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5 Absurdly Badass Action Figures of Unlikely Characters
By JM McNab September 27, 2014 655,555 views
Not everybody in an action film gets to be the hero.
Sometimes you're just the dork flailing around in the background, only existing to further the plot or make the hero look even better by comparison. The problem is, toy companies still have to figure out how to market and sell Out-of-shape Asthmatic Henchman #3 to the kids.
That's how we ended up with....
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#5. Dennis Nedry (Jurassic Park)
From Obese IT Guy to Ripped Dinosaur Hunter
Portly actor Wayne Knight is best known as Newman on Seinfeld, Michael Jordan's publicist/exact physical opposite in Space Jam, and the guy who looked at a vagina in Basic Instinct. His biggest claim to fame, however, is as computer technician Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park, aka the asshole who sets in motion the whole plot by trying to steal some baby dinosaurs. As a result of his machinations, all the dinosaurs are set free -- one of which spits a black goop on his face and eats him.
Nedry's surprisingly buff action figure, however, suggests that the character not only managed to escape the attack but immediately hit the gym and came back to the island to chew bubblegum and punch dinosaurs. And brother? He's all out of bubblegum.
"All that empty sugar? F*k that; gotta keep lean."
Nedry's nerdy (we see what you did there, Jurassic Park) glasses have been replaced with cool shades. His shitty windbreaker is now a fashionable green turtleneck sweater with '70s cop-style shoulder-holster. He comes equipped with a "tranq-spray gun" instead of diabetes.
But perhaps most baffling is the fact that Nedry now comes with his own pet dilophosaurus -- the same species that murdered him in the movie.
According to the guy who sculpted this figure, the reason Nedry looks completely different from the actor is that he had to create the prototype before the movie was cast.
This being the early '90s, he of course couldn't just Google "who are they casting as Nedry I hope he's not fat and dorky."
This is like packaging Bambi's mother with a shotgun.
#4. Edgar Friendly (Demolition Man) --
From Scruffy Comic Relief to American Gladiator
Remember when stand-up comedian, frequent new-truck describer, and self-proclaimed asshole Denis Leary showed up in the 1993 Stallone movie Demolition Man?
That's OK. He probably doesn't either.
Leary played Edgar Friendly, the unwashed leader of a resistance movement in the year 2032 -- a "utopian" future where everyone is basically Ned Flanders, while Friendly and his rebels dress like hobos and live in the sewer. So it was kind of a surprise when his action figure gave him accessories like a crew cut, an addiction to steroids, and a woman's swimsuit.
Dignity sold separately.
Forget the fact that this looks nothing like Leary. This character is supposed to be the leader of an underground resistance, but he looks like an American Gladiator going as Borat for Halloween.
He even comes with his own gun for Assault.
The character's muscular physique and lack of appropriate clothing make a lot more sense when you find out that, instead of creating an original Demolition Man toy series, Mattel cheaped out and literally repainted some old He-Man action figures. This was originally a guy called Tatarus, which is somehow less disturbing than "Edgar Friendly." We're gonna assume that Rob Schneider's action figure is just an even more punchable Orko.
#3. Captain Hook (Hook) --
From Sad Old Man to Walking Armory
Steven Spielberg's Hook is the story of an elderly, balding amputee who is constantly terrorized by a gang of teenagers. The whole point of the movie is that we are now seeing Captain Hook through Peter Pan's adult eyes, and it's a pretty pathetic vision.
That's why they got short, mumbling, 53-year-old Dustin Hoffman to play him and not Jean-Claude Van Damme or something. Hoffman's take on the character was less "terrifying pirate supervillain" and more "your old spinster aunt after a few drinks."
So it was a little out of left field when the action figure turned Hook into a badass killing machine with giant blades coming out of every orifice.
You can also attach a crossbow to the sword that shoots bolts with ninja star heads.
While Hoffman was never topless on screen, it's probably safe to assume he didn't have crazy, rock-hard robot abs. Also, the movie was called Hook -- not Hook, Gun, Ax, Robot Sword, Assault Rifle, and Mechanical Dragon Claw. Though, we have to admit, we would totally go see that one.
This wasn't a fluke, either: an alternate Captain Hook figure gave him golden armor with twin shoulder-mounted cannons, like a pirate-ship Transformer.
Which in fairness is still more logical than Transformers 4.
It didn't stop with Captain Hook -- Bob Hoskins' subservient character, Smee, came with giant scissors for cutting people in half. Somebody looked at Smee and thought, "You know what, this guy seems like he'd split a kid in two."
And, oddly enough, we can sort of see it. Good call, stoned-out-of-your-mind action-figure designer.
** Bonus - "I found an image of the 'Smee' figure, mentioned, and had to share" - Kat
#2. Jeff Goldblum Characters (Independence Day, Jurassic Park) --
From Math-Knower to Cyber-Warrior
Jeff Goldblum is your go-to Hollywood math guy. You got a math that needs mathing somewhere in your movie? Hit the Goldblum button on your speed-dial and call it a day.
But since the action Goldblum gets isn't the kind that's appropriate to market to children, toys of his characters have been reworked to make him the toughest matherfucker on the planet. Independence Day's David Levinson, for example, is supposed to be an MIT-educated genius, fervent environmentalist, and slightly nervous Jewish guy ... but you probably wouldn't guess that from the action figure by Trendmasters.
His hands have permanent trigger finger.
Note the cybernetic armor (for surfing the net, presumably) and grappling-hook-launching bazooka. It also comes with a floppy disk, which in his hands is the deadliest of all weapons.
Here are some things Goldblum's character, Ian Malcolm, does in the Jurassic Park movies: gets knocked out after encountering one dinosaur, spends half the first movie sprawled out on a table like a Playboy centerfold, and lets his 12-year-old daughter do all the ass-kicking in the second movie, using the awesome power of gymnastics.
Here are some things he doesn't do: fly in a weaponized glider ...
Never a good sign when you're listed as an accessory in your own action-figure set.
... and trade his black leather for fluorescent superhero tights and a "dino-mech armor claw."
Your sculptors were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.
We're starting to piece together the puzzle here. Some poor intern accidentally ordered two million extra robot claws, and the '90s action-figure industry spent the next 10 years trying to get rid of them any way they could.
#1. The Cast of Godzilla (1998) --
From Regular Folks to Full-On Battle Psychopaths
The 1998 Godzilla remake found Ferris Bueller and half the cast of The Simpsons battling the titular creature through the streets of Manhattan. As you might guess, these were primarily comedic characters: Matthew Broderick played nerdy scientist Nick, and Hank Azaria was a cameraman improbably nicknamed "Animal." Here's what he did for most of the movie:
As did the audience.
But that's OK, because these characters don't really need to be tough. Their main function in the story is running away from Godzilla -- only a complete maniac would try to fight a mutant lizard the size of the Empire State Building one-on-one.
A complete maniac like this psychotic action figure of Azaria's character:
Tip: If a rocket launcher and a cannon aren't doing the trick, the handgun probably won't help much.
Yep, that's the guy who voices Moe the bartender riding a rocket-launching dirtbike and firing wildly in three different directions while dressed like some sort of post-apocalyptic reboot of Paperboy.
Some say if you put the box to your ear, you can still hear Azaria laughing at the reveal of his very first action figure.
Then there's Broderick's scientist character, who in action-figure form drops the dowdy flannel look for skin-tight black leather. Go ahead and do it: picture Broderick in a gimp suit.
He also now has an arsenal of weapons, beyond that one microscope that he used in the movie.
How else do you climb Mt. Godzilla?
Anyway, we're looking forward to the action figures from the new Godzilla.
We hear Bryan Cranston has a laser-firing skateboard.
J.M. McNab writes and podcasts for Rewatchability.com. You can also find him on Twitter