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Robocop

Movie Maniacs 7
by yo go re

Todd McFarlane once famously said that he didn't think an Army of Darkness figure would sell, so he had no intention of making one. Of course, the raging popularity of the figure shut him up, but that was only after fans had spent two years pestering him daily to make an Ash. Still, as far as fan requests go, Ash was a piece of cake. The real headache would turn out to be Robocop.

When Detroit police officer Alex Murphy is brutally murdered in the line of duty, corporate megalith Omni Consumer Products transforms his body into the prototype for a planned line of cyborg law enforcers, Robocop.

Robocop was a modern telling of the Lone Ranger story in a futuristic setting. Its absurd title scared off a lot of directors, but the script's blend of humor, violence and sarcastic social commentary have given Robocop a life that no one predicted.

For years, a petition floated on McFarlane's message boards requesting a Robocop figure. Through several incarnations of the boards and multiple archive purges, the petition stayed close enough to the top that it survived. We sat through crap like Jason X, the Blair Witch and endless Aliens, waiting waiting waiting for the figure we really wanted.

Part of the poorly planned series seven, Robocop is quite possibly the best Movie Maniac ever released. There's just so much working for him.

The sculpt, as usual, is great. Robocop was designed to be a Detroit police officer, so his metal chassis looks more like a sleek auto body than the niggling intricacies of a T-800 Endoskeleton. There aren't as many tiny details, but the ones we do get are reproduced well. Intake valves, pistons, etched serial numbers... the only thing he's missing are some big tailfins. Check out what looks like a gas cap on his ribcage.

The paint job is surprisingly good. The figure's got a great blue tint to his steel body, while the rubber seals around his joints are a nice dark black. There's no real facial sculpt to speak of - that could be anybody's mouth poking out from under the helmet - but the skintone is very nice, with just a little shading to keep it from looking like plastic.

What really makes Robocop so good is the articulation. Yes, there have been articulated Movie Maniacs before, but none as good as this. Robocop moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, forearms, waist, hips, knees and ankles, which is more than your average DC Direct Figure. What is it about this articulation that makes Robo so much better than, say, MM6's Aliens and Predators?

You watch Robocop, and he moves in a clunky, awkward manner. Sure, McFarlane could have put in biceps or double knees or any other points he wanted, but it wouldn't have suited the character. A human being needs to be super-articulated; a plodding robot with a limited range of motion doesn't. Robo's hips, shoulders and neck are balljoints, which lets him pull off all the poses he'll need.

Great as this figure is, it's not perfect. As lots of folks have pointed out, Robocop can't store his modified Beretta inside his leg, one of the cool features of the movie. Of course, if not for all the complaints, it's not something I would have ever noticed, so you can't take off too many points for that. What would have been really great, though, would be a removeable helmet - pull it off and reveal Murphy's face underneath. Of course, if they did that, they probably would have had to pay Peter Weller royalties, and they were already sinking so much cash into the big, fat, juicy Texas Chainsaw remake license.

The best feature about Movie Maniacs 7 overall is that McToys finally got rid of the increasingly stupid marquees. Goodbye, useless pieces of crap! Instead, Robocop comes with a nice little display base measuring 5¾" wide and 4" deep. The base depicts what is probably the floor of some warehouse that Robocop just busted up: concrete floor, discarded guns and shell casings and a barrel of cinders, ash or sand. It's really a pretty generic piece, and will look good with all sorts of figures. Considering how small the guns are in comparison to the figure, it should look great beneath your Marvel Legends.

Robocop stands 7⅜" tall and is the one shining spot in an otherwise forgettable series of Movie Maniacs. With Now Playing and Cult Classics on the scene, McFarlane needs to step up to remind everyone why he's the king of the licensed movie toys. And get cracking on an ED-209.

-- 11/09/04


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