Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Robocop (2014) v3
by Jada Toys
It seems that as far as Hollywood is concerned the adage “what’s old is new again” is the cornerstone of their current business plan. Consider the current crop of remakes that the studios have produced in just the past few years alone: Clash of the Titans, Total Recall, Star Trek… the list goes on and on. In 1987 director Paul Verhoeven and Orion Pictures released a dark violent film that took a hard look at the extent corporations controlled our daily lives. Surprisingly deep for an “action film”, the picture went on to achieve cult status and spawned several sequels and even a few TV series. Now in 2014, that picture is back and with its remake comes a new toy line from Jada Toys. That’s right folks, I’m talking about Robocop.
Robocop v3.0 is a completely unique sculpt from Robocop v1.0. There are similar aesthetics but closer examination showcases a more streamlined design for the black version. For the 3.0, the sculpt of the figure is decidedly more streamlined -- a “more tactical look” as Michael Keaton describes in the trailer. Much of the intricate detailing in the torso has been covered by sculpted panels. (This is especially true of the torso both front and back.) In fact much of the detail present in the 1.0 version has been “muted” as if OCP has decided to cover up all of the character’s more vulnerable areas. Even the visor on the head is more streamlined—set higher on the head with a forward aspect that is more reminiscent of a H.R. Giger Alien than Robocop. One interesting sculpt difference between the two figures is found on the 3.0’s right bicep—a sculpted OCP logo. Apparently the silver version is merely a prototype while the black 3.0 is the version that will get the most screen time. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that this figure, with its predominantly black color scheme is actually painted rather than just molded in black. The black paint used seems a bit thick and does mute some of the already more subdued sculpting details. However on the figure’s back you can clearly tell the areas that have been left unpainted from those covered in the semi-gloss finish. While I understand the desire to make the figure more “tactical” I find this version to be the least visually interesting.
In terms of articulation, Robocop v3.0 is decnt but not great.The design features ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and neck. This may sound like a great deal of articulation but as was the case with Robocop v1.0 the sculpt actually limits the range of movement. Robocop 3.0 fares a little worse than his predecessor —with the elbows joints limited to the 60 degree range and knees almost none functional, barely capable of a 45 degree angle. Sure he can bend them slightly but not enough to really do anything. In the original 1987 film, Officer Murphy wasn't exactly a gymnast after his transformation into Robocop but much of this was due to the limitations of the suite worn by the actor. He more "blunt instrument" than "tactical ninja"; with this new incarnation purported to be a more agile cyborg I'd hoped for better.
The sculptors at Jada Toys did a decent job with the head sculpt, considering that the source material is a streamlined smooth helmet. Unlike the v1.0, this figure had a sculpted mouth which does add some character back into the otherwise smooth design. The profile is also almost featureless-- broken up by a sculpted seam that goes from the top of the mouth opening back to where Officer Murphy's ears would be. In keeping with the entire upgraded aesthetic of the film, this just seems to be a much smoother look than either the 1987 original or the classic inspired v1.0.
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? The SMG fits decently into either hand of the figure although the stock seems designed to work in the right hand, which is in keeping with all of the press images I've seen thus far from the film.
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.
This is part where we come to the all important question of "Is this worth a purchase or not?" In terms of sculpting, it's really not a bad figure even if the source material design is a bit bland. If anything really hampers my enjoyment of this particular figure it's the articulation issues that I mentioned earlier. Again, I realize that Robocop is not exactly an Olympic gymnastic in terms of range of motion but I'd at least like that 90 degree range of motion in both the knees and elbows. It truly limits the "fun factor" of this updated version of Robocop more than I would have initially thought. Let's face it-- Hasbro really has set the bar quite high in terms of articulation for the 1:18 scale as evidenced from G.I. Joe to Star Wars to Marvel Universe. Jada Toys is known for producing more collector-driven lines than kid-centric products so this figure really is one of those pieces that is better suited to sitting on a shelf and looking pretty than it is being used in a lot of dioramas. Even at the $7.99 price point I'd say that this would appeal more to Robocop fans than to the casual figure buyer and most fans could skip this one in favor of the more nostalgia-driven Robocop v1.0 and save themselves some money.
Bottom Line: This is a decent but flawed first action figure effort from Jada Toys. Articulation issues really hamper a decent sculpt which make it more of a "display not play" figure.
|Copyright 2003 JoeBattlelines.com|