Yu Shu Lien

Seems like I'm the last guy (or girl) on the block to get these.  I'm also one of the rare folks that didn't think the movie deserved an academy award.  Was it a good film?  It wasn't bad.  But I thought they hype far exceeded the product.

You can then understand why I wasn't in any rush to pick these up.  Of course, it didn't help that our neck of the woods didn't get them nearly as soon as everyone else, but even when they did show up about a week ago, I still drag my feet a bit on picking one up.

I finally broke down and grabbed one at Media Play, where the $13 price tag is identical to Toys R Us.  I had RePlay dollars to spend...what can I say.

Packaging - ***1/2
Like most bubble/cardback packages, this one certainly isn't collector friendly.  But the bubble is extremely sturdy, and the artwork is extremely colorful and attractive.  The text on the back is decent, and by posing the figures in the bubble they at least help out the MOC collectors somewhat.

Sculpting - ****
I can't fault Art Asylum's sculpting on this line.  This really looks like Michelle Yeoh, and I thought the Chow Yun Fat character was excellent as well.

The sculpting on the additional hands, base and accessories is also great, and in particular the ornate sword is very nicely done.

Art Asylum also managed to combine the sculpt with the articulation, so that even though the figure is well articulated, it doesn't hurt the sculpt in any way.

Paint - ***1/2
Another area where the figure leaves up to the hype.  I had very little to criticize on the paint ops, although the flesh tones on the face and hands could be a little more consistent.  But all the lines were clean, and the eyes and uniform showed great attention to detail.

Articulation - ***1/2
About the only more articulated figure in this size we've seen recently are the Spiderman Classics.  With a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, elbows, knees, waist, ankles and wrists, she can hold just about any pose.

Also, the use of the soft rubber pieces on the arms, waist and feet to hide some of the joints was both creative and well executed.

Accessories - ***
Here's where I'm going to sway from most popular opinions on these figures.  While the accessories are nice, there are two glaring problems which disappointed me.

The included base looks terrific, with excellent sculpting and detail.  My first major complaint is here though - why is there no pegs or grooves of any sort to attach the table top, shelf or case together?  I don't mean permanently, but something to at least keep them from falling over at the slightest touch would have been easy to add.

Both swords are well done, and fit in the character's extra hand properly.  The sword case, while nice looking, has it's own flaw, since it has no way to close tightly.  The lip on the top and bottom is too short to allow it to snap together, so one piece just rests on the other.  Again, something that could have been easily fixed.

But the biggest flaw, and the one that takes off a point, is the extra hands.  The hands are made of a soft plastic, the better to hold the sword I'm sure.  But that means the small posts that fit in the wrists are made of soft plastic as well, and one of mine snapped off the first time I tried to remove it.

Even on the ones that didn't break, it was pretty apparent that the posts wouldn't take too many swaps.  Here's a tip - don't try to push them straight in, or try to twist them out.  The best method is the reverse; pull straight out (with a little rocking motion, but be careful!) and twist in.

If the posts had been better, these accessories could have earned an easy four stars.

Value - ***1/2
Thirteen bucks isn't a bad price, considering the quality of the figure, the sculpting, articulation and all the cool accessories.  I wouldn't pay more than thirteen, but if you compare this to DC Direct figures you can see where it clearly blows them out of the water.

Overall - ***1/2
I bet folks won't like my criticisms of this figure, but I think it's because it was soooo close to perfect that I was more critical.  When a company goes to this much trouble to make a great figure, and then drops the ball on a couple major points, it makes the errors all the more glaring. 

Where to buy
Toys R Us has them for $13, as does the Media Play stores.  Other comic and specialty shops have them, but at a higher cost.  On-line:

- Comics Infinity, one of my favorite on-line comic shops, has a set of four for $50 plus shipping.  Once you factor in shipping, that will be pretty close to the $13 plus tax you'll spend at the store.  Tell them I sent you :-)  Oh, and search for 'crouching tiger'.

- AisleSniper has a great deal too.  They are selling singles at $14 each, and are giving free shipping on orders over $50.  So the set of four will cost you $56 total almost identical to paying $13 at the store and paying sales tax.  Again, search for 'crouching tiger', and let them know where you heard about them!

- Entertainment Earth has them for $90 plus shipping for a case of 6, but that's $15 each, and you'll have to find someone to take the extras. (MROTW affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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