#0643: Kyle Reese

KYLE REESE

THE TERMINATOR (NECA)

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For me, the Terminator franchise is similar to the Alien franchise in that I generally prefer the second film to the first. But, like Alien, I still have quite an appreciation for The Terminator. One of the coolest things it has going for it is Michael Biehn’s performance as resistance fighter (and unknowing father of humanity’s savior John Connor) Kyle Reese. Merchandise for the movies tends to focus on the second film, so Kyle’s been somewhat absent from the action figure form. He did get a couple of Minimates and a ReAction figure, so that’s cool. He also managed to get a single figure NECA, right at the very tail-end of their original run with the licenses to the first two movies. That’s the one I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KyleReese2Kyle Reese was released in Series 3 of NECA’s Terminator Collection, which was the line that replaced their Terminator 2 line after they picked up the first film’s license. The figure stands 7 inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The Terminator stuff was something of a middle point for NECA in regards to articulation. They’re the first time that NECA really began giving their figures any sort of articulation. That being said, it was pretty much entirely on the upper half, leaving the legs mostly stationary. This can be a little limiting, and makes it especially hard to get figures to stand, but it’s not the worst thing ever. Interestingly enough, Kyle was actually sculpted with leg articulation, but it was removed in order to keep him stylistically the same as the rest of the line. Admittedly, it holds him back a little, but it’s understandable. Kyle is presented here in his 1984 look, specifically his first, green-coated look from the first half of the film. The sculpt is unique to this figure, although it appears that the face on this guy and Series 1 Corporal Hicks are at the very least by the same sculptor, if not variants of the same sculpt. His likeness is decent, if maybe not quite as spot on as some of NECA’s work. While the likeness is a tad off, the rest of the sculpt is absolutely superb. All of the clothing has great texture and small detail work and he’s accurate to the look from the film. The legs have been posed mid-stride, which works with the shotgun pose the figure is destined for. While they look pretty good, it’s really hard to keep him standing, which can be very frustrating. Paintwork is something that NECA’s made great strides to improve in the last few years. This puts Kyle at something of a disadvantage. He’s not terrible, to be fair. Most of the work is nice and clean, and they even managed to get the paint splatters right on his pants. But, they missed the stripes on his shirt, which is minor, but still a bit of a bummer. Also, there’s a certain degree of lifelessness to the paint on the eyes, which stands out in comparison to NECA’s most recent work. Kyle includes a shotgun (with a string to keep it attached to him, as in the movie) and the picture of Sarah that Kyle carries with him in the future sequences.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey! It’s the beginning of the onslaught of things I picked up while on vacation! I picked up Kyle here from the recently opened Rehoboth Beach branch of Yesterday’s Fun. I missed out on him (and most of NECA’s Terminator stuff) the first time around, and I was really happy to find this guy. Sure, he’s not quite on the same level as NECA’s most recent work, but he’s still a very good figure. A strong figure, all around.

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Terminator Genisys: A Movie Review

I don’t write movie reviews. This is an Action Figure review site, after all. However, I’ve just seen a movie about which I want to write.

The movie in question (hey, that would be a catchy name for a movie review site, wouldn’t it?) is Terminator Genisys. I’m a pretty big fan of The Terminator and I’d probably rank Terminator 2 in my top five favorite movies.  It goes without saying that I was more than a little disappointed by the two films that followed. I’ve never actually been able to get all the way through T3, and most of Salvation left me cold. I had pretty much written the franchise off, and I kind of figured it was more or less dead.

When the first trailer for Genisys showed up, I was surprised. Somehow, I’d entirely missed the fact that another film was in production. It actually looked pretty decent, as if this might be the movie to turn the franchise around. I was optimistic, if cautiously so. I was still pretty excited, so when it started showing Tuesday night, I headed out to see it. Without saying too much, my optimism paid off and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

Spoiler-Free:

First off, let’s address the film’s biggest draw: Arnold. His return to acting was one of the driving forces of getting the movie made, and a lot of the film’s marketing focused on his big return to the role. This time around, he takes up a part not unlike “Uncle Bob” in T2, operating as Sarah’s father figure “Pops.” The film seems to draw from the learning ability of the T-800’s CPU established in the extended cut of T2. Here it’s been in operation for a while, allowing Arnold to play a character with a little more warmth and human understanding. That’s not to say he’s completely abandoned his robotic nature, though; it makes its way to the forefront a few times, generally in the more action oriented scenes, but also in a few humorous moments.

The film has more than a few humorous moments, sprinkled throughout. It feels like they’ve gotten the mix of humor and drama right this time around. Part of what I enjoyed so much about T2 was its seamless blending of humor and serious moments. The movies that followed never got this balance down. T3 went too goofy and Salvation went too dreary and hopeless, resulting in both films suffering. Genisys gets it right.

Humor is one thing, but a movie is hardly a proper Terminator movie without some action. Genisys offers a nice selection of action sequences. There are lots of call backs to older movies (especially in the first battle with the T-1000) but there’s a lot of new stuff too, which keeps things interesting. Some sequences relied a little too heavily on CGI, but it never gets distracting to the point of pulling the viewer out of the film. The newest version of Terminator plays a big part in making the action feel new and exciting. One of my biggest problems with the last two films was the stagnation of the Terminators. The T-1000 offered a significant upgrade over the first film’s T-800, and this movie’s magnetically-charged nanite-powered Terminator felt like a worthy upgrade to the seemingly unstoppable T-1000.

I spoke about Arnold’s performance, but what about the rest of the cast? Well, if there’s a weak link, it’s probably Jai Courtney’s Kyle Reese. The biggest issue is that he really doesn’t look like Kyle Reese. Michael Biehn has a particular look, especially in Terminator. He’s not a clean cut, stacked action hero. Jai Courtney kind of is. His performance isn’t terrible, and he had grown on me by the end of the film, but he still felt a little off. Perhaps if Anton Yelchin’s turn as Kyle in Salvation hadn’t been one of that film’s few redeeming qualities, I’d be more forgiving.

Emilia Clarke, on the other hand, feels like a pretty worthy successor to Linda Hamilton. She plays Sarah with a lot of strength and presence, calling back to the T2 version of the character, but she also manages to still play up a lot of the uncertainty we saw in Terminator, giving us the best of both worlds. She and Arnold Schwarzenegger have a lot of chemistry, which really helped to make the movie work.

Jason Clarke takes over from Christian Bale as John Connor, and is probably the strongest of the re-cast parts. He actually plays the role in such a way that you can understand how this guy could lead the resistance to victory.

Byung-hun Lee gives a good performance as the T-1000, though he feels a little under-utilized here. I’m not sure rehashing the plot of T2 would have been the best way to go, but I felt like he should have had a little more to do.

JK Simmons and Matt Smith both give good performances in their respective roles. Simmons once again feels a little under-used, but the few scenes he does take part in use him pretty well. I’ll talk about Smith’s performance more in the spoiler section.

The film has a running theme of “old, but not obsolete.” This line is said more than once by Arnold’s Pops T-800, and it really
feels like it applies to the franchise as a whole as well. The movie strives to show us that this franchise may be old, but it’s not quite outmoded.

Spoilers after the jump.

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#0343: Kyle Reese

KYLE REESE

THE TERMINATOR REACTION

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Well, yesterday’s review was a bit of a downer. Not every figure can be a winner, but it’s still sad to see it happen. It’s especially sad to see it happen with Funko’s ReAction line, because it’s already under enough criticism based just on the style choice alone. Fortunately, the figures seem to be improving as they keep going. I still have two figures left from the first series of The Terminator ReAction Figures, and fear not dear readers, it’s only an uphill stride from here. I’ve looked at the title character and the target, and today, I’ll be looking at the hero of The Terminator, Kyle Reese, the human resistance fighter sent back to save Sarah Connor. He also happens to be portrayed by Michael Biehn, also known for playing Hicks in James Cameron’s Aliens, and also the lunatic villain in Cameron’s The Abyss. Cameron just really likes this guy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KyleReeseWilsonAs noted in the opening, Kyle was released as part of the first series of The Terminator ReAction Figures. Kyle is 3 ¾ inches in height and features the same basic 5 points of articulation as every other figure in this line. Obviously, he’s based on Kyle’s look in The Terminator, specifically his 1984 look. Kyle wears both a green and a blue jacket over the course of the movie. The figure goes with the green one, which is the one he wears earlier in the movie, most notably during his showdown with The Terminator at the Tech Noir club. The figure features a cloth piece to emulate the coat, which isn’t the greatest. The sleeves are really baggy, and the collar sits oddly, which makes it look more like a bath robe. Once it’s removed, the figure actually improves greatly. Kyle’s sculpt is unique to this figure. It’s not bad. Not the best ever, but not bad. Certainly better than the coat lets on. The torso is still a little too flat, like so many of the other ReAction figures. Aside from that, the rest of the sculpt is a pretty great translation of Kyle to the Kenner style. The etched stripes on the shirt look pretty great, and the proportions aren’t bad. The head is a little too generic to be a spot on Biehn, but it isn’t too far off. It’s close enough that you can tell who he’s supposed to be. Kyle’s paint is pretty good. It’s a little on the clean side, but that’s mostly to do with the style of the figure. There aren’t any issues with slop or bleed over, so that’s good. In addition to the removable jacket, Kyle includes his modified shotgun and a small revolver.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kyle was, surprisingly enough, flung at me by an angry homeless man while I was walking to class the other day. For real guys. It was weird…

Okay, not really. Like the rest of the series, I ordered Kyle from Amazon. I had initially been pretty excited for Kyle, but that excitement waned once the prototype pictures surfaced. However, I came across a few pictures of Kyle in-hand, especially without the coat, and that was enough to sway me back. Kyle isn’t without his issues, but he’s really not a bad figure, and he certainly makes me feel better after the very sad review I had to do for Sarah. If you’re a fan of The Terminator, you could do worse than this Kyle figure.

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