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B.A. Baracus - the A Team
Jazwares

B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares


One definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting a different result. By this definition, much of the Hollywood aristocracy is insane. They seem intent on proving this less than perfect mental condition by a) remaking classic movies that require no update, b) turning 60 second SNL skits into full length movies, and c) turning bad, cheesy, silly 60's, 70's and 80's television shows into feature films.

The third example drives the subject of tonight's review. Some of the tv to big screen movies have been passable - I can watch Charlie's Angels more than once if for no other reason than the Angels themselves, which not too surprisingly is the same reason I could watch the original cornball show itself; I enjoyed the silliness of Get Smart; and Mission Impossible pulled off the impossible and was better than the original show, at least for me. But most are simply noise, filler at the box office that apparently turn a decent profit, but don't do much for anyone's careers. They've done them all too - Dragnet, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Starsky and Hutch, The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard, Lost in Space, McHale's Navy, Miami Vice, Wild Wild West...most of these are just dvd bargain bin fodder now.
B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares
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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares

But the Hollywood types with the money to back projects, being the crazy folk they are, keep going back to the bad tv well to drink deep. Their latest idea is The A-Team, the goofy uber-violent (for the time) action series of the early to mid 80's.

Whether it will be a hit like Mission Impossible remains to be seen, but at least this time they have a few things in their favor. It's not silly comedy or light family fare - it's an action show, and an 80's action show at that. There was a style back then of over the top violence combined with goofy one liners and broad stereotypes that made a show like this (and many of the action movies then as well) a lot of fun. If they can manage to recapture that - and if audiences still respond - they just might manage to not be quite so insane. This time.

With any big summer movie, there's bound to be action figures. Jazwares stepped in, and are producing a 3 3/4" line based on the new characters. There's some 12" figures coming as well - can't wait! You can find these at most mass market retailers starting...now.

Packaging - ***
I like the large scale logo, even if it does mean some wasted packaging. The colors and graphics give it that street worn, rough appearance - these ain't no wimpy characters.

There's very little personalization though, with the same standard text on the back ("...an elite special ops unit was sent to prison for a crime they did not commit...") and no photos of the other figures in the series. The only personalization is the small Baracus insert on the inside front of the bubble.

Sculpting - ***
Whenever you look at a figure like this, you must keep in mind it's small scale. He stands just about 4" tall, fitting in extremely well with most other figures done in a similar scale over the last few years. That's a huge plus for me, since you can add the A-Team to your Star Wars display - or load up the van with Stormtroopers for a wild night of partying.

Proportions are generally good. The head is smidge small, and the hands are a smidge large, but these issues are pretty minor in person.

The articulation and sculpt work well together, allowing the figure to stand great on his own in just about any pose. It's a matter of getting his center of gravity just right - then you're golden.

The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and work pretty well.

But does it look like Baracus? From the screen shots and trailers we've seen so far, yes, it's a reasonable facsimile. The dark skin tone tends to hide some of the sculpted facial features, but this is definitely the new school version of the character once portrayed by Mr. T, and no one would mis-identify him as the original.

It's worth noting here that the shoulder holsters are all sculpted as solid pieces. The gun is not removable, and you can't put the small handgun accessory inside on either side.

Paint - **1/2
In person, the paint is pretty solid average mass market work. Most of the issues aren't really obvious until you see him under the harsh eye of the macro camera lens.

The paint work on the eyes is a bit wonky, and even the nekkid eye can see that. The beard is fairly clean, but I'm not sure if the sculpted mustache is supposed to be painted...or not.

The skin is very glossy, which makes taking photos of the face fairly difficult. It might look like he has white eyebrows, but those are just reflections.

The tampo screws on his shirt and his large tattoo on the left bicep are fairly clean, again considering the small scale. The weathered jeans look great, and the boots are excellent.

Had they managed to do a little better job on the eyes, in particular the pupils, this score would have been another half star higher, easy.

Articulation - ***1/2
For figures in this scale, and for a company not well know for working in this scale, these are surprisingly well articulated.

B.A. has a ball neck, but it operates pretty much like a cut joint, with very little tilting in any direction. There are pin/disc style ball shoulders, as well as more traditional ball hips. Pin/disc elbows and knees, a cut waist and cut wrists round out the articulation.

This is enough to allow him quite a few stances, and the pins, discs and posts are all very strong and solid. The quality reminds me somewhat of the 80's RAH Joes - there's no doubt he could hold up to just about any play activity, except for the dreaded "forgotten in the backyard until Dad mows the lawn".

Accessories - ***
B.A. has two guns - a hand gun and a machine gun. Both fit nicely in his hands, and he can pose with them in just about any way, including holding them with two hands.

They don't fit in the holsters though, and as I mentioned in the sculpt section, the gun you see under his left arm is permanently in place. Getting two weapons at this price point is still reasonably good, and the sculpts on both are solid. They're your basic black, so there's nothing special about the paint, and the plastic is very soft to avoid injury with smaller kids.

Fun Factor - ***
This is another one of those PG-13 movies with action figures geared toward the 9 year old age range. And unlike something like Iron Man, where plenty of under 13's will end up seeing it by hook or by crook, this is a movie they won't have any experience or nostalgia for. It's going to be tough to get them introduced to the property.

Still, the solid articulation make these good toys, even if they are too old school for most of today's generation.

Value - ***
Most figures in this scale are now in the $7 - $8 range, unless you're buying the G.I. Joe figures at Walmart. While he doesn't come with a ton of extras, there's enough here to warrant a slightly better than average value at $6.

Things to Watch Out For -
I've heard of some breakage due to stuck joints, so take some care. Throwing him in the freezer for 20 minutes first might not be a bad idea.

Also, the guns, especially the machine gun, are very rubbery and thin. You could actually tear the weapon in two if you get too rough putting it in or taking it out of his grip.

Overall - ***
The 3 3/4" scale (which usually ends up more like 4" these days), has seen new life in the last few years. 2010 hasn't seen as many lines in this scale as 2008 and 2009, but it's still pretty well entrenched, especially with movie lines. That means you can put your B.A. next to Iron Man and have Hellboy or a Stormtrooper join them for a beer. I consider that a huge plus.

This scale also lends itself to vehicles, and I'm looking forward to snagging the van when it finally hits my local Target. I'll probably pick up a couple more of the figures then as well to add them to the display.

I'm not sure the movie is a must see, at least not at the theater, but then again...it is clearly designed as a summer popcorn flick, and I do have fond memories of the old show. Maybe if I can convince the wife that lots of explosions are just what we need on date night...

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
These guys are hitting Target first, but should be at other mass market retailers very soon.

Related Links -
A-Team links? Sorry, but I haven't reviewed any other A-Team product.

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B.A. Baracus A-Team action figure by Jazwares


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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