THE CROW (Hot Toys) (2014)
Hoy Toys makes amazing action figures. They could technically be categorized as dolls because they’re 12 inches tall and have removable cloth clothing; akin to Barbie and the like. However, Hot Toys’ products are really in a league of their own. I have plenty of 12 inch “dolls” in my collection produced by various companies, including Hasbro who invented the original 12″ action figure with the release of G.I. Joe in the 1960s, and none of them come close matching the quality of this figure. The basic body construction is similar to what has come before but it’s the fine attention to detail by all of the artists involved in the making of this figure that elevates it above your average collectible. It’s very cool that each artist (sculptor, painter, costume designer, etc.) is credited on the back of the box.
Hot Toys wasn’t on my radar when they started out making military figures in the year 2000 but genre fans like myself really took notice when they expanded into comic book and movie lines. My first Hot Toys doll was the 2009 Joker from the Dark Knight. Opinions may vary but I feel it was that Joker figure that really put Hot Toys on the map. The likeness to Heath Ledger was unreal and the detail in the costume and accessories was unlike anything that had come before. But as amazing as that figure was I never would have shelled out the $200+ asking price. The only reason I acquired it is because I scored a wicked good deal from my pal Cal at Strange Adventures. Hot Toys has gone on to release amazing dolls of the Avengers, Christopher Reeves as Superman, Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and a bunch more characters that I would love to own. I even find myself drooling over figures from movies that I didn’t even like that much like Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Tonto, or Adrian Brody as Royce from Predators. However the price deterred me every time I considered ordering one.
The first Hot Toys figures to shake my fiscal resolve was their line of G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures. I hummed and hawed many times to my girlfriend as to whether I should pull the trigger on Snake Eyes. She eventually made the decision for me and bought me Snake Eyes for Christmas last year. That figure did not disappoint and remains one of the best pieces in my entire collection. I had planned to buy their Storm Shadow doll to compliment my Snake Eyes soon afterwards but a few things sidetracked that purchase. I moved apartments, I ordered my G.I. Joe Convention set and figure subscription service which aren’t cheap, I was asked to be my buddy’s best man in Mexico, and I backed a couple of action figure kickstarters, so my disposable income was stretched pretty thin. On top of all that Hot Toys unveiled their new Crow figure early in the year. As much as I wanted Storm Shadow I knew that the Crow would have to be my next Hot Toys purchase when I finally scraped together enough cash.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to save the cash because Vanessa spoiled me again this Christmas by surprising me with this figure. She wanted to get me something special and she really nailed it with the Crow. It was a late addition to my top 14 toys of 2014 list but it ended up on top.
I’m a big fan of the Crow franchise. I own all of the comics and I own all of the movies. I’ve watched the TV show, collected the action figures and listened to the soundtracks. Some of it has been pretty bad but I can find something to like in all of it and that all stems from my unwavering love for the original 1994 film starring Brandon Lee.
I had been a comic collector for years when The Crow movie came out but the comic that inspired the movie had slipped passed me. I was 11 years old and a devout Marvel reader when the original Crow series came out in 1989. Plus it was released by an independent publisher (Caliber) so I wouldn’t have come across it in any mainstream comic publications. My local comic shop at the time (the Cardboard Jungle) may not have even stocked it for all I know. But honestly, a black and white gothic love story probably wouldn’t have appealed to me at that point in my life anyway. However, when the movie came out in ’94 I was 16 years old and it was right up my alley.
The first Crow movie blew my mind. I rented it several times from the corner store at the bottom of my street and I searched high and low for a VHS copy to own. My mom scored a previously viewed copy from Ambassador video (the clerks wore crappy tuxedos) and gave it to me for Christmas. I watched it repeatedly and eventually replaced it with a DVD copy. I eventually replaced my DVD with the 2-disc special edition DVD and I later replaced that with the Bluray.
There isn’t any one thing about the movie that makes me love it so much but it’s a combination of things: the simple revenge plot, the unique villains, the gothic cityscape, the alternative music soundtrack, the great supporting actors, the dialogue, and most of all Brandon Lee. I don’t know if he would have went on to become a big star but he knocks it out of the park in the role of Eric Draven: the Crow.
The fact that he was tragically killed due to an accident on set while making the movie adds that much more weight to an already impressive performance. Listening to the character talk about how “nothing is trivial” is quite heart breaking.
Hot Toys has done a fantastic job of capturing Brandon Lee in his signature role with this figure. The head sculpt is phenomenal. The gritted teeth smile is a look seen on a few occasions in the movie and was a good choice for a facial expression. The paint applications on the face make it look like actual make up on skin and the glossy paint on the eyes reflect light in an eerie sort of way. The hair is multi-layered and looks great too.
The body sometimes looks a little lanky when the coat is removed but Brandon was pretty lean in the film so it’s too far off from being screen accurate. When he’s wearing the coat I have no problems with the body. He’s wearing a tight black top with multiple bullet holes and he has mock electrical tape and actual twine wrapped around him as well. The pants are faux leather with a button fly and some tape and twine patchwork also. It’s all very accurate to the costume from the movie. The loose fitting boots with the floppy tongues look exactly like the ones he wore in the movie but it would have been nice if Hot Toys had went the extra mile and added real laces. When his pant legs ride up in certain poses you can see he has bare ankles. I’m not a fan of the bare ankled look as you may recall from my Ron Burgundy doll review. However, the bare feet under the boots is film accurate as well.
For accessories the Crow has his black leather jacket which he removed from his first victim, Tin Tin. The jacket is faux leather with lots of nice details like a belt, buttons, and bullet holes. Theres some wire piping in the jacket so you can sculpt it to some degree, in case you want it flowing behind him instead of just hanging. It fits him great.
He also has a guitar which is very cool. It has a removable leather strap and real strings. None of the knobs can be turned unfortunately. He also has the engagement ring he bought for Shelly on a string around his neck and 4 alternate hands in case you want to display him with closed fists or gripping hands.
Of course he also has a crow sidekick. The crow is a solid sculpted piece and it looks quite nice. All the feathers are well detailed and different black paints were used for his eyes and talons. Both Eric and the bird come with their own display stands. Eric’s is the standard Hot Toys base which works great my cupping his crotch. The bird’s stand isn’t nearly as successful. A clear rod plugs into the bird’s butt and then attaches to a small black base which isn’t as wide as it should be to support the bird. I really think they should have made it so the bird’s rod plugged into Eric’s base. I also wish they rigged something up so the bird could sit on his shoulder.
The final accessory isn’t really an accessory at all, it’s really just part of the box. Hot Toys included an extra sheet of cardboard that looks like the circular window from Eric and Shelly’s apartment, the one Eric got thrown through. It’s a really nice touch and they even went so far as to put broken “glass” with blood stains in the window.
This is a fantastic figure of perhaps my favorite movie character of all time. If you’re as big a Crow fan as me you need to pick this up or get your girlfriend to do it for you. 11 out of 10.