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Snake-Eyes (Arctic Assault)

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

What was surprising about the Rise of Cobra toyline wasn't how many variations of the main characters it had - what was surpsing was how many of those variations came right out of the film.

Ninja commando Snake-Eyes trains the GI Joe team in hand-to-hand combat. He's an expert at assault missions that take place in extreme conditions, so he is well prepared to help the team infiltrate the M.A.R.S. Industries base in the remote Arctic.

As toy fans, we've been conditioned to ignore the costume variants in a movie line. Anyone who thought "Electro Strike Batman" from the Batman Begins line was something that would actually appear in the movie has some sort of mental deficiency. But with Rise of Cobra, quite a few of the things that seemed like throwaways actually appeared onscreen - now, does that mean the toyline was doing something right, or that the movie was doing something wrong? You have to make that decision for yourself.

Arctic Assault Snake-Eyes is wearing realistic cold-weather gear: a thick jacket and blocky pants. You've probably worn the same thing when you've gone out in the snow. It's (mostly) the same sculpt that was later used for Snow Job, though he had his hood pushed back, and Snake-Eyes has his hood up. But the arms, the legs, those things are the same. He gets the muscular torso from the Series 1 solo-carded Snake-Eyes, but it's not like you can tell what's beneath his jacket. This body would work equally well for Ripcord and Breaker, since they wore the same thing as they assaulted the base (Scarlett, obviously, would need some retooling first).

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention a few problems with the jacket: first of all, it doesn't close properly; it's got pegs on both the left and right sides in order to make it easier to take it off the figure, but there's an ⅛" gap between the front half and back half. You could probably glue it shut, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose? Secondly, the hood effectively takes away the figure's neck joint; yes, you can reach in there and move the head slightly, but to what purpose? What's a better solution? For once, we don't have one, we're just saying the problem exists.

One thing about this figure that isn't true to the film is the mask: it should be white, not the traditional black. Ah, who cares? It still looks cool on the figure, and they got his white visor correct. The head is new, surprisingly - it's not reused from any of the other movie Snake-Eyes. It has no mouth, and it a bit baggier than the Paris Pursuit version (though like that one, the visor is movable).

Snake-Eyes' accessories include his sword, a pistol, a leasheless ice axe, and the same climbing rig as City Strike Snake-Eyes. Yeah, because that thing wasn't ridiculous enough the first time. He's got a sash over his coat, which presents a rather ridiculous problem: in the movie, the reason he wore a strap like that was to carry his sword; on this toy, the sword fits into the climbing backpack, and there's no scabbard to accommodate it when you invariably ditch the pack in the parts bin. He also has no holster for the gun and nothing to hold the axe, so while he technically can deal with all his accessories at once, it's not very elegant.

There's just something cool about a character in white Arctic gear, especially when that character usually dresses in dark colors. It's true for Batman, and it's just as true for Snake-Eyes. Still, this figure is one I passed on through many $5.00 or 2/$9.99 sales, before finally getting him for $3 at TJ Maxx before Christmas. Arctic Assault Snake-Eyes is a lot better to look at than he is to play with, but he'll make a good co-pilot for the Wolf Hound.

-- 12/31/10

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