ALLEY VIPER v.14 (2013)
Hey gang, sorry for the lack of posts but real life has been keeping me pretty busy. I actually have a couple of reviews written but haven’t found the time to take the pictures required. Despite having a stockpile of reviews at the ready I’m writing this one up fresh because it’s a special occasion: G.I. Joe Retaliation has arrived on DVD and Blu-Ray. I have been super pumped about this. I saw the film twice in the theaters, once in 3D and once standard, and have been eager to see it again. I really really liked this movie. I haven’t pre-ordered anything in years but I pre-ordered my copy of Retaliation from Best Buy because I didn’t want to risk them selling out of their exclusive “extended action cut” with 13 additional minutes of footage added to the film. Vanessa and I went to Best Buy right after work yesterday so I could pick up my copy. I was dying to get it home so that I could explore all of the bonus features and watch the added content but I had to wait a couple of hours because we went and saw the new Steve Carell movie “The Way, Way Back”. That was a good movie too but it was no G.I. Joe 2.
I watched the extended cut of the film when I got home and it was pretty cool. Jinx is much more fleshed out in this version as the majority of the added scenes benefit her. I liked the new footage but I must confess that it didn’t feel essential so don’t be bummed out if you picked up the theatrical version. The hour of behind the scenes stuff was entertaining and the 3 deleted scenes were decent as well. There doesn’t appear to be a director’s commentary on the extended cut so that sucks. I’m hoping that it’s included on the theatrical-cut DVD that was included with my blu-ray. If it’s there I will most likely watch/listen to it tonight.
As an excuse to prattle on about the movie as I just did, I had planned on reviewing a Retaliation figure like Roadblock or Snake Eyes. However I have covered both of those guys recently during my “Retaliation Week” from the time the movie hit theaters. Plus, I had recently promised regular reader Paul an Alley Viper review. As luck would have it a new Alley Viper was released in the most recent wave of Retaliation figures. So, while no Alley Vipers actually appeared in the movie (which would have been awesome) I can still technically relate this figure to the film.
The first Alley Viper figure was released rather late in my Joe collecting youth, hitting the shelves in 1989. And yet my Alley Viper saw plenty of use and became one of my favorite Cobra figures. After Ice Viper and Heat Viper I’d say he was my third favorite Cobra Trooper. Alley Viper was billed as an Urban Assault Trooper. His crazy orange and blue camo didn’t make much sense but I thought it was awesome. He definitely stood out amongst the sea of blue and red Cobra troops. Alley Viper was released several times in the years that followed and each time the colors got weirder. The 2004 redesign of Alley Viper was god awful. The Alley Viper had become over exposed and fallen from grace.
That is until 2009 when an updated version of the ’89 original was released in the Defense of Cobra island 7-pack. I loved the 2009 version, it retained all of the elements that I loved about the original and added some new stuff such as a fully removable helmet instead of simply a removable visor. I liked the ’09 version so much that I felt that there was no improving on it. I passed on the next two Alley Vipers, released in the Renegades and Pursuit of Cobra waves, as I felt they didn’t compare. I’m not even sure if I would have bough this red one (version 14) had I seen it at the store. The reason that I ended up with it is because I pre-ordered the entire wave 2 from BigBadToyStore. I was mostly looking forward to the Joe Colton, Lady Jaye and Cyber Ninja, this guy was just kind of an add on.
But now that I have this figure in hand I’m very glad I got him. I was expecting a straight repaint of the 2009 version but that’s not what I got. He shares some of the same pieces as the ’09 version but there were quite a few changes made including a different head and torso. Instead of a flak vest this new Alley Viper has elaborate webgear able to store his knife and baton. His primary weapon has been changed up as well. I have a soft spot for the orange and blue color scheme but dare I say this red and gray might be even better. It’s not as unique but it looks fantastic. He still has his crazy shield and retractable face plate, as every respectable Alley Viper should, along with a rope, missile launcher and a bunch of other stuff. this is an excellent figure that I strongly recommend you pick up. And go pick up a copy of the blu-ray while you’re at it. 9 out of 10.