No one knows G.I. Joe toys like CJ Stunkard of Stunk’s Stage. Luckily, CJ has taken an in-depth look at the new line of toys based on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and you can read the articles right here at Pop Culture Zoo. Today concludes the series, but please check out all of C.J.’s G.I. Joe articles. Thank you, CJ!
The original Night Raven was one of the first G.I. Joe vehicles I remember owning as a child. It was enormous, but it was a hand-me-down, so pretty much all the pieces were missing, and any functions it had were completely unknown to me. It was still fun, but it was incomplete.
The re-release of the vehicle for the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra vehicle is pretty sweet; and I can understand the $40 asking price. The vehicle features lights and sounds, shooting missiles, fold-out landing gear, and a unique viper figure (a re-tooling of the Strato-Viper, one of my all-time personal favorites). It’s a highly functional, well-detailed toy that will be the flagship of many-a-child’s Cobra army; and with good reason, it’s a great toy.
I’m not going to focus too much on the packaging, other than to say the art is sufficient, and I recommend that the moment the vehicle is opened and removed, buyers cut out the figure’s filecard found at the bottom of the box. Otherwise, one is likely to lose it—because it will be forgetton once you start playing with this toy.
Let’s start with the size and look. While not as massive as the original Night Raven, the Rise of Cobra version is still a formidable jet, with a length substantially larger than the Cobra Gunship. The vehicle features a dark blue mold as opposed to black, but it fits with the color-scheme of the movie universe, and the decals provided give it additional detail. Whether posed to be in flight or on the ground with its extendable landing gear, the Night Raven looks awesome.
The functions are equally impressive, if not more so. The ship features a mechanism wherein a trigger and stock can pulled down from the base of the jet so that the vehicle essentially becomes a jet-shaped gun. The front of the plane cocks a la a shotgun, to allow the child (or adult-child), the ability to fire missiles from the wings. With each shot the lights in the wings also flash, which is pretty neat. The handle can then fold back into the vehicle. The whole thing is great, and it could provide countless hours of fun for a child. The vehicle also features three sound bytes, supposedly taken directly from the film.
Additionally, the vehicle includes a unique pilot, the Cobra Air Viper. The figure looks excellent and blends in perfectly with the other figures from the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra Line, My only reservation about him is the lack of a battle stand and weapon; but if you collect any number of figures from the line, you’ll have plenty of other, excess weapons to give him.
Overall, I am really happy with this item. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did; and frankly, it is a great value.
PS – After making such a fuss over these toys, I thought it appropriate to give some thoughts on the film itself. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to anyone. It is a horribly acted, poorly directed, horrendously written motion picture with a few special effects so abysmally realized that they they make the Scorpion King from Mummy 2 look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Yes, some of the effects shots are that bad.
That being said, however, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the experience–as a Joe Fan. Because of my prior connection to these characters, I was able to fill in gaps, accept enormous plot holes, and just enjoy the concept of the movie–that G.I. Joe was on the big screen. Seeing the Baroness and Scarlett kick the crud out of each other was probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies this summer, but I can guarantee you it had everything to do with my pre-conceived notion of the characters, not the film’ set-up for their interaction–same goes for Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow, the revelation of the PIT, and the emergence of villains like Cobra Commander. Without my advanced knowledge and appreciate of this mythos, I don’t think the movie would have been worth watching or made sense. Again, however, for a Joe fan like myself, the plot was enjoyable in that it moves like one of the cartoons, and there are enough moments wherein the cast and crew are winking at the audience that overall I know they had me in mind when putting this mess together. Despite their shortcomings, I can at least appreciate that they tried, and I think other Joe fans will as well. Frankly, I’m sure Joe fans of all ages can appreciate G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, even though it may be a really poor film.
PPS – And regardless of how good the movie was, at least us Joe Fans have a great toy line to chase for the next year or two. If that’s not something to celebrate, I don’t know what is. I mean, after all, this whole thing is about the toys in the first place.