#1400: Sarah Connor

SARAH CONNOR

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (HOT TOYS)

Oooeeee, look at that.  1400 reviews.  Another hundred down.  Seeming like less of a milestone these days, but I’m noting it nonetheless.  I’m noting it the usual way, with a deluxe review of one of my higher-end figures.  Today, I turn back to the film that kicked off the milestone reviews, Terminator 2.  So far, I’ve looked at both the terminator and the protector from the film, but I haven’t yet looked at one of the franchise’s central characters, Sarah Connor.  So, uhh, come with me if you want to…read this review?  …Doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sarah was released as figure 119 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, placing her between Inglorious Basterds’ Aldo Raine and Iron Man 2’s War Machine numerically.  Not as themed as other releases, but the T2 figures were all pretty scattered.  This figure is based on Sarah’s “terminator” look from around the film’s mid-point, when she goes to kill Miles Dyson.  It’s really her most distinct look, and definitely my favorite.  Sarah stands roughly 11 inches tall and she’s got 28 points of articulation.

Let’s start things off by looking at Sarah’s head sculpt.  While heads are usually one of HT’s stronger suits, this one’s not one of their best offerings.  The prototype actually looked pretty good, but it seems something was lost in the manufacturing process.  It’s far from a terrible sculpt, of course.  The resemblance to Linda Hamilton is passing; it’s not spot-on, but it’s decent enough that you can tell who it is.  I think it’s the hair that’s throwing it off.  While I’m definitely a fan of the hair being sculpted, rather than rooted, and the overall shaping and detailing is pretty solid.  The biggest issue is with the bangs, which are just a little too short; they really should be getting closer to her eyes, and I think that throws off the likeness.  The bangs actually swap out, and there’s another pair that’s parted and closer to the head.  It doesn’t really improve the likeness, but it does allow for the addition of the included hat.  The paintwork on the head is generally up to the usual HT quality.  The only real flaw is the color of the hair, which is a touch too dark for Hamilton.  It’s not that far off, though, so it’s pretty minor, all things considered.

Sarah’s costume is made up of four main pieces.  She’s got a shirt, pants, a tactical vest, and a belt.  All of the pieces are very well tailored to the figure.  The vest in particular is really cool.  All of the pockets open and the the clasps all work like they’re supposed to.  There’s also a pair of sculpted boots, which are very nicely sculpted, and well scaled to the figure.  She’s also got a watch and a wristband, which are mostly there to hide the wrist joints on the arms.  They do that job well, and add some extra character to the figure as well.

The underlying body is largely unique to Sarah.  The arms in particular are unique; they’re armatures with a rubber coating over them.  They actually look quite a bit like Hamilton’s arms from the film, and she’s even got her scar on the left shoulder.  The rest of the body is decent, but could be a little more tailored to the figure.  The shoulder’s are definitely too narrow, and the neck is a little thin, which makes the head look really large comparatively.  Once again, nothing too terrible, but it’s definitely a little off.

Sarah’s accessories are definitely this figure’s strongest suit.  She includes:

  • 6 hands
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Shotgun
  • Assault Rifle
  • Handgun
  • Knife
  • Display stand

She’s got the basic relaxed hands, as well as a right trigger finger hand, a left gripping hand, a a right cigarette holding hand (with removable cigarette!), and a right hand for holding her knife.  They’re all very nicely sculpted and quite realistic looking.  They’re a little hard to swap the first time, but once you swap them a few times, they go alright.

The hat works in conjunction with the alternate bangs piece.  It’s cloth, and a little oversized, but it’s generally a pretty nice piece.  Just, whatever you do, don’t leave it on for long periods of time.  It’ll stain her forehead!

The sunglasses are very definitely my favorite piece.  They’re just amazingly detailed, perfectly scaled, and sit amazingly well on the figure’s face.  I wish I looked this good in sunglasses.

The shotgun, assault rifle, and handgun are close runners up to the glasses.  They all have a number of moving pieces and all of the details that you’d see on the full scale weapons.  The shotgun has a folding stock, as well as five removable rounds.  The assault rifle includes a removable scope, rail, and silencer, allowing for a few different looks.  The handgun has a removable clip, and the clip even has a removable bullet at the very top, which seems like it’s asking to be lost.

The knife is a key piece to the film, so it’s great that it was included here.  Like the other weapons, it’s very well scaled and detailed.  It includes a sheath, which feels a little cheap and quick by comparison, but it’s nice to have the option of putting the knife away, I guess.

Lastly, there’s the display stand.  It’s the same basic oval stand we’ve seen a number of times before.  It gets the job done, and it looks pretty decent, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sarah is a very early Hot Toys figure for me.  I believe she was my third.  She’s also got the notoriety of being the very first Hot Toys figure I bought for myself.  I ordered her off of Amazon, in anticipation of getting the T-1000 figure later that year.  She’s not a perfect figure, and is definitely the weakest of my three T2 figures, but she’s still a pretty darn fun figure in her own right, and she completes one of my favorite sets of HT figures.

#0861: Sarah Connor

SARAH CONNOR

TERMINATOR 2 (NECA)

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The first time I really noticed NECA was when they kicked off their pretty awesome T2 line several years back. The line actually had a pretty decent run of figures, but, aside from a single Kyle Reese figure towards the end of the line, they mostly stuck to the killer robots from the future. That meant that one of the franchise’s key characters, Sarah Connor, was sadly missing. Recently, under their “Ultimate” heading, NECA’s gone back to some of their older lines, making some slight adjustments to prior figures to make them fit with current offerings. For a first in the Ultimate sub-set, they’ve released a totally new figure, offering a Sarah figure to go with the recent Ultimate T-800.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SarahConner2Sarah Connor is the second “Ultimate” figure in the Terminator 2 line. She’s a single release, though she shipped right around the same time as the second version of the Terminator Genisys T-800. The figure stands 6 ¾ inches tall and she’s got 24 points of articulation. Technically, she should be little shorter to be in scale with the T-800(Linda Hamilton’s 8 inches shorter than Arnold in real line), but she’s really not that far off. As noted in the intro, Sarah is not a re-tooling like prior Ultimate releases; she is instead an all-new sculpt, handled by Adrienne Smith. Her basic look is her black tactical gear from the mid-point to climax of the film. It’s easily the character at her most distinctive, so it’s well-chosen. The proportions on the body are pretty much spot-on, including Linda Hamiliton’s impressively toned arms. Seriously, she was jacked, and so is this figure. Her clothes are incredibly well detailed, with tremendous texturing, and just the right amount of weight. To ensure the best poseablity for the torso, the webgear is a separate (non-removable) add-on piece. It has the same great work seen on the rest of the body, and some amazing little touches, such as the unfastened buckle at the top of the vest, which looks like it’s really a separate piece. She also has a separate belt piece (also non-removable), SarahConner3complete with a sheath for her knife. Like the Ultimate T-800, Sarah includes three different heads: Ponytailed with hat and sunglasses, ponytailed without hat and sunglasses, and hair untied (once again without the hat and sunglasses). Some people have complained about not getting another head with the ponytail and sunglasses, like she’s shown on the front of the box. While it’s a shame that look isn’t represented, if we could only have three heads, these are the three I want. The hat and sunglasses head is my favorite of the three. The likeness is the best here, the hat is fantastically detailed, and while the sunglasses aren’t quite as clean as the T-800s, they still look pretty cool. The other two heads are no slouches either, doing a nice job of capturing Sarah as she progresses through the movie. Sarah’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled; all the base colors are where they should be, and there’s some nice work differentiating the blacks of the various parts of her outfit. The heads show a bit of slop around the hairlines, but the overall paint looks quite nice, and I was especially impressed by how well the eyes turned out on the two non-sunglassed heads. In addition to the extra heads, Sarah includes an m4 carbine, a colt 1911, and a knife (complete with a sculpted tassel at the end) that fits perfectly in the sheath on her belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Sarah at the same time I got Chopper, though she was more of an impulse buy than a planned purchase. I was a little underwhelmed by this figure when viewing her in the packaging, but once I had her out and posed her a bit, I really came to enjoy the figure a whole lot. She’s a worthy companion piece to the T-800 to be sure, and I’m happy she finally got made.

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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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#0493: Terminator Cyberdyne Assault Minimates

CYBERNETIC T-800, SWAT SARAH CONNOR, MILES DYSON, & SCORCHED ENDOSKELETON

TERMINATOR 2 MINIMATES

So, like, it’s been a whole twelve days since my last Minimate review. And that was just a Sisko Minimate (plus some other dude I really don’t care enough about to know his name. I think it was Jim or something…). You have to ask yourself, does Sisko really count? Anyway, it’s time for my first look into the world of Terminator 2 Minimates, which is a line that I kinda feel was the first “modern Minimate line.” Seriously, these guys were really influential to how future lines were handled, in character selection, property selection, assortment layout and even distribution. They were pretty darn epic!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four figures were released as a San Diego Comicon exclusive set, distributed by Action Figure Xpress. AFX aren’t really one of the big players online toy sales anymore, but they used to be at the top of the list, and they were pivotal to helping Minimates get on the map. Anyway, the set was dubbed “Cyberdyne Assault” after the attack on the Cyberdyne building late in the movie.

CYBERNETIC T-800

It would hardly be a proper T2 set without a version of Arnold (or, as he’s known in the movie, Uncle Bob). This particular version of the character is not from the “assault on Cyberdyne,” but is instead from a scene right before the attack, where the T-800 demonstrates the concept of the machines to Miles by slicing open his hand to reveal the robotic component beneath. Fun times. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with a unique left hand, as well as add-ons for the hair and belt. All of this figure’s pieces are re-use, but given that he’s a T-800 variant, that’s pretty sensible. The hair and belt are both from the previous T-800s in the line, and the hand is from the basic endoskeleton. The hair’s not bad, though I always found it to be a bit too long for Arnold’s T2 look. The belt is a rather standard piece, so no issue there. The hand is a nice sculpt, but it’s a little weird to see it next to the normal hand on the other side, since it’s actually too big to fit under a normal hand. Just one of those things. The figure’s paint work is fantastic, aside from one small inaccuracy. Namely, those tears in the front of his shirt aren’t accurate, as he hadn’t taken any damage at that point in the movie. But, they’re nicely detailed, so I can’t really complain. Also, the figure’s Arnold likeness is totally spot on, which is great to see. The T-800 included a spare hand in silver (so you could replace the sculpted hand if you want to) and a plasma rifle.

SWAT SARAH CONNOR

So, the other important piece of T2 set is definitely Sarah Connor. According to James Cameron, she’s actually meant to be The Terminator of the movie, so there’s that. Like the T-800, Sarah’s not actually from the attack on Cyberdyne; she’s actually from a little earlier in the movie, when she attacks Dyson’s house. Maybe this set should have been called the “Attack on Dyson’s.” This is Sarah’s most iconic look from the film, so it’s a good choice, regardless of which attack it’s part of. Seeing as this was the first Sarah Connor to actually be released, being iconic is a good thing. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. She’s built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for her hat/glasses, web gear, and belt. All three of these pieces are new to Sarah, and they are all very well sculpted and accurate to the source material. The hat and glasses in particular are a dead on interpretation of the look from the movie. Sarah’s paint is a lot simpler than the T-800’s, but it’s still rather nicely done. Underneath of the glasses, there’s a pretty great Linda Hamilton likeness, and all of the line work is nice and sharp. Sarah includes an alternate hair piece with the glasses and hat removed, as well as a machine gun.

MILES DYSON

Poor Dyson. This guy really got the short end of the stick, didn’t he? Probably one of the most genuinely likeable people in the movie, and he gets his house blown up, his family attacked, he gets shot (a bunch) and then he dies. But, hey, for what it’s worth, he’s the only figure in this set that’s actually from the attack on Cyberdyne. So there! Dyson is about 2 ½ inches in height and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s got the same body as the others, with add-ons for the hair and coat. The hair is new to Dyson, and it’s a pretty good approximation of hos look from the movie. The coat actually began its life on a cancelled Colonel Tigh Minimate from the BSG line, before making it to an actual release with Miles here. It’s a nice, standard coat piece. It’s well sculpted and rather versatile, so it’s nice that it actually got released somewhere. Dyson probably has my favorite paint work of the set. He has a spot on likeness of actor Joe Morton (great if you want to do any Eureka Minimates), but my favorite part is the detailing on the shirt. With the jacket on, it looks like just a regular button down shirt, but remove the jacket and there’s a fully detailed bandaged gunshot wound, complete with slightly dried blood. It’s a fantastic touch, and something that could have been easily overlooked. Dyson includes a fire axe, which is definitely important to the character and is my favorite accessory in the set.

SCORCHED ENDOSKELETON

Ah, yes, the scorched Endoskeleton, hero of the… no wait, ummm… yeah, so I literally have no idea what this figure is meant to represent. Like, there’s some endoskeletons at the beginning, but they’re all shiny and new. None of them get “scorched” and none of them go back in time, so it doesn’t even really make sense for this figure to be in this set. But, I guess you have to get and endo in somewhere. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall, with 14 points of articulation. It uses the same body you’ve seen three times before in this review, with unique hands and feet, and well as add-ons for the upper torso and pelvis (which is missing on mine). All of these pieces were initially seen on the normal endo, released both in the first series of two-packs and in the single pack case. I’m of two minds about the pieces. The feet are well done, and the hands, while large, are still pretty cool. But, the torso and pelvis pieces, while nicely sculpted, make the figure way too big to believable be the thing under Arnold’s skin. It just doesn’t work. On the plus side, the figure’s paint has that covered. There’s a fully detailed normal torso under the sculpted one, so you can remove the sculpted piece and have a seeker looking Endo. The figure has some pretty decent paint, with detail lines for all of the various tech pieces. The main difference between the normal endo and this one is that this one is done in more of a dull gray, to look “scorched.” The endo includes a plasma rifle, which is the same as the one with the T-800.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was beyond thrilled when the T2 license was announced for Minimates. I rushed out and bout the first series from TRU (back when TRU was getting their Minimate assortments first!) and I patiently awaited the arrival of others. This set excited me the most, because it offered my favorite version of Sarah, as well as Dyson, the unsung hero of the film. SO, I ordered this set the day it went up on AFX and patiently awaited its arrival. Sadly, it seems not everyone else was quite as thrilled by the set, as it hung around for quite some time, and was eventually clearanced off by the CASE! I still think this a really solid set. Sure, the endo’s pointless and a little boring, but Miles and Sarah more than make up for that, and you get a fun version of the T-800 to boot!

#0342: Sarah Connor

SARAH CONNOR

THE TERMINATOR REACTION

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What separates Funko’s ReAction line from many of the other lines to tackle such licenses is the selection of characters Funko is releasing. See, Funko’s not just doing the one or two distinctive characters from a license. They’re also focusing on doing figures of characters never before released. Although The Terminator, has been granted a few figures of key players like the T800 and Kyle Reese, one figure that’s never been released is Sarah Connor, the Terminator’s intended target. Sure, she’s had a few figures based on her appearance in T2, but her original look has never been covered before. Funko has seen fit to release that particular version of the character in their Terminator line. Let’s see how that one turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SarahConnorWilsonSarah was released in the first series of The Terminator ReAction Figures. She’s a little under 3 ¾ inches tall, making her one the shortest of The Terminator figures, and she has the standard 5 points of articulation. As I noted in the intro, she’s based on Sarah’s look from the first Terminator movie, specifically the look she is wearing while she and Kyle are on the run. For what it’s worth, Sarah’s sculpt is totally unique to this figure. That’s probably for the best, because simply put: it’s not very good. I suppose the body sculpt is alright, but she seems to be a little too frail looking. She also seems to slope outward from the top, not unlike a pear. One of the more defining things about Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah in the movies, is that she has somewhat broad shoulders. The sloping shoulders throw the whole figure off, and she ends up looking like she has really stubby arms. Unfortunately, the body sculpt is nothing compared to the head. Sarah suffers from a serious case of man-face, but not just any man-face, ugly man-face. Both of the T800s are prettier than this. Heck, Sloth from the Goonies line is prettier! On top of the bad face sculpt is what can lightly be described as a hair helmet. Sarah’s hair in the movie was pretty bad, but it didn’t look like this! All of that is rounded out by a neck that is definitely too long. Combined with the body, this sculpt gives Sarah a really odd look. In what is definitely a change for a Funko figure, the best part of this figure is her paint. She still has the problem of her eyes being set too far up that we saw on Kaylee, but otherwise, the paintwork isn’t bad. In fact, she’s gotten the proper white stripes on her shirt, which even the prototype lacked. Everything is nice and clean, and there aren’t any issues with slop or bleed over, so that’s pretty good. Sarah comes with no accessories, which is kind of a bummer. Was the upper half of an Endoskeleton too much to ask for?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sarah was another figure acquired via Amazon. Mostly, I bought Sarah because I was buying the rest of the set. I can’t really see why anyone would want this figure otherwise. Sadly, this is one of the worst figures Funko has put out so far. I really would like to focus on the figure’s positive qualities, but there really aren’t any to speak of. It’s nice to have finally gotten this version of Sarah, but the figure doesn’t really do much for the look. I’ve noticed that the biggest downfalls of what Funko has released seem to be the female figures, which is a shame.

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