Toy Review: ReAction Figures

10732482_10204261536474333_1233187444_oReAction Figures are here!

ReAction figures are a new series of 3.75 inch figures by Funko/Super 7 made in a deliberately retro style, minimalistic style with 5 points of articulation (head, shoulders, hips). This is a style that was popular from the late 70’s –mid 80’s (think classic Kenner Star Wars figures).

Currently, they have many different lines based on a variety of popular properties from the past that usually didn’t have their own toy lines in this scale back when many us 30-40 something ageing geeks were kids, but should have. Current toy lines include: Alien, The Rocketeer, Back to the Future, Terminator, and Predator. There is a series based on the Universal Monsters and slightly more modern classic movie monsters such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Pinhead and Ghostface. Joss Whedon properties such as Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are also getting the ReAction treatment.

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Most of these figures are available from online retailers and of course, eBay and Amazon. However, lately they have been cropping up in your standard “brick and mortar” retail chains, and I’m not just talking about stores like Spencers and Hot Topic that try too hard to be hip, I have personally seen the Alien and Rocketeer figures at Wal Mart, and the Firefly ones at Target. I have also heard reports of Back to the Future and the Universal Monsters at Target as well.

10744023_10204261538434382_417466054_oThese figures are a real mixed bag in terms of quality. One of the best lines in the series is the Alien one, based on the original 1979 Ridley Scott film. This is because it is a re-creation of an actual planned line of toys based on that film by Kenner, which (with the exception of one oversized Alien Xenomorph figure) never made it past the prototype stage once the toy execs figures out that the film wasn’t exactly appropriate for children. Because these toys are faithful re-creations of authentic Kenner prototypes, they nail that retro toy vibe perfectly. Walking the fine line between detail and simplicity.

In a lot of the other toy lines, I think they tip the scale too far in favor of simplicity, resulting in some toys looking a bit too crude. The toys of the era they are trying to re-create were only sculpted so crudely primarily because plastic injection molding technology was not what is today, so they could not make such small toys all that detailed. However, they often tried their best and sometimes managed to squeeze a surprising amount of detail in to those vintage toys, I fear that this is a nuance (admittedly difficult to reproduce) lost on many of the sculpts on these ReAction Figures, which I feel look cruder than these toys probably would’ve had they really fallen through a vortex from an alternate reality where these toy lines existed when these properties were current.

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I do think that some of the Universal Monster figures are also pretty well done, possibly because Universal is very protective of the merchandising for these monsters? I do question WHY they made the Universal Monster line to begin with, since there really was a (very well done) line of 3.75 scale Universal Monsters figures in the early 80’s from Remco. However, this new ReAction series is giving us some Universal Monster characters that Remco never did, such as the Bride of Frankenstein and the Invisible Man. However, having this line included in the range allows horror fans to potentially have all the classic movie monsters from Universal and their more modern slasher film counterparts, plus monster-ish characters like Alien, Predator and Terminator all together in the same scale and similar style for the ultimate monster mash, which is pretty darned cool.

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I personally own 4 of these figures. The Alien “Xenomorph”, Predator, and the Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon (AKA the Gillman).

The Alien is probably my favorite. I was lucky enough to own the large sized alien figure Kenner put out back in the day and this is very much a faithful recreation in a smaller scale, right down to the glow –in –the dark “evil brains” and retractable inner jaws. It has a nice amount of detail and is a sturdy toy.

10429794_10204261539474408_1184745349_oThe Predator is good looking figure , but I am very disappointed that his shoulder cannon and massive alien dreadlocks prevents him from turning his head. There is also an “invisible “ (clear plastic) version of this figure. It’s a great idea, but I’ve been burned too many times by discoloration happening to clear figures I’ve owned in the past to bite.

There is also an open mouthed (which looks awesome!) and closed mouth unmasked Predator, as well as the masked one that I personally own. I just wish they had given us a figure of Schwarzenegger’s character from the film, and maybe some of the other commandos in his unit.

The Mummy is a nice figure too, highly detailed; this figure is based on the original Boris Karloff Mummy film featuring the mummy Imhotep, rather than the mummy Kharis that appeared in the other films in the series. Imhotep only appears in this wrapped up, traditionally mummy-like form in the very beginning o f the film, but it is a powerful, memorable scene and the Kharis movies are kind of rubbish anyway, so nobody is really chomping at the bit for an action figure of him!

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The Creature from the Black Lagoon is also nicely detailed. Mine has an arm that seems a little loose though.

10732224_10204261539114399_1511302616_oThe Terminator line gets bonus points for finally giving us a Sarah Connor figure for the Terminator to pursue, and a Kyle Reese figure with a real cloth overcoat. There is also a nice chromed variant of the T-800 Endoskeleton, but I have heard that these are brittle and the arms easily break off, sometimes when still in the package! Clearly, they still have not worked out all the bugs on these toys.

However, when they do get them right, they really hit them out of the park. I do salute the spirit behind this toy line. They know to tease the dollars out of even the stingiest of us old timers (that would be me!) by playing on our nostalgic, geeky heart strings like it was a harp from hell.

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