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Tag Archive: Pulp Fiction


New metallic Alien figure   New Ripley figure Funko

Entertainment Earth is now shipping pretty much all of its gigantic, multi-franchise line of action figures inspired by the Kenner line of Star Wars action figures from the 1970s.  Many aren’t aware that Ridley Scott’s Alien had its own line of figures by Kenner, developed and ready to produce until someone realized they were marketing toys to kids based on an R-rated movie most wouldn’t get to see.  Those figures were finally remade by Funko toys and discussed here at borg.com last November.

The success of the Alien line prompted figures from nearly every great sci-fi and horror franchise you can think of except Star Wars:  Firefly, Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Predator, Escape from New York, and Terminator.  Blockbuster horror films including Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and even the cult classic The Crow.  And classic monster films including Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and The Wolfman.  We previewed all of them here.and here and here.  A similar but unrelated toy line is producing its own line of Six Million Dollar Man and The Twilight Zone figures, too.

Facehugger figure   Kane chestburst figure

Make no mistake, these figures aren’t for the discerning high-end collector of photo-real sculpts.  These figures celebrate all things retro in their dated styling and five-points of articulation in a world of figures made today with far more movement and features.

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Jayne Cobb and Vera action figure Firefly Funko ReAction Retro Buffy the Vampire Slayer ReAction figure Funko

Funko’s classic Kenner style 3 and 3/4-inch ReAction series of action figures are sure to be a big focus at Sunday’s annual Toy Fair in New York, and we have a first look at the sculpts and packaging courtesy of Entertainment Earth.  We revealed the new Predator, Terminator, Escape from New York, Rocketeer, and The Nightmare Before Christmas figures here at borg.com last week, and we couldn’t be more excited about the rest of the line of 1980s style action figures.

The rest of the figures include Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Pulp Fiction, the Universal Monsters, Horror Classics, Goonies, and The Crow.

Some highlights can be found in the Firefly line.  Zoe’s sculpt looks particularly well done, Wash comes with his toy dinosaurs, and Jayne comes with his favorite weapon: Vera.  Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes with his guitar.  Hellraiser’s Pinhead comes with a tiny puzzle cube.  And Bruce Willis finally gets an action figure–his Pulp Fiction character is wearing his dad’s watch from the film.  Several characters are represented in the Pulp Fiction line, but no Christopher Walken, yet.  There’s no Xander from Buffy, either, or Josh Brolin’s character from Goonies, or a River or Simon for the Firefly line.

ReAction Funko The Crow Eric Draven figure  Pulp Fiction ReAction figures Funko

Each of these can be pre-ordered from Entertainment Earth at the early bird prices by clicking on the images below.  We’re betting this first line will be a big success and that Funko will move on to expand these lines and add more licensed properties in the future.  Check out these great series:

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Predator masked ReAction figure card   Escape from New York Snake Plissken figure card

Funko toys figured out the secret to the collectible action figure, and their new line of licensed action figures that launched last month with the Alien line is beginning to take shape.  Entertainment Earth has just released photos of the action figure sculpts and cards for several of their new series: Escape from New York, Predator, Terminator, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Rocketeer.  The action figures begin shipping in April, and you can pre-order them now.  Keep checking back here at borg.com as we reveal the new sculpts and cards for other series in the line, including Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Universal Studios Classic Monsters, Firefly, Goonies, Pulp Fiction, Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Halloween, and The Crow.  It’s the biggest ever mass release of multiple franchise action figures.  And all of the first line of figures are available for pre-order now.

T800 Terminator action figure ReAction retro card   T800 Endoskeleton

The new retro ReAction figures from Funko are stylized as 3 3/4-inch figures from the “golden age” of action figures, with approximately five points of articulation, accessories, and period-authentic blister card packaging.  These intentionally are not photo-real images like you might find in modern action figure lines.

Rocketeer ReAction figure card   Jack Skellington Nightmare Before Christmas action figure card

Funko figured out that classic packaging and nostalgia are what many fans are after, not a picture-perfect sculpt.  Compare the original 1970s Star Wars action figure line–the clear inspiration for the new ReAction line–to the 1980s updated Star Wars line or even the current Star Wars Black Series line that has been updated yet again.  If you still prefer the 1970s figures to today’s series, then the new ReAction line is for you.  Here is an early look at a few of the figures:

Predator masked sculpt Terminator ReAction figure sculpt Snake Plissken figure ReAction sculpt

We first mentioned the ReAction line here at borg.com back in November with news of the Alien release.  Since then they released the full Alien series and they look great, including these:

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Zero Cool cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Just two years before he would become a well-known breakout author with 1971’s Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton wrote his fifth novel under the pseudonym John Lange, Zero Cool.  This is one of eight novels Crichton wrote in his medical school days reprinted in a new edition thanks to Titan Books’ Hard Case Crime series, and it is second in our series of reviews of these classic, “lost” novels.

Zero Cool is definitely a product of the late 1960s.  Unlike Crichton’s bulky, techno-babble filled later works, Zero Cool reads like a quick pulp novel you’d read years ago on the Greyhound bus between towns.  Completely escapist fun, its hero, American radiologist Peter Ross, is visiting places you might find in an Ian Fleming James Bond novel or Michael Dibdin’s Zen novels, and there are plenty of luxurious European settings he finds himself in over the course of the book. Crichton’s writing is tight and he seems to be close to mastering his pattern for storytelling, mixing otherwise unrelated worlds that culminate with some strange resolution you can’t see coming.

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Fruit Brute Pulp Fiction

It’s a classic group of cereals that includes the only cereal that’s in the borg.com Hall of Fame: The good ol’ cyborg Frankenberry.  And they are all magically… er… frightfully delicious.  Or at least pretty much as you remember them from eating breakfast as a kid.  You probably remember that chocolate milk making Count Chocula and the blueberry Boo Berry, along with the strawberry flavored Frankenberry.  These classic marketing cartoon character mascots are recognizable to generations of kids whose moms let them eat ’em (thanks, Mom!).  Here are there original box covers:

count-chocula boo-berry franken-berry

But if you’re like me, your grocery store never carried Fruit Brute or Fruity Yummy Mummy.  Here is what they looked like back when they were originally released:

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Red 2 long banner

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s interesting that the publicity folks for RED 2 have stressed in their latest movie trailer no Robots, Monsters, or Superheroes.  Although we’re not so sure RED 2 isn’t chock full of its own breed of superhero, it’s true you’ll find no monsters or robots here.  RED 2, previewed at borg.com here, is definitely not like any other film creating waves this summer.  But it is the most fun you’ll have at any movie this year.

You don’t need to ask, for example: Were too many people killed in the movie’s finale (as with Man of Steel)?  Or lower your normal standards a bit to allow yourself to just plain have fun watching a giant robot take on a giant monster from the ocean’s depths (as with Pacific Rim).  Or struggle with friends over whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch was cast appropriately as a sci-fi villain (as with Star Trek Into Darkness).  With RED 2, you don’t have to think about all those things that distract you from just having a good time.  Do the heroes kill a lot of people in RED 2?  You bet, and we like it that way.

Red 2 clip A

What RED 2 will make you do is think about where it stands in the line-up of the best of Bruce Willis’s movies.  When was the last time you saw such a good Bruce Willis film that made you work through that analysis?  The reality is that Bruce Willis’s performance as retired spy Frank Moses in RED 2 is up there with his first run as John McClane in the original Die Hard, and we haven’t seen him play a character this cool since Pulp Fiction.  Pull up your Netflix queue and take a second look at him in Striking Distance, Twelve Monkeys, and The Fifth Element and you might just add RED 2 to your list of Best of Bruce keepers.

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Django Unchained - Still A

By C.J. Bunce

How does a Western get nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award in 2013? As recently as two years ago the remake of True Grit was nominated for Best Picture and nine other nominations—but did not net a single win.  But would it have been nominated if it hadn’t been directed by the quirky directing duo of Joel and Ethan Coen?  Five years earlier Brokeback Mountain, a film with a Western—or at least a cowboy– theme was also nominated for Best Picture, winning three of eight nominations.  It took director Ang Lee and a completely non-Western plot for that to happen.  Then you have to go back to Unforgiven in 1992, which actually won Best Picture and four of nine of its nominations, to find the last major, critically acclaimed Western.

What made Unforgiven win?  Certainly by supplying one of the two most popular Western actors of all time as the film’s lead helped, even if it was one of his more bland performances, with Clint Eastwood also serving as director. (Yes, John Wayne still remains the #1 most popular Western actor ever).  But more importantly, like the few notable Westerns since, it had a very non-standard plot for a Western.  With its gunfighter-turns-farmer-turns-gunfighter-one-last-time story, it was basically a dark sequel to John Wayne’s Angel and the Badman.  You could keep going—back to Dances with Wolves in 1990, an example of the “epic Western” which seemed to reward the director and acting efforts of rising star Kevin Costner more than the movie as a Western genre masterpiece.  Or back to Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid in 1969, probably the last classic era Western to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, winning five awards, including a key win for the script by William Goldman.  Then go back to the also-quirky Cat Ballou in 1965 starring Jane Fonda—the rare Western notable for featuring a female lead.

Going back even further gets you into the classic era of Westerns, and throws you into the strange era of “epic Westerns” getting recognized by the Academy.  These were movies that in hindsight are really not as well done as many smaller pictures of the period, but their huge all-star casts and expensive sets made the films hard to ignore, such as How the West Was Won, The Alamo, and Giant.  Surprisingly you have to look back to the adaptation of Louis L’Amour’s Hondo starring John Wayne in 1953 to get back to the era of the “hero Western” as recipient of an Academy nod, a film up there with Shane and High Noon as successful and admired Westerns receiving acclaim by the Academy.

Schultz and Django

But if you put aside the classic Western and look at what has been selected by the Academy since the 1960s it makes a lot of sense that Quentin Tarentino’s Django Unchained is not only a Best Picture nominee this year, but a real contender for the win.  Set in the South two years before the Civil War, the film follows a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) whose past owners lead him to meet up with German-born, dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).  Schultz’s next target is the wanted-dead-or-alive Brittle brothers, and only Django can help him literally recognize his bounty.  Schultz serves as mentor in survival and pursuit skills for Django who is squarely focused on rescuing long-lost wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).  The search ultimately leads to a more complicated than necessary scheme to buy Broomhilda from infamous plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), if only his loyal house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) will not stand in the way.

So what is the formula for a successful Western in the 21st century and why should Django Unchained make the cut?

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Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton, founder of team G.I. Joe?  That’s just what the franchise needs to re-ignite interest as we approach the 50th anniversary of the guy that launched the modern action figure.

G.I. Joe has gone through several incarnations since “America’s movable fighting man” was released as a 12-inch action figure by Hasbro in 1964.  He started out as one of four U.S. Service soldiers.  In 1970 with the Vietnam War all over television Hasbro switched gears to Joe as member of the Adventure Team, when the action figure also got “life-like” hair.  (Personally, I had the army soldier with the brown beard and later added the dark-haired soldier without the beard).  Here are 12-inch Joes landing at Comic-Con this year:

In 1974 G.I. Joe got the famous kung fu grip to replace the hard plastic, reversed-hand that had served as Hasbro’s trademark (and was actually used to catch international imports of fake Joes).  He always had a trademark facial scar, too.  Hey, so did Willis in Hart’s War

 

In 1975, to compete with the popular 12-inch Six Million Dollar Man action figure, Hasbro introduced Mike Power, the Atomic Man.  These two characters duked it out on many occasions in living rooms across the country.  The last of the original Joes was released in 1976.  In 1982 G.I. Joe would return in 3 3/4 inch action figures, closer in size to the popular Star Wars action figure line, but with knee and elbow joints.    In 1985 these little G.I. Joe figures were the top selling American toy.  They have been available in varying versions ever since, and between 1991 and 2005 the 12-inch line of figures returned.

Meanwhile between 1980 and 1994 Marvel Comics had a G.I. Joe title that mirrored the action figure line.  In 1985 a cartoon series focused on good (G.I. Joe) vs. evil (Cobra) as opposed to true-life war.  In the cartoon G.I. Joe became synonymous with an early Seal Team Six type of special forces.  This was followed by various animated movies, including many that went direct to video.  In 2009 G.I. Joe finally hit the silver screen in the movie G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra, a good action movie that didn’t take itself too seriously, had a lot of great action, great writing, and–with a lot of references to the original Joe story and toys–was just all-out fun.

So who is Joe Colton?  It wasn’t until the 1980s that the action figures and cartoon characters got their own names, origins, and developed stories.  For decades there never was a single action figure or character named Joe, consistent with the historic reference to the G.I.s as G.I. Joes from years past, derived from an earlier comic strip with no relation to the Hasbro line.  General Joseph B. Colton did not appear as a named character with the early toy line, or with the animated series, but surfaced with the Marvel Comics comic book series, first with Issue 86.  His character is flushed out in later comic book series as the leader of the elite G.I. Joe special forces unit.

Which brings us to the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, titled G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  If Retaliation follows the comic book line, Cobra may have some success against General Hawk, the hero of Rise of Cobra, played solidly by a tough-as-nails Dennis Quaid.  Which leaves a key role for General Joe Colton.  And Bruce Willis is now in discussions to play Colton in Retaliation.  I can’t think of anyone better as an action hero in G.I. Joe.  Even at 56 who better can face an uphill battle, walking barefoot across broken glass if need be, especially against the likes of the evil Cobra?  What more could you want?  Maybe a cameo by Arnold Schwartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone?  Although it is not yet confirmed that Willis has signed on as Joe, the Internet Movie Database lists Willis as the lead.

Already signed up for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Channing Tatum will return as Captain Duke Hauser, Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I) as Snake Eyes and Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow.  New characters out of past incarnations that will appear include Dwayne Johnson (fka The Rock) as Roadblock, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, Joseph Mazzello (the little kid in Jurassic Park!) as Mouse, Arnold Vosloo (Imhotep from The Mummy) as Zartan, Elodie Yung as Jinx, and as D.J. Cotrona as Flint.  But no Scarlett or Baroness??? While you go back to watch Rise of Cobra, in case you haven’t seen it yet, try counting the classic nostalgic catchphrases, like “you have kung fu grip” and “you’re a real American hero.”

Other reasons why Bruce Willis is made for a G.I. Joe role?  He’s already trained for the part:

  

He’s saved American cities four times as Detective John McClane in the Die Hard movies

  

He sleuthed out the bad guy as Detective Sergeant Tom Hardy in Striking Distance

 

Butch Coolidge, son of a war hero who gets his watch back, in Pulp Fiction

   

He saved the whole planet as Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element

    

He saved the world (again) as driller turned Astronaut Harry Stamper in Armageddon

   

And he actually played a soldier as Major General William Devereaux in The Siege

 

and again, as a special ops commander as Lieutenant A.K. Waters in Tears of the Sun

Convinced yet?  Go Joe!  Go Bruce!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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