Kill Bill
The Bride and Go-Go

Kill Bill 2 opened this weekend, and treated the competition like a gang of Crazy 88's.  I didn't get to see it yet - things are a tad too busy right now - but I did enjoy Kill Bill 1 for what it was.  I have high hopes for volume 2, and have been looking forward to seeing the first series of action figures from NECA.

The first series consists of The Bride of course, the young assassin Go-Go, and three of the Crazy 88's.  It was originally to also contain O-Ren, but word on the street is that Lucy Lui is being 'difficult'.

The figures have only shown up at the Musicland family of stores so far.  That would be Musicland, Sam Goody, Suncoast and Media Play.  Other stores, especially on-line shops (I've recommended a few at the end of the review), should be getting them within a couple weeks.

I picked up the set at my local Media Play, and they were $12 each.  Shop smart with some of the on-line retailers, and you may manage to get them cheaper.

A warning to those buying the Bride - she comes with two different bases.  One is the House of Blue Leaves base, that works with the Crazy 88 bases.  She also comes with a 'snow' base that was originally intended to work with O-Ren, but won't work with any of the other figures in this series.

Tonight I'm reviewing just Go-Go and The Bride.  On Tuesday night (April 20th) I'll have a review of all three Crazy 88's up over at Movie Poop Shoot.

Packaging - ***1/2
There's no big surprise in the style of the packaging.  NECA works with my favorite, clamshells, and the artwork on the insert is standard Kill Bill Volume 1.  I'm betting NECA didn't get a lot of choice, but they did a nice job with the style.

Sculpting - Bride ***; Go-Go **1/2
This was a really tough category.  It was tough for me to tell in most photos whether these were good head sculpts or not - some photos looked good, others awful.

The body sculpts aren't an issue.  Both look about right for the actresses, scale is decent (although Go-Go could have been a touch smaller), and there's plenty of detail in the clothing.

The head sculpts are a big debate already.  Actually, they've been a big debate since the prototypes were first shown.  Capturing human likenesses are always tough, and for some reason, women are the toughest.

I spent a lot of time looking these over.  At first, I thought The Bride was fairly decent, but hated Go-Go.  Then I watched the battle over several times, and realized that Go-Go was actually far better than I originally thought.  Watch the movie at 1:18 forward for at least a minute.  Tell me that Go-Go doesn't have a huge snoze!  I have seen stills that don't look like this, but on watching her in that scene again, I realized this sculpt was better than many are giving it credit for.

It's not perfect though, and there is something slightly amiss.  It could be that the face is too long.  The chin appears a little too large to me, with a longer face than I think is appropriate.  It could also be that the sculpt itself looks older, less innocent, than Go-Go does on film.  There are clearly issues with the sculpt, but they aren't as exaggerated as some believe.

The Uma sculpt is better than the paint ops allow it to be.  I'll comment on them in the next section, but the skin tone seems too thick, and the blood on the forehead is distracting.  Uma is not a pretty woman in the traditional sense, but here the check bones are a little too pronounced.  The lips, nose and eyes are good though, and it captures the general appearance well.  The expression seems more sad than mean - it's all in the eyes - but that's not a major issue.

My big complaint with the sculpt is not the faces, but the hair.  Both appear as caps, rather than hair, sculpted as separate pieces.  It's particularly a problem for Go-Go, and I think it further exaggerates any of the basic facial issues.  I'm also not a fan of 'action' hair, where the sculptor attempts to create a feeling of motion with the hair.  It never really succeeds, particularly with thick plastic hair like Go-Go's, and ends up looking silly.

For those wondering about the scale, these will fit in nicely with most other 6 - 7" lines like Movie Maniacs.  I've included a comparison shot at the end of the review.

Paint - ***
The paint ops are solid, but not exceptional.  The faces are clean and neat, but both seem to have a heavy coat of skin tone, looking like they're wearing too much make up.  There's plenty of blood everywhere, and the effect looks pretty good most of the time.  The only spot that doesn't really work is the blood splashed on The Bride's face - it looks cartoony and out of place.  It is very specific to the source material, because she has that exact drip on her forehead from start to finish in the battle with Go-Go and the Crazy 88's, but unfortunately, the way it was painted on here didn't quite work.

While the paint ops are fairly clean and consistent on the figures, there are some weak color choices.  The streaking of the hair is supposed to imply the dirty blonde look she had during the battle with the Crazy 88's, but doesn't work particularly well.  And both the shoes and socks on Go-Go are too dirty, with a wash that seems out of place.

Overall though, the paint application quality is solid, and there's not only tons of detail, but it's all very specific to the movie.

Articulation - **1/2
There are a lot of folks seriously disappointed with the articulation of these figures, but that is due in large part to the early press from NECA that said they would be 'highly articulated'.  That didn't work out, but these have average articulation for this type of movie figure.

They both have neck, shoulders, cut elbows, wrists, waist, hips, ankles and cut legs (above the knees on The Bride, under the knees on Go-Go).

The arm articulation allows for a moderate number of fighting poses, but the leg articulation is fairly useless.  They do stand fine on their own though, but you'll probably want to use them with the stands, since they add so much to the look.

The Bride has a rather unique neck joint.  Rather than being jointed at the base of the neck, it's jointed up at the jaw.  It allows her to tilt her head from side to side and foreword and backward, and really does add to the number of 'looks' she can have.

Accessories - ***1/2
NECA gets a lot of credit for being creative with the accessories for both these figures.

Go-Go has the knife and sheath, both very detailed and nicely sculpted.  I'm not sure why she has this knife, since it belonged to O-Ren, but it's still pretty sweet.  She comes with a second set of hands to hold these, because her ball and chain is not something you want to try to pull out of the other hands.

The chain is in those hands pretty solid, but it is an extremely cool accessory.  The chain is real of course, but the last section is stiff - they used some sort of glue or plastic to 'solidify' the chain - so that it appears to be swinging in mid-air.  While I'm not big on the moving hair sculpt, I really do like how they managed to capture a moment of motion in the chain.

Not only that, but the ball on the end of the chain pops off, and a second ball can attach.  One has blades exposed, the other not.  The go on and off pretty easily, but you still want to be careful.

Finally, Go-Go comes with a wooden floor base.  It's fairly small, and not nearly as impressive as the House of Blue Leaves bases that The Bride and the Crazy 88's have.

Speaking of the Bride's base, I went with the one that works with the boys.  It's larger than Go-Go's, and works well with the Crazy 88's bases.  They don't lock together, but they do sit next to each other like a puzzle.

She also has her sword, very detailed and nicely scaled, a scabbard, a board with nails in it (to dispatch Kang, Kodos and Go-Go), and a second hand that is sculpted to hold the board.  It's a decent number of accessories, and the sculpts and creativity are great.  Now if Go-Go had three little holes in the side of her head for the nails to fit inside...

The extra hands with both figures pop off and on fairly easily, but you want to be careful that you don't bend the pegs.

My only complaint here is that some of the paint ops, particularly the vac-metalized blades, are a little inconsistent.

Fun Factor - **
These aren't for playing - they're for displaying.  The Crazy 88's have a pretty neat action feature, but these two are intended to just stand there and look good.

Value - **1/2
These are ten dollar figures.  But with the continuing drop in retailers, there's no way to see these at that price.  If you can stand to wait a couple weeks though, you can find some on-line retailers that are a lot closer to that ideal.

Overall - The Bride ***; Go-Go **1/2
I really wanted to like these, but they did end up disappointing me.  Neither one is getting as bad of a score as I had initially thought when I first picked them up though.  They were both originally going to be another half star lower, but after watching the film again, and seeing how cool the accessories were, I became convinced that although the sculpts aren't perfect, they are better than my initial reaction.

I don't like the separate hair pieces, and the price issue is going to haunt many lines this year.  But these are certainly better than many other movie lines, and after seeing the new Harry Potter stuff (AAAAHHHGGHHH!  My EYES!), I realize they could be a lot worse.

Where to Buy - 
Media Play, Sam Goody and Suncoast are the only stores with these so far, since they air freighted them in.  On-line options include:

Aisle Sniper has the set for $60.

- Killer Toys has the set of 5 for $50, or $11 each.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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