Another summer, another SDCC-exclusive child from a James Cameron movie.
In their effort to eliminate all remaining humans, Skynet sent two Terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. The first was programmed
to strike at his mother Sarah Connor in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was to eliminate John when he was just a child. As before, the Resistance was able to send a lone warrior to protect the boy. The only question was which one would reach him first...
A lifetime of being raised by the world's ultimate doomsday prepper (and then getting left behind when she was committed to a mental hospital) turned John Connor into a sullen, anti-social smartass with too much knowledge and not enough common sense. [So in other words, a perfectly average teenager? --ed.] He was a typically '90s suburban street punk, a rebel who didn't really have anything to rebel against, because that's a personality that's easy to sell to boys. If the movie were being made today, he'd have fallen down a rabbit hole of rightwing YouTube videos and would have been a few days away from finding Sargon or Stefan Molyneux or The Golden One and starting to think White Nationalism was an okay idea when suddenly his life was disrupted by the T-1000's arrival.
John Connor was played by Michael Edwards-- wait, no, that was
the future adult John. Let's try again. John Connor was played by Dalton Abbott-- no, that was John as a toddler in the playground dream. Once more. John Connor was played by Edward Furlong, who was a total Tiger Beat dreamboat to young girls in the early '90s (trust us). NECA wouldn't have made this figure if they didn't have his likeness, so there beneath the floppy hair are the squinty eyes that drove the tweens wild.
One thing they did not have, though? The rights to put the Public Enemy logo on his black T-shirt. Personally, since he's
wearing a green army jacket over the shirt, I'd have been fine with a deco reading "UBLI NEM," since the edges would always be hidden anyway; but I'm no IP lawyer, so presumably even that would have been too close to the real thing; I guess there's no STBLDF when it comes to band logos. The figure's sculpt is credited to Adrienne Smith and who or whatever "NECA South" is, and John's clothes are looking good, from the rolled-up sleeves to the pantlegs tucked into his loose shoes. He's wearing his blue backpack in the packaging, but you can take it off if you want - it's not permanently attached or anything.
I think my figure may have been assembled incorrectly.
For whatever reason, the left leg is about ⅛" longer than the right, meaning he has to be posed with his knee bent slightly if I want his feet to be even. It's unlikely he was sculpted that way, so the most likely culprit is a joint that isn't popped in all the way? It doesn't bug me enough to try disassembling him to try to find out. The figure moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and head. There may be swivels below the elbow hinge (in the forearms) just as there are above it (in the biceps), but if so, they're stuck fast on both arms on mine, and I don't feel like forcing them, just in case.
As mentioned, John's wearing his backpack, but that's far from the only accessory he gets. There's also the little hacking device he used to steal money from an ATM. Made from an Atari Portfolio computer, the hacking tool shows up again later when they're breaking into
Cyberdyne, which probably explains why the next accessory is a Terminator arm in a glass tube. Well, "plastic," but you know what we mean. This isn't the same mold as NECA's existing Endoskeletons, because the hand doesn't need to be shaped to hold a weapon, there doesn't have to be any articulation, and there needs to be some stray crushed metal at the base by the elbow. That's nice stuff, and if we stopped right there, this would be a great exclusive. But there's more!
John is sold in packaging just like the other "Ultimate" T2 figures, but his is much deeper. That's because in its own separate tray behind him, we get his little dirt bike!
Two different ones were used in the film: the mall and street scenes used the 1990 Honda XR80, while the chase scene used the XR100 (stunt driver Bobby Porter was bigger than Furlong, so he rode a larger bike to make the scale look right); since there's no licensing info on the packaging, we can assume enough changes have been made to the toy to keep NECA from having to pay.
For one thing, there's no XR logo in the while "squiggles" on the seat (customizers can paint those on at the same time they paint
the logo on John's T-shirt), and the proportions generally seem slightly "squished," to reduce the size of the final product. Still, this is very much like what we see in the movie, and unless you're going to compare the toy directly to a photo of the real prop, you're unlikely to notice the changes. Same thing we said for the Power Loader.
The bike's wheels roll, and the front fork can turn side to side. The kickstand on the left really functions, but the set also includes a clear stand so the bike can stay upright without it. John's articulation is enough to get him onto the seat, but you'll have to stretch his hands open a little to get them onto the handlebars (and forget about reaching the brakes). Including the bike was entirely unneccessary, but NECA did it anyway.
And on a similar note, the figure also includes an alternate second head. No, it's not windblown bike hair - the only difference between the heads is that this one is wearing a dark bandana tied around its forehead. Why is he wearing that? It's nothing from the film - rather, it's how he looked in Universal Studios' T2-3D: Battle Across Time attraction. Now that's an obscure reference for a toy to make!
When Terminator Salvation came out, its toyline did feature John Connor, but Playmates hadn't paid for anyone's likeness rights, so instead of a rageaholic Christian Bale, all we got was "generic army man with bandana over his face." And thus, just like everyone else on Earth, we're completely ignoring that movie. So the last time we got a John Connor figure was back in the Kenner days. But hey, that one came with his bike, too. And it got a Battle Across Time repaint a few years later. Does that mean this exclusive can join Power Arm Terminator in the ranks of the Kenner homages?