISS driver which is pretty cool. The only gripe I have regarding this figure is the lack of articulation. To cut costs Hasbro decided to drastically reduce the articulation on vehicle drivers in the movie line. I pointed it out in past reviews of Swamp Viper and Snake Eyes. Crappy articulation aside, this figure is salvaged by it’s unique yet familiar design. The Retaliation toys should be available everywhere again soon so keep your eyes peeled for the HISS tank and pick one up and add this nifty Commander to your collection. 7 out of 10.