Alien vs. Predator is NOT a good movie. It’s pretty terrible from start to finish. However, it’s failure as a film is more punctuated by the fact that there’s actually a lot decent ideas (or at least the beginnings of decent ideas/concepts) that are completely dropped in favor of making the film as generic and forgettable as possible. One of the most disappointing aspects of the film is it’s handling of the second titular character, the Predator, or more accurately to the film, the Predators. The movie presents us with three unique Predators. They look cool, and their super imposing, and you’re super excited to see what they can do. But, they spend the first half of the film cloaked, and when they finally engage the Aliens, two of the three are taken out in the space of 5 minutes (by the same Xeno, no less!), leaving us with only the least distinctive of the three Predators to carry the rest of the film. Fortunately, NECA’s currently in the process of making super cool toys of just about every Predator ever, so the AvP Preds have gotten new life via action figures. Today, I’ll be looking at my personal favorite of the trio, Chopper Predator.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Chopper Predator is part of the 14th Series of NECA’s Predators line, which is the first of a handful of series (in both the Predator and Aliens lines) based on AvP. The figure stands almost 9 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Chopper uses a new base body for the Predators, introduced in this series, and shared with his two series-mates. This new body is much larger than previous Predators, and also offers a much greater range of motion and posability. The body is nicely proportioned, and it has a ton of really great texturing and fine detail work. Seriously, every part of this sculpt is covered in texturing, which makes him look really cool. While a lot of the body is shared with the other two Predators, Chopper does get a unique head, forearms, and plasma caster. The head depicts Chopper’s bio mask very nicely; the texturing on it really makes it look like the real thing. The “hair” is a little bit unruly, but it’s made from soft rubber, so it can be managed. The forearms are the real star here, since the large blades are what he takes his name from. The gauntlets have some fantastically ornate work on them, while still being nice and sturdy, and the left one even has a flip-up display. The actual blades are well-handled, and surprisingly sharp; they’re included in both semi-stowed and fully extended lengths, which is a nice touch. One of Chopper’s more distinctive elements was the pair of skulls mounted on spikes on his back, which this figure replicates as best it can. They’re included as separate pieces; one is slotted into the base of the plasma caster, and the other is supposed to pop into the little clip on Chopper’s back. I say “supposed” because mine included the clip included on Celtic and Scar, rather than the smaller unique clip that Chopper was meant to have. Fortunately, a carefully shaped and cut twisty tie was enough to keep it in place! The actual skulls are just as awesomely sculpted as the rest of the figure, and replicate the in-movie look very well. Chopper’s paint work is another pretty great area. There’s some nice variance in the sheens of the various parts of him, with the skin being shinier than the armor and cloth. He’s also got some fantastic accent work on the armor, which gives it a nice worn in look and adds a lot of depth to the figure. There are one or two spots of bleed over, but the overall work is good enough that they don’t jump out at you. In addition to the two sets of blades, and the skulls on spikes, Chopper also includes a Combi Stick (in retracted form), a pretty brutal looking knife, and a shuriken looking thing (which he can’t hold, what with having two fists. It’s the thought that counts!). That’s incredibly impressive given that prior Predators were lucky to get more than one accessory!
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Despite not caring for the film, I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting this series’ release ever since they were announced. I was always bummed that Chopper was so under-utilized, and even more bummed when he was the only Predator left out of McFarlane’s tie-in line. I bought Chopper from All Time Toys, after catching their post on their FB page that this series was in stock. I’m so happy to have him, and he’s hands down my favorite Predator to date. NECA did an amazing job on this one!