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Ultimate Snake Predator

Predator 2
by yo go re

Time to find that tiny cardboard box for him to hide in again.

Hailing from the infamous Serpent Clan, the Snake Predator specializes in close combat and quick precision strikes. A product of the Yautja underworld, Snake was raised in an environment where the greatest threats were often those closest to him, including his own brother, Viper. After being trained in the deadly arts, Snake went on to become a master assassin for his clan, accepting secret missions from anyone influential enough to barter his services. Elders would often employ his talents in order to gain leverage over an opposing clan, extending their wealth and power. Armed with unique double-blade hand scythes, Snake has no use for clunky plasma casters, which allows his attacks to be silent and undetectable. Though not a true member of the Lost Tribe, Snake is occassionally tasked to oversee and assist with their hunts, since their leader, Greyback, also has a debt to the Serpent Clan... a debt that is to be repaid in highly coveted off-world trophies.

Okay, so in the Shaman Predator review, when we said Tristan Jones wasn't doing the art for these figures anymore, that was wrong: he still had one that was completed and just not released yet. This one doesn't have any of the fun Easter eggs we've seen on his previous boxes: it's just Snake attacking a couple random guys in a Humvee? I mean, you could make up a story about them (they're from Gary Busey's CIA-funded "Other-Worldly Life Forms Program"! they're from Jake Busey's CIA-funded "Project Stargazer"! they're from something not related to the CIA at all! the possibilities are endless!), but ultimately they're just two dudes in a jeep. Straightforward bio on the back, straightforward art on the front.

And that's disappointing, because even as a Penultimate figure, Snake was one of the most visually interesting Lost Tribe Preds. Not only does he not wear armor like most of the others, he's wearing fur! And while that was just sculpted on the previous Snake, here it's softgoods. That's right, actual fuzz strapped to his waist and shoulder.I didn't have a problem with the sculpted fur last time, but I know lots of fans were, like Monkey Boy, looking forward to real fur, and this one delivers. The staple length may be a little long for the scale, but any shorter and it wouldn't lay right on the figure, or even look like fur anymore.

If the scenes on the Lost Tribe ship had been better-lit, the thing that would have stood out about Snake would have been his paint job. The pattern on his skin is intricate and colorful, from the large patches on his legs to the interlocking lines on his big forehead. This figure uses one of the closed-mouth molds, same as the 2012 figure. If you compare this paint to that one, it's not as crisp - but in an "organic coloration" way, not a "painted wrong" way: no more harsh, perfect lines between colors. Also, I never noticed how short his dreadlocks are - they barely touch his shoulders.

Part of the point of the Ultimate Lost Tribe figures is to give us more than we ever got before, and in Snake's case that includes an alternate masked head. Now, since the only previous appearance of the Lost Tribe involved them standing in one spot and then leaving, there's never been a masked Snake Predator. That means it fell to NECA to design one. And boy did they! It's a bit reminiscent of the "Gort" mask, which is suitable since Snake is shown standing next to Guardian in the movie, but it's an all-new design. It's a shiny silver with a little bit of red washed into the deep spots, and has an ultra-sleek design that looks outstanding!This thing definitely looks more like a snake than Boar looks like a pig, that's for sure! You can easily make out some serpentine shapes coming down around the snout, and the forehead has a sculpted pattern that reflects his natural coloration. Love it!

The Penultimate Losties all had balljointed necks, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists and waists, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and balljointed ankles. This new body keeps most of that the same, though trades the elbows for double-hinges, the wrists for swivel/hinges, and adds swivels in the biceps and a balljoint for the chest. So it's not a total reimagining, but just enough of an upgrade to feel superior to a figure you might already have, and thus less of a double-dip for those of us who were collecting a decade ago.

Back in the 2010s, NECA only gave the Lost Predators whatever accessories they had in the film - no more, no less - so Snake had a closed Smart Disc and a closed Combistick, nothing more. This one automatically doubles that by including open versions of both, but it doesn't stop there! For one thing, we get another human skull with spine, and we'll again reiterate that the clever thing would have been to re-release all the Trophy Wall skulls, and then do a new run of that piece for the fans who didn't get it before. And his spear is gold with silver tips? That's new!

But the big change is the pair of Hand Scythes mentioned in the bio, a set of weapons with curved silver blades attached to black handles. There's a long blade on top and a shorter blade on the bottom, almost forming large claws, and the segment lines sculpted along the blade suggest the weapon can contract for storage. They're probably meant to suggest a snake's fangs, but honestly the regular wrist blades do a better job of that.

The update of Snake Predator isn't as exciting as some of the others (oh my god, it just occurred to me that the box art could have had him fighting a Snake Alien! Come on!), But the mask is terrific and the new weapons are cool, so this is better than the last attempt.

-- 05/14/23

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