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Thermal Vision Fugitive Predator

The Predator
by yo go re

"Now, let's go over to the Super Doppler Weather Center where Kristie Kubovic is keeping an eye on this weekend's big storm."

Predators have been genetically evolving themselves to be stronger, smarter and more lethal than ever before. When a young boy accidentally activates a mysterious alien device and becomes the target of these enhanced Predators, only his father and the most unlikely ragtag band of crazy ex-military agents can save him - and the human race from obliteration.

That's missing a dash, isn't it? The fragment "and the human race" is an aside within the sentence "save him from obliteration," so the text should really read "save him - and the human race - from obilteration," with a closing dash between "race" and "from." If you want to use a single dash to separate two (mostly) full sentences (taking the place of a semicolon, basically) then they both still need to be able to (mostly) stand on their own - "and the human race from oblivion" is not something that could be read alone own and still make sense. So some 20th Century Fox marketing department copyeditor somewhere left out a little line that should have been there, and inadvertantly gave us something to talk about for an entire paragraph.

Shane Black returned to the world of Predator in 2018, writing and directing the newest entry in the series. The movie is... well, it's not terrible, and if you're willing to lean into the sillier ideas, it's decently goofy fun. Obviously NECA got the license (because why wouldn't they?), and wasted no time releasing the "Fugitive" Predator, this new film's take on the standard Pred. They also released an exclusive "Thermal Vision" variant at Target, based on the movie poster. Well, I've got enough plain Predators already, so this ridiculous weather-map-lookin' one was much more appealing.

The toy is molded from translucent blue plastic, with orange, yellow, green, and two tones of blue painted on the body in carefully chosen splotches. There were complaints about the design from some fans, but they're easy to dismiss. "Why is the paint only on the front, and not the back?" So more light can shine through. "Why would there be red hot spots on his mask and armor?" Absolutely no reason, but take that up with whoever designed the poster, not with NECA. They were going for a specific look, and that's what they delivered.

Thermie uses the same mold as the regular release, though you'll be hard-pressed to actually appreciate any of the details Adriene Smith and Kyle Windrix sculpted on there since the paint is hiding it rather than accentuating it. But run your fingers over it (or, you know, turn it around and look at the back, which is unpainted) and you'll see it's all there: the net bodysuit, the rough skin, the chainmail-ish pattern on the armor, etc. For some reason, the armor plates on the thighs are separate pieces that slide onto the body. You won't want to take them off, though, because that would mess up the paint.

The Predator is 8½" tall, and highly articulated: he moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The elbows are the double-swivel/hinge ones that NECA's been using of late, while the knees have two hinges and a single swivel at the top. The plasma caster on his right shoulder is mounted on a little arm with hinges at both ends, and is held in place by a tiny balljoint. A few of the joints were slightly stiff out of the box, but in a "push it a little harder" way, not in a "dunk it in boiling water" way. Plus, nothing broke and nothing is loose, so this counts as a win in our book.

The standard version of this figure had alternate (unarmored) forearms, an alternate unmasked head, and four wrist blades. All this one gets are the blades. That feels a bit light, doesn't it? I know the point is to ape the poster, but at least give us a head. Make up the paint pattern that would go on it, just like you did everything below the knees. The blades are nice enough - they fit into notches on the gauntlets - but the head would have been a lot more fun.

The Thermal Vision Predator is a Target exclusive, taking advantage of NECA's increased presence there. It never showed up at my store (and O dear reader, do I have words to say about that! ...some other time), and even when I did find one, I wasn't sure I wanted it. The unique colorscheme won me over. Not the first time that's happened. Maybe Arkham Batman is having his own Dead End moment.

-- 03/14/19

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