Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Robocop (2014) v1.0
by Jada Toys
It's easy to look back at the 1980's through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia as a modern "Golden Age" for entertainment. Hollywood, however, must agree, as the film studios continually dip back into that particular well for "new" film ideas. Transformers, G.I. Joe, Clash of the Titans, and Predator have all seen big screen versions -- either in the form of remakes or rehashes in the past decade. It would seem, however, that the studios aren't out of material yet as this weekend marks the release of the 2014 remake of Robocop. Originally released in 1987, director Paul Verhoeven and Orion pictures produced an ultra-violent satirical film that took a closer look at the influence that large mega-corporations were able to exert over our modern society. With a breakout performance by actor Peter Weller, the film was a hit and was followed by two less-than-stellar sequels and several television adaptations in which the principal character's design remained virtually unchanged. Jada Toys obtained the license for the film and has released two 4" figures based on the film's updated design. Is the classic-themed Robocop 1.0 worth a purchase? Read on to find out this child of the 80's opinion!
It’s takes guts to remake a cult classic sci-fi film—walking a fine line between homage to the original and creative freedom to offer a new take on the source material. This statement also holds true for the redesign of the title character from the Robocop remake. The 1987 look was considered “classic” and remained unchanged through the original picture as well as the two theatrical sequels and the subsequent live action television adaptations. It would seem that officer Alex Murphy’s first cybernetic incarnation in the film tips its hat more than a little to the original design as seen in the Robocop 1.0 figure. The overall black and silver aesthetic is still present but it’s placed on a much more detailed frame. The detailing on this body is quite nice—especially in the black molded sections. The front of the torso showcases what appears to be a cybernetic spine on the front while the back is covered in segmented armor pieces, giving the appearance of a highly mobile mechanical body. Most of the limbs feature sculpted armor panels which are covered in a silver paint app simulating heavier armor panels. The silver paint does seem to be a bit thick and it mutes some of the sculpting detail but one could also rationalize that the metallic sections are merely not as detailed due to their armored nature. For a first time action figure manufacturer Jada Toys really did an excellent job at producing a detailed design for this figure. I’m a bit surprised that the right hand is left purely organic but this is something that was decided by the film’s production department and not the action figure manufacturer. I do like the smooth dome visor on the head of the 1.0 version which is a clear homage to the 1987 original.
In terms of articulation, this figure is surprisingly poseable. The design features ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and neck. This may sound like a great deal of articulation but in some cases the sculpt actually limits the range of movement. For Robocop 1.0, the figure is capable of moving his elbows to close to a 90 degree angle but the knees are far more restricted—mostly by some of the intricate sculpting detail found along the back of the joints. This is a case where ankle joints might have come in useful although, after viewing the 1987 version of the film just the other night, I have to wonder just how much more mobile this new version will be. I also wish that the figure had wrist articulation but that’s more of a personal preference. I don’t recall ever seen Robocop holding his gun sideways for “the kill shot.”
Both versions of Robocop are packaged with a mere two accessories—a pistol and a submachine gun. According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database entry both of these are heavily modified weapons that are meant to be unique to Murphy. The pistol is believed to be a modified Beretta which is clearly meant to invoke the images of the modified Beretta 93R from the 1987 film. In the 2014 version, Robocop is going a bit more “extreme” and uses the SMG as his primary weapon. This particular piece is believed to be based on the Spectre M4. Since both versions of the Robocop come with the same weapons I’ve just defaulted to giving the 3.0 the SMG and the 1.0 the more classic Auto 9/93R pistol. One nice bit of detail is the paint app of the OCP logo on the bottom of the SMG’s clip. This is a tiny detail but one that just as easily could have been overlooked. It’s a fairly light kit but, let’s face it, since when has Robocop been the kind of guy to carry an arsenal with him?
If I had to offer any areas of improvement to the manufacturer there would be two. First off, some of the paint apps—the flesh tone and black in particular—are a bit thick and mute some of the intricate sculpting details found on the figures. It’s a shame because the 1.0 really is very well sculpted otherwise. The second point is in the design of the figures themselves. The sculpting really does limit an otherwise solid articulation set. Additionally, on both 1.0 and 3.0 the figure’s right leg is slightly longer than the left. This means that Robocop will almost always be required to stand one foot in front of the other in order to avoid leaning to the left. Some may view this as nitpicking but it’s worth pointing out.
It’s time for the question that every good review should answer: are either of these figures worth picking up? For Jada Toys’ first true action figures I have to say that these 1:18 figures are actually pretty solid. They’ve got some great sculpting detail although the 1.0 is the clear winner. Both have articulation limited by the sculpting design although once again the 1.0 comes out ahead in this category. In the days that I’ve owned them both I find that I’m just more partial to the 1.0 version. Call it nostalgia, or “1987 bias” but I find that the more colorful classic-themed figure is the more dynamic of the two. Of course this could change after I’ve seen the movie but for now I’d say that if you’re only going to buy one go for Robocop 1.0. At the current price, I spent a whopping $7.99 at Toys R Us and didn’t feel cheated in the slightest. Of course, this is just one Robo-fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: An interesting first action figure from a company that typically constructs toy cars. Nice sculpting and okay articulation. Robocop 1.0 is a good value for the price.
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