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Snake Plissken

Movie Maniacs 3
by yo go re

We started this month by reviewing the Ghost of Lo Pan; it only seems fitting that we end the month by reviewing Kurt Russell.

S.D. Plissken. American. Lieutenant, Special Forces Unit "Black Light." Two Purple Hearts: Leningrad and Siberia. Youngest man to be decorated by the President. He robbed the Federal Reserve Depository... life sentence, New York Maximum Security Penitentary.

Movie Maniacs 3 was primarily known for one thing: Ash. But it was also the series where McFarlane really strayed away from horror icons, bringing us things like Shaft and Snake Plissken. John Carpenter's Escape from New York was made in 1981, but was set in the bleak and unimaginable future of 1997. But this figure is based on 1996's Escape from LA, which was set in the even bleaker and less imaginable future of 2013. Why make a toy of that, and not the movie people actually liked? Because the rights were less convoluted - New York had gone through lots of different owners and holding companies, while L.A. was right there for the taking (and probably cheap as hell, since, coming out a month after Independence Day, it was not the kind of movie anybody wanted to see).

But what that doesn't answer is why McToys chose this outfit to make. I mean, they had the rights to Army of Darkness, but still put Ash in the costume that would work for Evil Dead II, you know? But for Snake [Snake? SNAAAAKE?! --ed.], they went with a weird mix of costumes: he's wearing the black tank top with the zippers by the shoulders, the knee-high boots with metal plates on the front, and the grey camo pants (worn because he was a veteran of a war in Siberia) that all come from the first film; but the black trenchcoat and the gun belt are from the sequel. Imagine if NECA released a Ripley who was wearing her Alien jumpsuit, but had the haircut from Alien³ and the vest from Resurrection. It'd be weird, wouldn't it? That's basically what McFarlane did here.

And why wouldn't he just include the brown New York coat? It appeared in LA. Literally. When the first movie wrapped, Kurt Russel took the costume home and hung it in his closet; when the sequel came around, he pulled it out and brought it back to the set. The figure's coat is made from a fairly stiff PVC. It's flexible, but not that flexible. To get it on and off the figure, his arms pull out at the shoulder - at least, they're supposed to. The pegs are really tight, so it's actually easier to pop the peg off the arm (it's merely glued into a square hole) and leave it in place in the torso, using the friction on the other end to hold the arms in place. Anyway, the point is, they could have given him his brown jacket too.

Like we said, Snake Plissken was played by Kurt Russell, who, until Escape from New York and The Thing, was mostly known for being a light actor in various Disney comedies - it was John Carpenter who turned him into a badass. The likeness here is terrible, though: it's only the hair and eyepatch that make it clear who this is supposed to be. Given the way McFarlane Toys' Bruce Campbell turned out, maybe we shouldn't be surprised.

The figure is posed in a squat, with one arm held straight out to aim his gun and the other hanging down at his side. McToys was all "scale? What's that?" with this figure, because he still stands over 6½" tall. He'd be almost 8" tall if he stood upright - Kurt Russell is 5'11", not a giant. It wouldn't be the last time they'd have problems understanding that people bent over should be smaller than ones standing up. He has some swivel joints, but the only ones that matter are his wrists and waist.

In addition to the coat and the removable gun belt, Snake comes with three accessories: his two Smith & Wesson Model 22147 revolvers, and the "Coreburner," which was made from a heavily modified M16. The handguns appeared in both films, but the machine gun was only in the second. The .44s do fit in his holsters, kind of, but their scopes are painted green instead of red. Additionally, the proportions of the Coreburner are screwed up: it should be shorter than this.

The figure was intended to come with the computer watch that served as a timer and homing device, but a significant number of figures shipped without it - the entire first shipment was missing the piece, so you had to wait for later waves for it to show up. If you really want a complete figure, look for the packaging variation that has him with his coat off: you'll be able to easily see his wrist, and whether or not he's wearing the watch.

Earlier this year, NECA released one of their Mego-knockoff retro figures of an Escape from New York Snake Plissken, with the promise that if it sold well, that might prove there was enough interest for them to make a real version. Sadly, it looks like it didn't and there wasn't, so right now, this rather mediocre offering is the best Snake you can get. Because it's the only Snake you can get.

-- 10/30/15

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