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Quick Kick

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Look, it's Shang-Chi's student!

His Japanese father and Korean mother owned a grocery store in Watts. Too short to play basketball as a youth, Quick Kick turned to martial arts. He is a ranking black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Goju-Ryu, Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Zen Sword, and Wing Chun. He was working as a stunt man in Hollywood when he was recruited for the GI Joe team.

Okay, well now I'm just thinking about the cheesy exploitation film The Dynamite Brothers, more popularly known as East Meets Watts. It's a shame Quick Kick wasn't on the docket for Classified sooner, because that means he didn't get a new and interesting bio on their website, just this cut-n-paste section of his original filecard in the marketing copy. His stats point to the rest of the info on his old card, as well: Intelligence 3, Bladed Weapons 3, Infiltration 2, and Martial Arts 3.

Quick Kick was voiced in the Real American Hero cartoon by Francois Chau, who you'll recognize as "that Dharma Initiative doctor who appeared in all the training films" on Lost. That doesn't really have anything to do with this figure, it's just an interesting fact. Like sculptor Fred Aczon pointed out, having positive Asian representation back in the '80s was a big deal, and the fact a character born and raised in America was allowed to speak with an American accent instead of an awful "me frappa dickey rong time" voice - and was played by an actual Asian actor instead of one of the full fleet of white guys already on the payroll - does sadly count as "progressive" for the time.

We've had a few bare torsos in the Classified line already, but Quick Kick doesn't use any of them: he's absolutely ripped, but he's also as small as his bio suggests he should be. Slender little powerhouse! He's wearing his classic costume, but considering his classic costume is "pants and nothing else," it's surprising this isn't simply a larger version of what we got in 1985: the red strap that keeps his chest from being bare skin is a separate sash rather than something connected to his belt now, and there are intricately painted patterns on his hips. It's not much, but it's at least something. He's still got three shurikens sculpted into his sash, and painted silver.

When the Joes met Quick Kick on the cartoon, they were somewhere in the Arctic at The Mountain of Glass - and yet he was dressed like this. He told them he was a stunt man filming a commercial, but the director left. First question, what kind of candy bar commercial needs stunts? Second question, was it the commercial that made him dress like this, and if so, why did he never change into other clothes in the future? And third question, was the director leaving him to die? At least in the movie when they went to the Himalays to find Cobra-La he wore a coat. And shoes. While most action figures have the bottoms of their feet flattened (it's a good, unobtrusive place to mold on required copyright info, and is why we tend to point out when boots have sculpted treads), but that would have looked weird on bare feet, so Quick Kick retains the anatomical shapes. He does get holes in his heels if you want to use a figure stand with him, however.

Thankfully we've gotten beyond the days when Classified figures had to be able to use all their extra pieces at once, so Quick Kick get three pairs of hands and an extra head. To fit with his martial arts background, he's got fists, flat chops, and hands to hold his weapons. The second head isn't drastically different from the first, with his hair blowing to the side slightly and his mouth open just a tiny bit. Figure it's a "making kung fu noises" head, to go along with his status as a certain type of character.

Unlike Generation 3 Quick Kick, this version actually gets to have ankle joints. Wow, innovative! He's got all the joints Classified figures have, meaning he can achieve any kind of martial arts pose you like - including, per Hasbro's own promotional shots, quiet meditation. If you look at the digital sculpt file, you'll notice the sash appears to have been molded slightly smaller than intended - it was originally meant to come all the way down to the waist on the right side, but instead it sits a bit higher.

In the '80s, Quick Kick's accessories included a simple backpack, a sword, and one nunchuck. This version gets an updated version of the backpack, red instead of grey, though since his sash goes across his body instead of straight up and down one side, the bag actually looks like it could be attached to something other than his spinal column for once. There are now two swords, which fit into sheaths on the back, and a pair of nunchucks that can be stored in loops on the back of his belt. The 'chucks are a super soft and flexible material, so you can bend them without worrying. We also get a translucent blue "throwing" effect with the star at the front painted silver, and then finally, a Frozen Fudgee bar. You know, the candybar Quick Kick was in the Arctic to film an ad for in the first place? That. We get its red wrapper and silver foil, and the brown candy itself, but no logo? C'mon, even the Kre-O got that right! The image on the back of the box (since Hasbro has regressed to the old style packaging, we no longer get anything interesting on the front) features QK on an ice floe, with Storm Shadow and a leopard seal way in the distance behind him - a direct reference to his first appearance in The Pyramid of Darkness.

Larry Hama never really had anything for Quick Kick to do. The cartoon favored him over Snake-Eyes, since Quick Kick had the advantage of being able to speak, but the first major thing he did in the comics was get stuck in a Borovian gulag for months, and the second major thing he did was die in battle. The fans really dig the character, perhaps due to having such a unique and memorable design. This update is very true to an original that would be very hard to justify changing at all.

-- 05/24/24

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