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Rick Hawkins

Predator
by yo go re

NECA? Making a director dressed as a character in one of his film? It'll never work!

If you've seen Predator, you'll remember the members of Dutch's special forces team: there's Carl Weathers; Jesse Ventura; Noble 1980s Injun Stereotype; Bug-Eyes O'Sweatsalot; Forgettable White Hispanic Dude; and Glasses, the annoying guy who tells off-color jokes to people who don't want to hear them, like an over-sexed Michael Scott. Well, Glasses' real name is Rick Hawkins, and the script describes him (by way of introduction) as "the radioman and medic, Irish, street-tough, reading a rolled-up magazine, as if he were a rush hour commuter." Medic? He was the team medic? Maybe if he hadn't died first, he'd have been more useful. Not that you can slap a bandaid on a plasma caster wound, but still.

Hawkins was played by Shane Black, who is far from a household name, but is well-known to hardcore movie fanatics. He's really more of a writer than an actor, being the man behind the scripts for Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and more. Growing tired of the mindless action genre he'd helped define in the '80s, he began playfully tearing it apart with The Last Action Hero, a film that isn't more highly revered simply because it came out too soon (beating Scream to the "let's parody the thing we love" punch by three years) - audiences just weren't ready for it yet.

Hawkins' defining visual trait was that he wore glasses. They weren't real BCGs in the film: they lacked the thick brown frames that had been standard military issue since the '70s, instead being thinner and silver; basically, the costume department just picked something with huge Coke-bottle lenses that would look close enough. The glasses on this toy are a separate mold, glued securely to the head. They're huge enough to take up approximately a third of his face.

As one commentator put it, Hawkins had the physique of a piece of saltwater taffy, so there was no way NECA could just reuse any of the various Dutches (or Smoke Manmuscle), meaning this toy gets a new mold. Being the type of guy who would wear a long-sleeved jacket in the middle of the jungle, Hawkins is wearing a long-sleeved jacket. You only get to see the front of it, though, because he's also wearing the big backpack he carts the team's radio around in. It's a separate piece, though permanently attached, and has various wires running in and out of it.

The camouflage paint apps on the toy are very intricate, tan, brown and black against the olive drab of his uniform, while the two big belts around his waist are a slightly different shade of green, with a touch more blue. The makeup painted on his face is from early in the film, when it was still strong and dark, not after it's worn off while sweating through the jungle heat - even there, you can tell Hawkins was a joker, because instead of trying to break up the lines of his face, he just painted on a big pair of sideburns. What a dork! Probably the only reason he didn't give himself a Groucho mustache is that the makeup would have ended up in his mouth.

The toy has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, and wrists, a balljointed chest, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, swivel boots, and swivel/hinged ankles. One of the shin swivels on my figure was slightly stuck, leaving him looking lopsided - possibly a good thing, because otherwise I might not have realized the boots turned like that.

Hawkins' accessories are simple. Since we can't count the backpack, he's got a submachine gun, a pistol, and a knife. The pistol is supposed to be a Desert Eagle, but it looks more like the M1911 Dillon carried. If that difference bothers you too much, just tuck it into the holster under his left arm and forget about it. In the movie, his SMG was an HK94A3 converted to look like an MP5A3, while this is an actual MP5 - you can tell by the paddle magazine release. The knife is a knife. It can stow on the side of his backpack, which is good, since the hilt is too small for either of his hands.

When Predator was made, none of the actors' contracts included merchandising likeness rights, which is why NECA's had such a tough time getting any figures made (Carl Weathers, for instance, apparently just acts senile whenever they try to approach him to make a deal). So how did they get Hawkins, and why make him an SDCC exclusive? Well, after taking a few years off, Shane Black came back to movies in 2005 with an original detective story, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He not only wrote the script, he also directed it; the movie was a modest success (and was responsible for restarting Robert Downey Jr's career), and eight years later he was given the opportunity to direct Iron Man 3. That led to another personal project - The Nice Guys - and a trip back to his roots for 2018's The Predator. NECA is making toys for The Predator, which means they have an existing relationship with Black and were able to use that to get him to sign off on this toy. He may not have personally had any off-camera connection to 1987's Predator, the way Col. Cameron did for Aliens, but this toy still gets a place on the list of directors.

-- 08/26/18


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