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Snake-Eyes (Paris Pursuit)

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

How do you make a cool character even cooler? Think like the '90s, and give him a new coat.

Ninja master and military Commando Snake-Eyes trains the GI Joe team in hand-to-hand combat. He goes to Paris to track down the nanomite weapons before Cobra forces can unleash them. His loyal pet wolf Timber is trained in ninja tracking and protection.

Seriously? His wolf is trained in "ninja tracking?" Is that tracking like a ninja, or just tracking a ninja? Now admittedly, not all of Larry Hama's filecards were instant winners (have you ever read the Red Ninja's card? It's awful), but things like this really make me miss the days when one guy was in charge of all the characters and therefore had a vested interest in caring about how they were represented. It's even worse when you realize there's no real reason for including Timber in this set, and thus no reason to awkwardly work him into the filecard.

This was the second Snake-Eyes figure released in the Rise of Cobra line. "Paris Pursuit" Snake-Eyes is, appropriately, dressed as he was when the team went to Paris to stop Baroness and Storm Shadow. Well, sort of. When he was hanging onto their car, he was wearing his rubber Batman suit and poofy pants, but this figure has tighter pants and a normal shirt - almost like the classic G1 Snake-Eyes. The most Parisian thing about him is that he's wearing a long trenchcoat with a hood, as he did in the film. Apparently he stole it from a French hobo (ie, a "heauxbeaux") after falling off the roof of the SUV.

Snake-Eyes gets a new head, which is sure to please a lot of people. The main difference is that this one doesn't have a nose and mouth sculpted on it for no reason. Interestingly, though, Stephen Sommers had to fight to keep SE in a mask at all: one of the studio heads was tired of movies with guys wearing masks all the time, and told Sommers to lose it. For two days he fought to keep it, and eventually Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner had to step in and side with the director to keep Snake looking the way he should. You can spot the remnants of this in a few scenes: most of the times when he's in the Pit, but also when he's hanging with Hawk in France.

Despite being all-back, Snake-Eyes isn't lacking for detail. His overcoat is more of a charcoal grey, so it doesn't blend in, and though his clothes are all matte, the boots, gloves and visor (which is glued firmly in place, but can be pushed up slightly to show the unpainted eyes behind it) are all glossy. There are a couple spots of silver on the buckles, as well. The figure is as articulated as any other modern Joe, but the way the coat flares out in the back means he's likely to fall over backwards if you don't balance him well. Should you choose to throw SE in the freezer for an hour, then dunk his head in near-boiling water, and pry the mask plugs out of his temples, you'll see that the back sie of the visor is sculpted with horizontal lines that will never ever show up in a normal examination of the toy.

Snake-Eyes' weapons include a Ka-Bar knife, an HK USP pistol (rather than the FN five seven he used in the film), a really nice HK G36K rifle, and of course, his sword. The sword's scabbard pegs into the figure's back, and he can get some good two-handed poses despite the extra bulk added by his coat. Timber is not the same sculpt seen on the TFAC version, but is rather reused from a 2009 box set. I really wish Hasbro would go back to the 1985 and look at how that Timber was posed and sculpted - it really is the best version of the wolf, even 25 years later. There are at least two versions of this set: one with the traditional gray Timber, another where he's black.

When we first saw Paris Pursuit Snake-Eyes at Toy Fair 2009, a lot of folks assumed it was his Arctic gear: after all, he was wearing a new coat, and he came with a wolf. Even though the figure isn't entirely movie-accurate, it's still a cool design, and he did wear something similar in the comics - GI Joe #27, specifically. It's a look no figure has had before, but it makes perfect sense for him, and is a good addition to either a movie or Real American Hero collection.

-- 05/14/10

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