Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Party On Dwayne....

The first live action G.I.Joe movie, The Rise of Cobra has a lot of negatives going for it. For me it was just OK. It’s biggest problem in my opinion was that fact that they got a director who had no idea what G.I.Joe was and was not interested in getting familiar with the franchise. He just set off and made a generic but enjoyable action movie…it just wasn’t Joe.

When a sequel was finally greenlit, the first bit of major news that broke was that they had cast action star and former WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the lead role. This in itself gave me confidence that the producers were serious about making a better (and bigger) movie. Not that I’m the biggest Dwayne Johnson fan..but being a more than casual wrestling fan, and having seen and enjoyed a bunch of his other movies…I knew that as far as current action stars go, he was one of the more popular, successful and charismatic ones around. And the fact that he insisted that he was a true Joe fan since he was a kid was encouraging.

Now he was cast as the Joe’s heavy machine gun specialist, Roadblock. And as far as Joe’s go, he is was of the more popular joes who for some reason was not included in the first movie (I believe it was due to copyright reasons blah blah). Of course now that they had the Rock cast as Roadblock, all of a sudden, being JUST the team’s heavy machine gunner was not enough. Out of nowhere, Roadblock was promoted to leader of G.I.Joe, and Dwayne Johnson basically became the official face of the franchise.  

When it came to the obligatory action figure, Hasbro spared no expenses. They basically came up with the PERFECT Dwayne Johnson action figure. The facial likeness is pretty spot on for a 4” figure and he towers over most Joe figures which is just right. Of course, to maximize the dollars they spent on the rights to sculpt and sell toys in the Rock’s likeness, Hasbro had to go ahead and release multiple versions of Roadblock.

First out was the standard bare-bones Roadblock which had the lame idea of having his weapon handle permanently attached to his fist in order to attach an oversized spring loaded weapon on. Easy pass for me.

Second was the “Battle-Kata” version which is a sort of plug and play weapon system which was..interesting. Unfortunately, this version sported a nifty Arashikage tattoo on his arm which I just couldn’t stand. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Joe lore…the Arashikage is the ninja clan that both Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow belong to….yup that’s right….NINJA. So it wasn’t enough that Roadblock was promoted to leader…Hasbro wanted him to be cooler and made him a NINJA….ughhhhh. I will stop there and save my whole ninja rant for another post.

The third version came as part of a Dojo Battle 3-pack so that in itself was a point against it. Luckily this wasn’t Roadblock dressed in full on ninja garb, but in a black uniform complete with some spotty (literally they almost look like spots) black camo paint all over his body. Now this version was pretty good except for the fact that they lightened up his skin tone a little bit too much for my taste. So this was a no buy as well.

At this point though, I really didn’t feel the need to be a completist, so ONE Roadblock was enough for me…and that one turned out to be the last version (for now) that Hasbro ended up releasing….the aptly named “Ultimate” version. This is basically the closest representation of the Roadblock that came out in the movie…down to his heavy machine gun. He also came with a lot more extras…like a HEAVIER machine gun (also used in the movie), all the battle kata gear from the 2nd version and some rope gliding thingamabob to satisfy the kiddies which I really couldn’t care less about. And best of all….he doesn’t have that Arashikage tattoo…so at least I can pretend that THIS Roadblock isn’t a damn ninja.