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Predator 2

Movie Maniacs VI
by Poe Ghostal

When it came to movies, I was something of a precocious kid. Very early on I developed an affinity for R-rated films. Part of that was almost certainly marketing; when Kenner makes an action figure line for Robocop, one can't help but suspect a little Joe-Camel-like scheming on the part of the movie industry. But that film, along with Aliens, Predator and the Terminator flicks, were the meat and potatoes of my cinematic youth.

Despite the crappy sequel, Predator has maintained a following almost as faithful as that of its sister Fox property, Aliens. When McFarlane Toys started its Movie Maniacs line back in 1998, Predator (and Aliens) seemed like a natural match. But due to licensing issues, it wasn't until last year that Todd & Company scored the coveted alien NRA member and his phallic-headed foe. McFarlane's first foray into this license was last year's Alien & Predator two-pack, which featured a well-sculpted but under-articulated rendition of the Predator from the first film.

McFarlane followed this up with this year's Movie Maniacs series, which consists entirely of Aliens and Predators. First up is the Predator himself - this time in his Deuce duds. McFarlane seems to have heard the voice of fans and has given this Predator a Marvel Legends-level of articulation. Shoulders, hips and neck, yes, but also balljoints galore. 23 points, all told. It's an amazing amount of articulation - probably too much.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the sculpt. This has always been McFarlane's best area, and as usual, "Predator 2" (as this figure is officially named) shines. Personally I don't like the design of the second Predator nearly as much as the first, but I can't fault them for accuracy. However, the massive amount of articulation does cause the sculpt to suffer a bit, particularly in the torso and the gawky shoulder articulation. But the sculpt is excellent, and the paint apps are equally impressive and detailed. One can rarely fault McFarlane here. The armor has the right "antiquated bronze" tone, though I'm not too fond of the bright green blood.

Yes, blood. As opposed to the other Predator 2 figure in Movie Maniacs 6 (dubbed "Predator the Hunter"), this one has some battle damage. There are wounds on his chest and abdomen, all painted two-tone neon green. Additionally, allowing you to re-create the scene where Danny Glover chops his adversary's arm off, the toy's left forearm is removable. It's packaged separately in the tray, and connects to the arm proper by way of two small black pegs. The meaty interior is again painted bright green.

The figure has pectoral movement, much like the Marvel Legends Hulk, but it also has some very interesting bicep articulation; rather than having a joint cut straight through, the bicep is shaped to fit the balljoint of the shoulder. It looks better than a peg joint, but it also means the left shoulder pad is prone to popping off with every movement.

Then there are the accessories. These are rather a mixed bag. The helmet is made of soft rubber, and it doesn't "grip" the head very well. It also looks a little large for the body, which may be a result of its being removable (such things always suffer at this scale). Also, the helmet is attached to the figure by a wire. This may be movie-accurate, but it also makes the helmet prone to popping off, due to pressure from the figure's dreadlocks.

The discus is a rather dull accessory. Supposedly it can be stored on the figure's right thigh, but again, the rubbery nature of the holster makes it prone to popping off. Like the first Predator figure, "Predator 2" also sports a right gauntlet with projectable claws. These seem a little short on this figure.

But the worst is the rotating laser cannon. It's on some kind of bizarre rotating contraption and is extremely loose. It will move at the slightest touch or tremor. There is no aiming it, or even simply pointing it over his shoulder - all it will ever do is droop limply against his back.

Overall, while the sculpt is incredible and the articulation ambitious, this figure is disappointing. I'd hoped for more. Part of my disappointment may be tied to my inherent dislike of Predator 2 the film, but I do think this figure is something of an unfortunate mess-up. Perhaps we'll see a better-articulated Predator from the first film sometime in the near future, but I won't hold my breath.

-- 05/23/03

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