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John Wick

The One:12 Collective
by yo go re

So, does this count as a Fortnite toy?

An attempt to resume a quiet civilian life is cut short for John Wick when Italian gangster, Santino D'Antonio, shows up on his doorstep and compels him to repay past favors. Chaos unfolds as John soon realizes there is a bounty on his head. Highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, John Wick is also a master tactician and marksman who will do what he needs to survive.

Honestly, John Wick Chapter 2 was not as good as the first movie, but it was still better than most action movies, and about 40 times more stylish. The original was all about justified revenge; with that out of the way, Chapter 2 had to re-justify itself, but it felt emptier. Still, a John Wick is a John Wick, so it doesn't matter which particular movie it's from. If JW2 is the one Mezco got the license for, then so be it!

The original script was pitched as "the worst man in existence finds salvation," and the John Wick character would have been in his late 60s - by using an actor who audiences would recognize from other action movies over a decade removed, the filmmakers were able to cheat the age down a little and still get the point across.

John Wick was played by Keanu Reeves, in his... what, second? third? career comeback. You had the Bill & Ted-era Keanu, then Speed, then The Matrix, and now this. The One:12 Collective line offers some stunning portraiture on its toys, and just like Gal Gadot, this Keanu sculpt looks great. You get your choice of heads: either calm and clean, or tired and bloody.

The thing that keps me away from the One:12 figures usually is the inability of a cloth costume to adequately depict superheroic anatomy - they look like kids wearing pajamas. But a live-action character wearing a bespoke suit? Now that works as softgoods! John's suit is intentionally simple: no embellishments, no patterns, no colors, nothing to draw attention to this assassin. The jacket is single-breasted, with notch lapels and flap pockets (faked on this toy, because real things would be too bulky at scale). The pants appear to be pleated, when they should really have flat fronts. He's wearing a black shirt, a tie, and a vest, which are all separate pieces on the toy. Even his belt is its own little thing! All the buttons on the clothes (two on the jacket, four on each sleeve, five on the vest) are faked, not functional: they merely simulate the look. And this isn't even faked like Spidey's jacket was: if you take the coat off, there's a full vest beneath. If you take it all off, will he have all John Wick's back-tattoos painted on there? I don't know, I'm not trying to wrangle all these tiny clothes off my new doll. The set includes his Manero AutoDate wristwatch, but it's packaged separately in the tray, so you'll have to put it on yourself.

Soft clothes mean the articulation is unimpeded. Mostly unimpeded. No more than a real suit would impede a real body. John moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck. There's a sheet of paper warning you not to flex the body farther than the clothes want to go, lest you rip them, but don't think that means John's poseability is limited - common sense will et you know when you're pushing things more than you should.

The big appeal of One:12 Collective figures can be found in their accessories - you don't buy 'em for their clothes, you buy 'em for their stuff. And oh-ho-ho-ho-boy does John Wick have stuff! He's got a display stand consisting of a large flat disc and a clear adjustable posing arm, but that's just the start of things. For instance, since this figure is based on the second movie, John includes the pit bull he rescued from the animal shelter. The unnamed dog (played by an actor named Burton) is a static piece, without even a simple swivel at the neck. Would hiding a balljoint in the dog's collar really have been so difficult?

But that good boy is just the icing on the cake. John Wick being John Wick, you know he's going to need some weapons, so this toy has an arsenal even the Punisher would envy. What's he got? We'll start simple: there's a knife, a simple KA-BAR Tanto with its textured handle and straight blade. From there, we move on to a pair of Glock 26 compact pistols and a pair of Heckler & Koch P30Ls with custom compensators fitted to the barrels (John's primary sidearm through the first film). All four of those also include extra clips, but they're just for show, not functional; these guns are way too small for removable magazines. For more extreme situations, there are four incendiary grenades. There's a single modified Glock 34 with an extra clip (again, non-functional).

When it comes to slightly heavier arms, we'll start with the machine gun - it appears to be the "AR-15" the Sommelier offered John (actually a Taran Tactical Innovations TR-1 Ultralight), but it appears to have been based on a stock image rather than the prop used in the film: the Trijicon Accupoint scope is right, but the gun's got the wrong stock, wrong grip, and is missing the foregrip and the canted RMR sight. This one does have removable magazines - two of them, and a clip to hold both of them side-by-side for quick reloading. Next is the Kel-Tec KSG shutgun fitted with an EOTech sight he took from Viggo's men in the first movie. That's been made with a sliding forestock, so you can actually have John rack the weapon between shots! Finally, there's a Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun with a MatchSaverZ shell holder mounted on the side. No moving parts on this one, just a solid sculpt.

To enhance the look of the guns in the figure's hands, the set includes four translucent yellow muzzle flash effect pieces. They're each a different shape, but the peg that fits into the barrel of the guns is the same on all of them. Every wanted to see a shotgun daintily fire a single small bullet? Or a Glock belching flame like a dragon? You can do that! Be careful with the effects, though, because the peg that goes into the gun is very thin and very long, and so could easily break if you're too rough with it.

The crown jewel of the set, however, is the wooden trunk John kept all his guns in. You remember, the one he had to dig up to begin his roaring rampage of revenge? Yeah, that. Mezco's included it here, and it looks just like the real prop, with wooden slats, metal supports, and even sculpted handles on the sides. They cheated the latch - the whole thing is attached to the body, rather than any of it moving with the lid - but it still looks fine. The interior is detailed as nicely as the exterior, with notches to hold the long guns, and there are even two removable trays: one with spaces for the handguns and so forth, the other with slots to hold stacks of gold coins.

That's one of the fun world-building things about John Wick: everything, no matter how exotic or mundane, costs One Big Gold Coin. Hotel room? One Big Gold Coin. More guns than a human can carry? One Big Gold Coin. Taxi ride? One Big Gold Coin. A sandwich? One Big Gold Coin. The cost of things would just get in the way of the storytelling, so now every financial transaction can be summed up as "that will be one Money, please." The coins here are grouped into 12 sets of two stacks. And with 15 coins in each stack, that makes a grand total of 360 Big Gold Coins for John Wick to spend.

There are 10 pairs of hands, for plenty of options: one pair of fists, one pair of gun-holding hands, one pair of posing hands, one left karate chop, one right palm strike, one left gun-barrel-holding hand, and one right knife-holding hand. Like Darkseid, John is sold in a stylish tin, in his case black with artsy purple detailing.

John Wick is constantly referred to, in the movies, as Baba Yaga, with the subtitles translating it as "the boogeyman," but that's not right. You're smart, you know Baba Yaga (Баба Яга) is the witch who lives in the house with chicken legs. The word they were looking for was babayka (бабайка) - that's the Russian boogeyman! The two really aren't pronounced very similarly (babayka is pronounced like buh-BIKE-uh, and Baba Yaga is pronounced like Baba Yaga), so how'd they get mixed up? It doesn't really matter, though; call him the Gun-Fu Babadook if you want, this toy will still be awesome. Mezco isn't the only company making John Wick toys, but they may certainly be the best.

-- 08/27/20

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