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Warrior Alien

Movie Maniacs VI
by yo go re

One night when our respective girlfriends decided to ditch us in favor of a chick flick, my college roommate and I knew that sitting in our dorm playing computer games was not the answer. We went out to find a movie of our own, but the only thing remotely worth seeing was Alien: Resurrection.

Compared to James Cameron's supreme work on Aliens, Resurrection was just so-so. However, it was easily better than the artistic pretention of Alien³ and held its own with the original. Maybe Alien films are like Star Treks, and only the even-numbered ones are good.

Part of Resurrection's appeal was the crew of smugglers that hooked up with the newly upgraded Ripley: what movie couldn't benefit from a smooth marksman, a comedic dwarf or a big badass? Especially when that badass is Ron Perlman, star of the upcoming Hellboy.

Since this was the fourth film in the series, there was no point in trying to hide the creatures: we've seen them three times before, so try something different. It was time for the aliens to go full frontal. The xenomorphs, subject of some genetic testing, looked a bit different than their ancestors, but were still sleek killing machines. Kenner (holder of the Alien and Predator licenses at that time) released five figures based on the film, including a plain Warrior Alien.

The Warrior was a fan favorite, blending in nicely with McFarlane's Movie Maniacs line: it was the same size, had a detailed sculpt and minimal articulation. Never one to be outdone (for long), Todd has given us a Warrior Alien all his own.

Following the lead of the immensely popular MM5 Alien and Predator boxed set, Movie Maniacs 6 is a mix of only Aliens and Predators and they're all highly articulated. Standing more than 8½" tall, the Warrior Alien has more articulation on his twisted frame than McToys has given us on entire series before: swivel/hinge neck, torso and hips; peg joint shoulders, elbows, wrists and tail; plus pin joints in his ankles.

Despite all that motion, the Warrior Alien isn't very poseable. His bestial legs don't have any knees, which I think is a time thing - Todd would have had to work hard to make sure the joints could support the figure for long periods, so making them solid will keep this figure standing for years. The peg elbows mean that his arms move only side-to-side, though balljoint shoulders would have helped that. The tail is bendy, so you can position that however you like. The head is clearly meant to be turned to the side, because if it's not, then it's permantly bent over.

Good as Kenner's Warrior Alien was, Todd's blows it away. The sculpt is astoundingly intricate, making the alien look like a dessicated hellbeast created only for death. Thin, ropy bits of tissue stretch over his vaguely human frame (the xenomorphs look like whatever organism hosted them) and four dorsal flutes snake their way into the air. The alien's eyeless face has those wickedly menacing teeth, and his large echo-chamber head shines disturbingly. Comparing this Warrior Alien to the old one hardly seems fair.

The toy is not without its share of problems, however. So far every figure that has shipped to stores has been assembled incorrectly: its forearms are switched, with the left forearm between the right hand and right elbow. Fortunately, the plastic used in its manufacture is soft, so it's very easy to boil n' pop the arms into their proper places.

I've long said that the Movie Maniacs line needed more articulation, especially once I saw how cool MM5's boxed set was. MM6 is a good movement in the right direction, and the Warrior Alien is a fine example of how a good company can blend both sculpt and articulation in one figure.

But next time, how about some knees?

-- 06/08/03


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