Among the many things lacking from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was what Hollywood would refer to as “some serious star power.” The top headliner of the film was Dennis Quaid who gave a solid portrayal as General Clayton Abernathy in spite of having very little to do in the script. With G.I. Joe Retaliation presenting a more realistic action-based take on our favorite Real American Heroes, the folks at Paramount decided to up the ante. They cast one of the biggest names in action films as one of the biggest (literally) Joes on the team. That’s right—I’m talking about Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as Marvin S. Hinton aka Roadblock! In the second wave of G.I. Joe Retaliation figures, fans are treated to the third release of Roadblock in the line with an all new head sculpt. Is this the version that collectors have been waiting for? Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion.
The first thing that can be said about this figure is that he’s certainly large! This figure literally towers over most recent Joe figures including the SDCC Sgt. Slaughter figure. Not quite the overt beefcake the wave 1 and three pack versions were, Roadblock is presented in nicely sculpted olive drab uniform that is more realistic than fantastic. Without his vest, the body design is actually incredibly simple—zippered drab camo and gray shirt with olive camouflage pants and boots. The overall body design is covered in similar sculpted folds and wrinkles to simulate fabric as we’ve seen with most of the other figures in this line thus far. However, one area of difference is found on Roadblock’s forearms. In order to reflect the Rock’s aggressive routine of striving for physical perfection, Roadblocks arms are covered in sculpted veins and sinews simulating taunt muscle mass. In keeping with many of the newly-sculpted figures in this line, Sgt. Hinton possesses hinged wrists and swivel ankles. In terms of overall design, this figure is very accurate to how Roadblock has been shown on screen in the battle sequences.
For the most part, the head sculpts in the G.I. Joe Retaliation line have been exception at capturing actor likenesses and this Roadblock figure is no exception. I’d suspect that Hasbro might have invested in Real-Scan Technology as this figure is a terrific representation of a tiny Dwayne Johnson head. While he sports a decidedly neutral expression and is therefore devoid of the raised “people’s eyebrow”, there’s no mistaking who this action figure is intended to represent both in terms of character and actor. Roadblock is looking more true-to-form than the wave 1 “Ming the Merciless” head.
Many of the figures in the G.I. Joe Retaliation line have been packaged with some manner of “action feature” accessory to appeal to kids. For some it has been spring-loaded zip lines or sky hooks but in the case of the Roadblock, Hasbro has opted for something a bit more movie accurate. Fans might remember in the early G.I. Joe Retaliation solicitations there was something referred to as a “Battle Kata Blaster”. Essentially it function like this—Roadblock has a standard handle with a knuckle guard that can be used to connect to a variety of accessories to form new weapon combinations. Included with the figure are two large blades (similar to a trench knife), two butter-fly knife blades, two pistol housings to form automatic pistols, and one operations baton that secures to the back of the figure’s vest. It’s an interesting concept and one that works great on a child’s role-play toy or even on a detailed 12” figure. I’ve found that with the 1:18 scale, however, there are just too many small parts to keep track of. Most of the knife blades are designed to store in the figure’s removable vest but end up either falling inside the simulated body armor or out of the sheath entirely. The pistols and Battle Kata grips store in holsters on the figure’s legs—but end up being extremely bulky in appearance and function. A consequence of the bulky holsters is that Roadblock has a hard time fitting into the driver’s seat of some of the released vehicles including the Tread Ripper that he is seen driving in the trailers. While I applaud the design team at Hasbro for coming up with such an innovative play feature I just don’t see it as being practical at this scale and honestly would have preferred that Roadblock come packaged with a few standard knifes and slimmer pistols. He does, however, come equipped with his signature M2 heavy machine gun.
So, at the end of the day is this figure worth purchasing and adding to your G.I. Joe collection? Well, it’s going to depend. Right now, there is another film-accurate Roadblock dropping in the revised wave 3 in May. Dubbed “Ultimate Roadblock”, he comes equipped with the weapons that Dwayne Johnson uses in the film sans action gimmicks. For those fans who only want to purchase one figure, I’d advise holding off until then. However, for the rest of you out there this really isn’t a bad figure at all. He’s got a great range of motion, a spot-on actor likeness, and a solid figure sculpt. The Battle Kata gimmick isn’t too distracting but those smaller knife blades are just begging to get lost so be careful. However, I don’t feel that snagging him when I saw him in stores was a waste of money at all although I know that he’ll eventually be replaced by the “Ultimate Roadblock” just as soon as he hits stores. Right now I’m riding on such a G.I. Joe Retaliation high that I don’t mind owning the extra figure. Of course, that’s just one Joe fan’s opinion.
End result: A good figure with a solid actor likeness and an overly complex action feature accessory set. Frugal fans might want to wait for “Ultimate Roadblock” but most fans will be happy with this one.