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GI Joe: Retaliation
by yo go re

It may seem ridiculous that we're reviewing a fourth GI Joe: Retaliation Snake-Eyes, but watching this video reminded me just how much the costume changed between movies.

Ninja Duel Snake-Eyes faces off against arch-enemy Storm Shadow in a sky-high dojo battle. These two ninja masters share a violent history that will lead them to an unknown future where foes may become friends!

Say what you will about the GI Joe movies, they absolutely got the dynamic between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow right. There were a few changes from the story we knew - for instance, they met as kids, rather than as adults - but they hit all the other major beats precisely (though surprisingly quickly, considering that revelations that were doled out years apart in the comics were all laid right out in the first two movies). Now, that doesn't leave a lot of gold for future movies to mine, but would you really have wanted to wait for GI Joe 4 to learn what really happened between them? Or worse yet, they could pull a Golden Compass and leave things to be explained in a sequel that never happens.

The most welcome difference between Rise of Cobra Snake-Eyes and Retaliation Snake-Eyes is, of course, that the newer version doesn't have a mouth. Seriously, what was up with that design? Why did the mute character need rubber lips? This mask features a smooth oral area, but does have the armored chin that seems to have been inherited from Resolute.

Rather than wearing what appeared to be a molded rubber bodysuit and black sweatpants, Retaliation Snake-Eyes is looking much more tactical. The material covering his torso actually appears to be armor now, and not a "Hans & Franz" muscle-suit. There are brown pads over his shoulders that look like leather and appear to be snapped to the chest and back. His spaulders and vambraces are tight-fitting, yet still look like they'd offer some good protection. There's an Arashikage symbol in red on his right shoulder, and the breastplate has a slight blue tint to it, keeping Snakes from being solid black.

Ninja Duel Snake-Eyes has the full assortment of articulation - no corners cut! He has a balljointed head and hips; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, and ankles; and double-hinged knees. He can get into whatever poses you want - even throwing a baseball!

He's armed with two swords, two daggers, a pistol, and the same made-up rifle that came with Cobra Commander. The pistol and one of the knives can be stored on his separate belt, and one of the swords goes into the sheath on his back. Actually, the sheath can either be plugged directly into his back, or it can first be plugged into a larger backpack pad thing that itself can be plugged into his back. Your choice! He also comes with the zipline launcher that a lot of the figures have; his is black, with blue handles and a red projectile. The sword(s) has/have a tan hilt and a black blade, identifying it/them as the special sword Blind Master loaned him.

This is a nice, solid version of Snake-Eyes, made into a real winner by the fact that it's the only truly movie-accurate one. Avoid the one with the big blue wings, but don't shy away from this one.

-- 07/18/14

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