Friday, September 27, 2013

You'll Get A Quick Kick Outta This....

Although it had a rather modest start in 1982 with a handful of figures mostly dressed up in fairly traditional “green” army gear with basic specialties & designations, as the Real American Hero line of G.I.Joe line progressed through the years, things got a lot more creative and colorful really fast. Pretty soon, the Joe ranks were populated by soldiers wearing sports jerseys, bright neon colors & seemingly village people inspired uniforms. And the more basic combat specialties like rangers, commandos & marines were joined by deceptive warfare & hostile environment specialists.

In 1985, one new Joe in particular really stood out. Well his card art was pretty tough to ignore considering he had his bare foot aimed right at your face. Despite getting an almost offensively stereotypical American Indian character the year before, for me, Quick Kick was the first Joe that really stood out to me as different. Maybe it was because his uniform basically consisted of long black pants, a red sash and a headband, or maybe it was his unconventional specialty “Silent Weapons” or it could have been the fact that he was the first obviously Asian character introduced to the Joe ranks, whatever it was….Quick Kick was definite proof, that Hasbro was thinking out of the box for this army based toy line.

His back story is also pretty interesting. His real name is MacArthur S. Ito which was made by combining the names of World War II military leaders, Gen. Douglas MacArthur of the United States and Lt. Gen. Takeo Ito of Japan. Before joining G.I.Joe, he was actually a Hollywood stuntman. And according to his debut in the cartoon, he was shooting a frozen fudgee bar commercial in some place cold (ok sorry I forget where exactly but it involved snow, ice & leopard seals) when he runs into a couple of Joes in trouble and rescues them. It’s quite a memorable debut since one, on his first outing, he defeats Cobra’s resident fearsome ninja, Storm Shadow, a bunch of Crimson Guards and a couple of leopard seals on his own. And two, he does all this without wearing any shirt and shoes!

Now while he continued to be a regular in the cartoon (with his terrible Hollywood actor impersonations), he had a rougher time in the more realistic comic. First of all, he was involved in a very memorable story arc wherein he and a couple more Joes spent months as prisoners in a Borovian gulag until they were eventually rescued by an unsanctioned Joe team. But if that wasn’t enough, after going through all that, he and a bunch of Joes are captured again in another mission in the middle east. And unfortunately, this time around, he isn’t as lucky. In a historical move by Hasbro (and Marvel) to try and make the comic more realistic, Quick Kick and a bunch of other Joes are actually killed when a tank that they hijacked is blown up. R.I.P. Quick Kick.

Luckily, in toy form, Quick Kick fares a little bit better. He got a fairly decent update in the 25th Anniversary line. And a few years later got an even better and more practical version in the Pursuit of Cobra line. This time around he has a vest (which is removable) and SHOES! So he no longer has to walk barefoot in the snow. He also has added accessories. The original figure only came with a sword and nunchucks which this new one still has, along with some cool sparring gloves and a gun (with silencer of course). And I’m not sure if this was intentional, but to add to the coolness factor of the figure, his black uniform bares a close resemblance to the uniform worn by the infamous Cobra Kai club who are best known as the antagonists of Daniel, the Karate Kid movie.

former classmates

So there you have it, yet another interesting & memorable character in the Joe ranks. To end, I’d like to leave you with another interesting (at least to me) tidbit of trivia about Quick Kick. In the cartoon, Quick Kick was voiced by Cambodian-American actor François Chau, who is best known as for his role as Dr. Pierre Chang in one of my most favorite tv shows of all time…Lost. How cool is that?