Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Deluxe Silver Knight Batman from Legends of Batman by Hasbro (Confirmed: Good)

   
I hope everyone's enjoying these Legends of Batman reviews as much I'm enjoying collecting this cool line from the 1990s.  While there have been a few Elseworlds stories where Batman fights during medieval times (Batman/ Dark Joker: The Wild, Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, and Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table come to mind), I don't think he's worn a costume like this in any of them. (By the way, would anyone be interested in reading reviews of the various Batman Elseworlds comics?  There's a ton of them and most aren't very well known.) Anyways, here's what the back of the card says about Silver Knight Batman, a deluxe figure from series 2 of Kenner's Legends of Batman line released in 1995: "In dark Medieval days now long forgotten, the first son of a powerful nobleman operated as the imposing figure of Batman.  Clad in brilliant, shining battle armor, Silver Knight Batman heroically led his empire's brave soldiers across the land, battling evil warriors at every turn, and banishing the vicious heathens with his smashing battle axe and slashing sword. As heir apparent to the Emperor's throne, Silver Knight Batman strived to someday end the warring and bring peace to his land forever."
      Well, that's the story folks. Ready for the review? To the Bat-armory!

Blu Review: Would You Rather (Confirmed:Good)

And you thought your dinner parties were bad!

     Over a very juvenile, but entertaining game of would you rather at dinner with friends last Saturday night as we endured a rather long wait for food, fellow EpicReview writer Barbecue17 mentioned a recent horror film based on the game that has been garnering a little bit of buzz.  The curiosity that arose out of the premise alone propelled us to go to the nearest Redbox and rent the film.  I think the cover art of the blu-ray which features an eyeball about to get grazed by a razor blade went a long way in ensuring that the blu-ray would be in stock, although it was checked out at the first Redbox we went to.  So was film as entertaining as our game at dinner? Find out after the break……

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Action Figure Review: "The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Made" from Battle Babies (Confirmed: Great)

   
I've already looked at Thunder Tread, and now it's time to look at the second Battle Babies piece I picked up from creator Brad Rader while at Charlotte's Heroes Convention: "The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Made."  That's what Brad called it when I asked him about it, and he gave me a pretty sweet deal on it, too. Once again, remember that these are assemblage-styled customs, meaning they're made up of lots of different parts and accessories from various action figures and toys. They're pretty much one of a kind and are more art statement than traditional toy, although don't get me wrong; they'll look great on your shelf.  Brad sells his various Battle Babies on his Storenvy page, so check there often for more unique pieces that might pop up. Like I always say with custom projects, the traditional categories might not apply, so you're just going to have to deal with a random look at a cool toy. Ready?

SDCC Exclusive Reviews: Albino Predator and NES Jason from Preternia and It'sAllTrue


Visit It'sAllTrue.net


A couple great websites have put up some fantastic reviews of two SDCC exclusives that I'd love to own, but probably won't, at least for some time--Jon from Preternia.com has reviewed the NECA exclusive Albino Predator from the Batman/Predator fan film Dead End here, and Vault from It'sAllTrue.net has reviewed the NECA exclusive glow in the dark Jason Voorhees figure based off of the original Nintendo game here.  These are both great reviews of some really cool exclusives, so head on over to those sites and check them out.


Visit Preternia.com

Movie Review: The Wolverine (Confirmed Good)

As you can see in the above banner, The Wolverine
has had one of the best studio poster campaigns of the summer!

     It wasn't too long ago that when you heard the name Marvel you thought of two characters: Spiderman and Wolverine, regardless of the medium, be it film or comics.  That was, of course, before The Avengers phenomenon hit, pushing characters like Iron Man and Captain America to the A list of Marvel both on the pages and on the big screen.  James Mangold’s The Wolverine is an attempt to give Logan (Hugh Jackman) the type of in depth character portrait he lacked in his last two on screen appearance in: X-men The Last Stand and Wolverine Origins (*You forgot about his cameo in X:Men First Class- Editor*).  Not only that, this film is seen as the launch point for Fox’s own Marvel Cinematic universe overseen by the comic industries' number one hype man Mark Millar.  So was The Wolverine a successful launch for the Fox Marvel cinematic universe? Did Director James Mangold fill the large shoes left by Director Darren Aronofsky when he left the project? Find out after the break…..

Monday, July 29, 2013

Star Wars Black Wave 3 at Poe Ghostal.com

Visit PoeGhostal.com
    
     Interested in checking out images from wave 3 of Hasbro's upcoming 6 inch Star Wars Black line?  Then head over to PoeGhostal.com and check out the fun.  Poe got pictures sent to him (lucky) of the upcoming Stormtrooper, Episode 3 Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker in his Bespin fatigues.  Luke in the Bespin outfit was definitely one of the figures I've been most looking forward to seeing, and he does look pretty good. Let's hope he's got a removable hand (although I would imagine a battle damaged variant could be released at some point in the future--complete with removable hand, bloodied face, and a space cast!)

     Rumors seem to be pointing towards an Episode 3 Anakin Skywalker as the likely fourth figure in the wave, although I hope it turns out to be Admiral Ackbar or Bossk.  Just because they're both awesome.

Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Clown (Confirmed: Good).

  
 I've already said it in many other reviews, but I think it's impossible to overstate the influence McFarlane toys had in action figure history.  Like a more ultra-detailed Helen of Troy, McFarlane launched a thousand ships of other small companies who wanted to get into the action figure industry.  While Spawn.com lists the figures as being released in December of 1994, they really began to hit shelves in mass in 1995.  1995 was a year when Spawn toys were out proclaiming the birth of the Ultra Action Figure, Toy Biz was really starting to diversify and expand their Marvel offerings, and Kenner released Star Wars: The Power of the Force 2. Despite whatever age the package might have suggested, action figures were starting to not just be for kids anymore. Just take a look at the Clown here. He's an evil clown that can shape-shift into a demon. Not exactly standard kids fair, huh?  Let's take a closer look at another figure from Spawn series 1....

Confirmed Epic Podcast Episode 18: The Wolverine


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This podcast is no longer available if you would like a copy please email us at thepicreview@gmail.com


The long awaited return of the Wolverine and The Confirmed Epic Podcast!

In the long awaited 18th edition of The Confirmed Epic Podcast we review James Mangold's long awaited The Wolverine.  We also cover the epic news items of the week: Avengers 2 Age of Ultron and the recently announced Batman and Superman film from Warner Bros.  In addition to that we delve into what we have been checking out: San Diego Comi-Con 2013,The Conjuring, The Raid Redemption, and Taxi Driver.


(You can now find the Confirmed Epic Podcast on itunes just search thepicreview)

(Editors Note: If you have any problems with the link either install adobe flash player or if you are listening from a phone simply follow the direct link to our audio here: http://thepicreview.podbean.com/ Thank You!)

Produced by:Dylan Bell

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ideas for future theme weeks on ThEpic Review?

   
How about Bill Paxton week?
  
 I hope everyone enjoyed our Resident Evil theme week.  Unfortunately, I think I'm the only Resident Evil fan of the Epic Review crew, so I didn't get anyone wanting to write movie or video game reviews to make it a true, multimedia experience.  I'm curious what you guys thought, however: this was our busiest week at ThEpic Review ever, so there must be some hardcore Resident Evil and/ or zombie fans out there.  I've been thinking about some other theme weeks that we could do here.  Here's some thoughts I had:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme week

A theme week dedicated to a specific Batman villain

A Sandman week (if only to get Arathaelia to actually pitch in!)

Admiral Ackbar week (although this could be a trap!)

G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 week (because it's one of my favorite toy lines ever)

Hellboy Week

Tomb Raider Week

Bruce Campbell Week

A DC Comics Elseworlds Week

Schwarzenegger Week

Any thoughts? Any better ideas than what I have listed here?  What elements do you want to see in a good theme week? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scott Neitlich (Toyguru) comments on Masters of the Universe Classics' 2014 Club Eternia subscription numbers


     Well, we're in that period of time after SDCC known as subscription season. It's that time of year when fans debate whether or not plop down huge amount of cash to subscribe to Mattel's mostly mysterious "high end" collector lines.  Here's some thoughts from Masters of the Universe brand manager, Scott Neitlich (also known as Toyguru) that he posted about the state of the Masters of the Universe 2013 Club Eternia subscriptions on Mattycollector.com.  My thoughts are in bold, his in italics.  Not that the message is unedited, spelling errors and all.

"MOTU fans,

I've seen a lot of emails and posts over the last few days about the meter and reaction to my post on Facebook yesterday that we are still tracking below expectations. Let me see if I can clear up some common questions.


1:The meter is 100% accurate. It is not a scare tactic. It was designed as a communication tool to let fans/customers know how close or far we are from the sub happening. 


I actually had a hard time finding the thermometer (it's here after you click through to the sub you want)Just to play devil's advocate, what would be the point of Mattel showing the sub thermometer hitting 100%?-This isn't like Kickstarter where there are stretch goals and such for the exceeding the goal?

2:If the meter is not hit, what will likely happen is the 4 figures that are already tool'd (the ones revealed at SDCC) will be released quarterly and perhapes an item at SDCC. After that, that will be it. End of story. It is not a scare tactic, it is a truthful statement. MOTUC and in fact everything we do on Matty is a tiny tiny spec for Mattel. We continue to make these great toys because we love our fans, we love these brands and we want to keep them going. But the raw facts are in today's market we simply can't keep these high end low run collector lines going with out guaranteed customers. That is why we have the presale sub and the meter to communicate how far along we are. 

While I still have a list of quite a few characters I want, if the line ended next year with us just getting the figures shown, that wouldn't be too bad.  Glimmer, Hydron, Modulok, and Two-bad would definitely finish off the main crew from four separate factions.
[Letter continued after the break]

Friday, July 26, 2013

Resident Evil Week: Claire Redfield (Leather Jacket Version) from Biohazard 3 by Moby Dick Toys.

  
    I don't know much about Moby Dick Toys, so if you do please let me know!  (I like to pretend they're run by some crazy old businessman with a peg leg and an eye patch, though.) Around 2000, the Japanese company Moby Dick released action figures that were tied in with the video game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (of course, since these were created in Japan, they used the Japanese name for the Resident Evil series, Biohazard) that have since become fairly rare.  Most of them, anyways. If you look around you can find a few of the figures (like the Regina version of Jill Valentine) for decent prices, but most of them are fairly pricey, and some, like any version of the Nemesis and Rebecca Chambers, usually sell for a little over $300. Today I'm looking at one of the low-to-mid range figures, Claire Redfield in her leather jacket alternate outfit from Resident Evil 2.  Released in 2002, Claire was packaged individually and, like most other figures in the series, came with a piece of a giant build-a-Nemesis figure. I have the part somewhere, but it's not too interesting on it's own. I'd much rather look at Claire, wouldn't you?  I'll do just that after the break...

Resident Evil Week: Hoardax reviews Zombie Superman by UNKNOWN (Confirmed: Good)




Hoardax from Hoard World is back to help us finish out Resident Evil week with another zombie themed review. This time, it's something crazy and unusual. Take it away, Hoardax!

     This is less of a real toy review and more of a revelation. This is because I'm not really sure what I'm reviewing here.

     Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a knock-off? Is it a mistake?

     All I know is this. Zombie Superman is made in China. He has a generic Superman body that I'm sure is more than likely from a specific DC toy line.  Learn more after the break...

Netflix for the Poor Kids: The Perfect Host (Confirmed: Great)





Every time I'd scroll through Netflix and see this movie go by, I was intrigued.  I've never seen a bad performance from David Hyde Pierce, who plays one of the main characters, and the write-up always piqued my curiosity.  I finally watched it the other night.  If you want to know more about this twisted comedy/thriller, be sure to read on after the break...



Resident Evil Week: Leon S. Kennedy (R.P.D. Outfit-SDCC Exclusive) from Resident Evil 4 by NECA (Confirmed: Good)


     Resident Evil 4 changed everything for Resident Evil. The gameplay, puzzles, nature of the "zombies" encountered, and even the fan base were all altered by Resident Evil 4, which saw the return of fan favorite Leon S. Kennedy (the S. stands for 'Scott') and the transition to a more action-based game play through more open areas.  Since companies like Toy Biz, Palisades, and Moby Dick have all taken swings at the earlier games in the Resident Evil series, NECA decided it was their turn and began releasing action figures based on Resident Evil 4.  After two series of figures and two different versions of Leon, NECA decided to release a special SDCC 2006 version of Leon as he appears in one of his unlockable outfits from the game: his R.P.D. outfit from Resident Evil 2.  Ready to take a look at an interesting and fun exclusive? Then join me after the break....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Resident Evil Week: Forest Speyer & Maggot Zombie (Confirmed: Epic)


This is it, folks. The first Resident Evil figure I ever owned.  In my review of The Real Ghostbusters Zombie I talked about my history with zombies, but ended before I got talking about Resident Evil.  That's what I'll be doing here, as well as reviewing this confirmed Epic action figure set.  I stayed with my grandmother during most of the summer of 1998. Days were spent watching movies, playing Nintendo 64, and spending time with various cousins, all of whom lived near my grandmother.  During an evening spent with one of my cousins, a friend of his brought over a Playstation. I'd never really had the chance to play one before, so this was a pretty big deal.  As I was flipping through his games (mostly sports and wrestling) I did find one game that appealed to me: Resident Evil.  I was not unaware of the game, as I probably had a subscription to the majority of the gaming magazines of the day, but I just hadn't had the chance to play it yet.  I asked could I give it a try.  Tyson (yes, that was his real name as far as I can remember) let me boot the game up and suddenly I was in pure gaming nirvana.
     It began like a horror movie, featured a creepy old mansion, plodding zombies, rabid zombie dogs, and a constantly oppressive atmosphere.  While I soaked up every ounce of my all too brief session with this game, Tyson just sat there and told me that if I didn't run everywhere I'd never beat the game in under three hours and unlock the rocket launcher (I seriously doubt anyone does this on their first play through, anyways).  Up until that point, perhaps the only video game to truly immerse me like Resident Evil did was Goldeneye, and I distinctly remember sitting around at my grandma's house the next day drawing maps of what I could remember of Spencer Mansion from the game.  Just a week or so later I was on a trip to Target with some family members when I found Toy Biz's Resident Evil figures freshly stocked.  I'd seen them previewed in the late, great ToyFare magazine, but now I realized the appeal. I didn't have much money (my parents had given me money at the beginning of the summer which I had to ration) and since it was early August, I was left with just enough to pick one set. I chose the Forest Speyer and Maggot Zombie (who I realize I've been calling Lab Zombie for some reason).  Let's look at them more closely....

Resident Evil Week: Hunter, Tyrant, Crimson Head, and Licker from Resident Evil 10th Anniversary Collection by NECA



 
  Reading Hoardax's review of Colonel America from Marvel Zombies, I had forgotten I had reviewed that figure (along with Zombie Spiderman) at Michael Crawford's website years ago. I also had forgotten I had reviewed the second series of Resident Evil: 10th Anniversary figures from NECA over at MWCtoys.com.  Check it out.  I looked at the Tyrant, Hunter, and Crimson Head from the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil and the Licker from Resident Evil 2. 


Action Figure Review: Clamp Champ from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel (Confirmed: Great)

    
     In February 2012 prior to New York Toy Fair, I created a list of the 25 figures I wanted to see in Masters of the Universe Classics before the line ended.  These were the figures I felt needed to be in the line in order for it to feel pretty complete without too many gaps.  Clamp Champ was one of those figures.  Not only does he add some nice diversity into the line, but he also was one of the few figures I remember actually selecting from a store and opening as a kid.  While the original vintage figure was simply the standard body with Fisto's armor and a new weapon, something about the character made me feel like Clamp Champ could easily have become one of the main crew if the line had continued. Clamp Champ was billed as the "Heroic Master of Capture" and appeared in the minicomic "The Search for Keldor", as well as a few of the Marvel and London comics.  I finally have Clamp Champ in hand, as he was the July 2013 monthly Club Eternia subscription figure and just arrived last week.  Does he live up to my expectations? Read on and find out....

Resident Evil Week: My First Zombie, A.K.A. The Zombie Monster from The Real Ghostbusters: Monsters by Kenner (Confirmed: Great)

 
As some have celebrated and others have lamented, we live in a time when zombies are known to everyone and have become a dominant part of popular culture.  Anywhere I go, I can find books about zombies, zombie themed toys and video games, zombie candy and food, zombie clothes; you name a product and a zombie version of it can probably be purchased.  While younger readers might be shocked to learn it, older readers will most certainly remember that this was not always the case.  Today I'm looking at probably the only zombie toy I owned as a kid until Toy Biz's Resident Evil line was released in late 1998: The Zombie Monster from Kenner's The Real Ghostbusters Monsters sub-line.  While most of the ghosts from the toy line were wild, often silly monstrosities made up for the toy line, the Monsters were based off of more recognizable and classic movie monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Hunchback, the Mummy, and of course, the Zombie.  More zombie goodness and cathartic thoughts after the break.... 
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Resident Evil Day! It's been 15 years since the Spencer Mansion Incident.........

    
     It's Resident Evil week at ThEpic Review and I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Resident Evil Day.  Why is it Resident Evil day? Because according to the in-game timeline, the events of Resident Evil first began on July 24th, 1998. That's when Alpha team (Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Albert Wesker, and Joseph Frost) found the crashed remains of Bravo Team's helicopter and were attacked, leading the survivors to take refuge in the Spencer Mansion.  It's been fifteen years since that day (in in-game time, at least) and we will never forget you.   Josseeepphh!!!

Resident Evil Week: Hoardax Reviews Colonel America from Marvel Select's Marvel Zombies by Diamond Select Toys


Special thanks to Hoardax from Hoard World for submitting another zombie themed review for our special Resident Evil week here at ThEpic Review!




   Some of you may remember Marvel Zombies. It was a Marvel Comic by pre-Walking-Dead-TV-show-Fame Robert Kirkman. I read it when it first came out. I seem to recall liking it quite a bit at the time. Anyway, it got HUGE. It's only looking back at all this that I have actually realised just how long ago Marvel Zombies came out. In my slime-filled brain meats, Marvel Zombies is still recent.

     Oh no. Uh-uh. It's not. Not by your human standards. Not really.

     Marvel Zombies came out in December 2005. That's almost eight years ago. Wowsers. Have we really been obsessed with zombies again for that long? I mean, Marvel Zombies only existed back then to cash in on how popular zombies were at the time. But even now, the zombie love just doesn't seem to be slowing down, does it? There's a joke about the speed of zombies back there but I'm letting it pass me by.More after the break.... 

Movie Review: The Conjuring (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

Could The Conjuring be the next horror classic?

     Critically acclaimed horror films are rare in the era of Hollywood cash grabs in which we live.  Far too often filmmakers today think that something grotesque, found footage, or an often used franchise are substitutes for the classic horror films of yesteryear that cinephiles yearn for.  Too many times, fans of the horror genre are disappointed by films that promise to be the next horror classic only to be let down with a trope filled gore fest.   With the exception of last year’s Cabin in the Wood’s which turned the genre on its head rather than perfecting it, it’s been a long time since the last truly great pure horror film.  So when a horror film receives great word of  mouth like James Wan’s The Conjuring has gotten, film fans can’t help but be skeptical.  Did James Wan conjure up the next horror classic? Find out after the break…….

Resident Evil Week: Hunk & Zombie from Resident Evil 2: Platinum by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)


  Also known as Mr. Death, Hunk was first playable in the secret Resident Evil 2 scenario "The Fourth Survivor". The only remaining survivor of the Umbrella Security Service Unit that attempted to apprehend the G-virus sample from William Birkin, Hunk has to fight his way out of the sewers of Raccoon City in order to make it to a helipad for extraction.  Hunk appeared as a figure in the third series of Resident Evil figures out out by Toy Biz in 1999, the long name for the series being "Video Game Super Stars Presents Capcom's Resident Evil 2: Platinum". Yup, just as long as ever.  Hunk is paired with a regular, average zombie, but that's perfectly fine. Average zombies are the best for hunting!  Ready for a look at the mysterious Hunk and his zombie rival? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Resident Evil Week: Chris Redfield from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Minimates by Diamond Select Toys (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

 
 I have quite a few Minimates, (the Ghostbusters Minimates are my favorite Ghostbusters toys ever!) but haven't reviewed any for the site yet. Since it's Resident Evil Week, I thought it would be appropriate to review the lone Resident Evil Minimate I own: Chris Redfield from the second wave of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Minimates.  Released in March 2012 in both regular comic shops and as part of a Toys R Us exclusive wave, Chris Redfield brought a touch of zombie killing action to the fighting game series.  While Chris came packaged with a Spider-Man figure, I don't own him--Epic Review Contributor Andrew does.  He wanted Spidey, I wanted Chris, so we split the pack. Didn't that seem to work out nicely?  Anyways, if you want a review of Spidey, you'll have to ask Andrew. If you want a review of Chris, I'll be happy to oblige. Here we go.....

Resident Evil Week: Leon S. Kennedy & Licker from Resident Evil 2 by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Good and a 1/2)

    
     As a kid teenager, I only owned four sets of Toy Biz's Resident Evil figures: The Lab Zombie & Forest Speyer, Chris Redfield & Cerberus, Claire Redfield & Zombie Cop, and the figure I'll be looking at today--Leon S. Kennedy & Licker.  Leon S. Kennedy was a rookie cop who was literally on his first day of the job when the Raccoon City incident happened.  Smart and resourceful, Leon managed to work along with Claire and the mysterious Ada Wong to rescue Sherry Birkin and escape Raccoon City alive.  Since Resident Evil 2, Leon has truly become a fan favorite character, starring in a variety of games like Resident Evil: Gaiden for Game Boy Color, Resident Evil 4, and Resident Evil 6.  This figure reminds us of Leon's humble origins as a simple cop who possibly was "too young for this $#!%."  Ready for a brief look at Leon and the Licker? Then join me after the break....

Action Figure Review: Icer from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel (Confirmed: Great)


      Back at New York Toy Fair, Mattel really surprised Masters of the Universe fans by revealing their plans for a six figure subscription consisting of various characters from the Filmation cartoons He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power.  The first figure from the Club Filmation subscription has arrived, and it's Icer, the evil master of cold.  Icer appeared in only one episode of  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, "The Ice Age Cometh", and was voiced by John Erwin (who voiced He-Man himself).  Icer was not a character who was on my top 25 list, nor in my top 50, but having him in hand, I must stay that he makes a striking figure who should stand out on your shelf.  Blending together equal mixtures of Captain Cold, Mr. Freeze, and perhaps even Doctor Manhattan, Icer is worth checking out. Ready for a look at this freezing Filmation foe? Then join me after the break....

Resident Evil Week: Jill Valentine & Web Spinner from Resident Evil by Toybiz.

 
 Ready for a review of the master of unlocking?  Then it's time to take a look at Jill Valentine, another figure from Toy Biz's Resident Evil action figure series from 1998.  Jill Valentine, one of the protagonists from the first game in the series, comes with a nemesis for her to fight: Web Spinner. It's one of the creepy, over-sized spiders running around the Spencer Mansion.  While I managed to pick this figure up with a lot of various toys a few years back, it didn't have Web Spinner or Jill's weapon with it. Finally I managed to get a complete figure not too long ago, so I'm rearing to go on reviewing this girl.  If you're ready to dive right in, so am I. Grab yourself a Jill Sandwich and get ready for the review, after the break...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Resident Evil Week: Claire Redfield & Zombie Cop from Resident Evil 2 by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

  
     This is hands down my favorite figure from Toy Biz's Resident Evil line: Claire Redfield and the Zombie Cop.  In early December of 1998 my cousins came to visit for a few days and brought their Playstation with them. I'm not sure they brought any games, though, so we went to Blockbuster to rent Resident Evil. Unfortunately the game didn't work, so we had to take it back and rented Resident Evil 2 instead. It's still one of my favorite games, and definitely a high point in a series that has had many, many high points.  It was enough to make a Nintendo fanboy (at the time) ask Santa Claus (actually, I asked my grandma) for a Playstation.  I got my Playstation for Christmas in 1998 solely because I was enamored by Resident Evil.  Sure, I wanted to play Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII also, but Resident Evil was what I really wanted.  For Christmas I got Resident Evil, Parasite Eve, Medievil, and Metal Gear Solid.  It wasn't long after Christmas that I ended up buying both Resident Evil 2 and this figure.  Released in late 1998/ Early 1999, Claire was part of the second wave of Resident Evil figures produced by Toy Biz, a toy company for their various Marvel action figures.  I'm going to absolutely gush about this figure because I love it so much, and you can join me after the break, if you'd like.

Resident Evil Week: Hoardax reviews Tarman from Return of the Living Dead by Amok Time Toys (Confirmed: Great)

 

I want to thank Hoardax from Hoard World for submitting some great zombie themed reviews for Resident Evil Week at ThEpic Review. Ladies and Gentlemen, Hoardax:

     I remember the NIGHT very clearly. I'll never forget it. It was about a month ago. It was when ThEpic Review requested guest reviews for their Resident Evil Themed ZOMBIE WEEK Extravaganza. That was the exact moment that it DAWNed on me that I didn't have any decent Resident Evil figures, like, at all. This made me Sad Face. But then I remembered that I do have some pretty great Zombie figures regardless, and it was about time they saw the light of DAY.

      I'd like to think that if you're reading this toy review that you've already seen the major motion picture RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. However, if you missed out on the year 1985, never owned a VCR/DVD/Bluray player and haven't been near a television or cinema screen since, you can watch the entire film right NOW. I think we can both agree that you really have no excuse to have not seen the film at this point.

      Having said all that, I'm so generous that I'm still going to make it even easier for you (at the expense of everybody else in the world that is reading this who has seen ROTLD, and just wants me to get on with this Tarman Review) if you don't have 87 minutes to spare, and you can just watch this two minute Best Of Tarman clip. Crappier versions of Tarman also appear in Return Of The Living Dead Part II and Return Of The Living Dead: Rave To The Grave.   More after the break......



Red 2 (Confirmed: Crap and a 1/2)

Red 2 may have you seeing RED!

     Back in 2010 Hollywood seemed to have a fascination with teams of ex-paramilitary personnel going against the rules in order to accomplish insane missions with unbelievably high stakes.  As a result, four movies all centering around the same premise were released that year: The Losers, The A-Team, The Expendables, and Red.  Out of the four The Expendables franchise has enjoyed the most success, already spawning a bigger and better sequel last summer on the backs of Sly Stallone and his pals.  This summer it was Red that got the sequel treatment bringing back the entire original cast left intact after the first film in addition to newcomers Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and GI Joe star Lee Byung-hun.  So did the most refreshing of those four 2010 action films produce a quality sequel? Find out after the break.....

Resident Evil Week: Chris Redfield & Cerberus from Resident Evil by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Eh and a 1/2)

 
 In preparation for Resident Evil week at ThEpic Review (July 22nd through July 26th), here's a review of an oldie, but a goodie: Chris Redfield & Cerberus from Video Game Superstars Presents: Capcom's Resident Evil. Yup, that series of toys had a darn long name.  Released in the late summer of 1998, at that point the original Resident Evil had been out for well over two years and Resident Evil 2 had been out for at least 6-7 months. Still, Toy Biz seemed to know that the series was becoming a franchise and put out a nice mixture of figures from the first two games. Chris Redfield and Cerberus came packaged together in the first series, and as one of the two main protagonists from Resident Evil, Chris was a pretty popular figure. I didn't get this guy until sometime in early 1999 and remember loving him, despite his faults. Let me say that: I love this figure, but boy does it have some faults.  Remember that as you read this review, if you dare....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Overtkill from Spawn by McFarlane Toys (Confirmed: Great)

  
   Overtkill (also known as Overt-Kill or Overkill) is another modified mob enforcer used by Don Tony Twist to try and kill Spawn.  Released at the tail end of 1994 as part of the first series of McFarlane Toys' (then Todd Toys) Spawn action figure line, Overtkill has a special place in action figure history simply because he was part of that first line of "Ultra Action Figures." As a kid, the only Spawn figures I owned were Spawn himself, Violator, Clown, Spawn Alley, and Overtkill here. From that first series, I experienced far too many broken figures and pieces, so I think my parents just stopped buying me Spawn figures. It wouldn't be until the Spawn: The Movie line in 1997 that I bought anymore figures of Spawny guy. I remember really liking Overtkill as a kid, however. I was invited to a sleepover birthday party where a friend asked me for Spawn toys, so I got him Medieval Spawn and Tremor. I ended up being allowed to pick up Overtkill, too, for myself. I don't know what happened to my childhood Overtkill (probably sold him at a yard sale), but when I bought this figure just recently, I was still impressed by how heavy he was. Ready for a big dash of meanness straight from the 1990's? Then join me after the break....

Movie Review: Grown Ups 2 (Confirmed: Good)

Welcome to Happy Madison Land, a great way to spend your Summer!

     A film critic I know personally and whose opinion I respect greatly once summed up the Happy Madison Grown Ups franchise by saying: “If you like a movie with grown men getting kicked in the nuts and fart jokes then the Grown Ups movies are for you.”  I couldn't help but keep this quote in my mind as the Adam Sandler buddy comedy has gotten roasted by critics over the past week or so.  However at the same time as the film was bashed by critics, it beat out probably the best widely released film of 2013 so far, Pacific Rim, so apparently a lot of people like to see grown men getting kicked in the nuts and fart jokes.  So was Grown Ups 2 really that funny even in a stupid and idiotic way? Find out after the break….

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Tremor from Spawn by McFarlane Toys (Confirmed: Good)

 
  It would be impossible to discuss action figures from the mid 1990s to the present without discussing McFarlane Toys.  Known as Todd Toys at their inception, Mattel pressured them to change their name, believing that consumers would confuse the company with Barbie's little brother, Todd (I know that Ken's Steakhouse brand salad dressing has always confused me, leading me to purchase lots of disappointing birthday gifts for my little female cousins). In 1995 the company would become officially know as McFarlane Toys, and the age of the "Ultra Action Figure" would begin. Today I'm looking at Tremor, a character who first appeared in Spawn #25 and released in December of 1994 as one of the six action figures from series 1 of McFarlane's Spawn toy line.  I'm not a Spawn expert, so what I know about Tremor comes from the included comic book and a little bit of research: Tremor appears to be a former Mafia tough guy named Richard Masullo who was turned into an experimental bio weapon. Having held onto his conscience and failing to be the killing machine that Don Tony Twist wanted, Tremor escaped to become a thorn in the mob boss' side. Initially believing that Spawn was connected to the mob in some way, Tremor attacked the dark hero before learning that Spawn was also hunting down the mob.  The comic included with Tremor seems to have them partnering up at the end to hunt down bad guys together.  Now that the introduction is out of the way, let's take a look at Tremor.....

Movie Review: Monsters University (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

Did Pixar pick the right property for their first prequel?

     Over the past couple of years, for better or worse Pixar, has not shied away from putting out it's share of sequels.  The better would be in the form of the two Toy Story sequels, while the worse is in the form of Pixar’s worst film by far Cars 2 (or as I refer to, it The Mater Movie). One thing Pixar has never tried, however, is a prequel,  so in pretty gutsy move Pixar decided to give the prequel treatment to one of their most beloved properties, the Monsters Inc. franchise.  So did Pixar’s prequel decision payoff? Find out after the break……

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Action Figure Review: Thunder Tread from Batttle Babies (Confirmed: Epic)

  
  In early June, I was fortunate to attend Charlotte's Heroes Con for the fourth year in a row.  It's a great convention that's getting bigger every year, and there's so much cool stuff there that it takes something really special to catch your eye.  This year I found something in the form of Battle Babies, an assemblage-type line that mixes random toy parts with little plastic babies.  I had stopped to browse over a small display of ManOrMonster? products when I began talking to Brad Rader, and noticed how cool the weird little creations he was peddling were.  Today I'm looking at the first of two pieces I purchased. This one's called "Thunder Tread", and is essentially a bear riding a tank.  Remember that, while these utilize multiple pieces from other lines, they're also individual, meaning that you won't be able to pick up this exact piece.  You can check out their Storenvy store here for more cool pieces, however. The fact that they're unique and assembled from multiple pieces means that the traditional categories don't always apply. Anyways, ready for a bear riding a tank with a baby in his head?  Then let's get truckin'!

Movie Review: The Lone Ranger (Confirmed: EH and a 1/2)

Johnny Deep automatically means a billion dollars for Disney, right?

      No studio has touted a blockbuster this year as much as Disney has The Lone Ranger.  The Mouse House’s hope was that combining director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and actor Johnny Deep would result in another Pirates of the Caribbean style billion dollar tent pole franchise.  So did Disney’s plan work? Find out after the break…..

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Netflix for the poor kids: Shark Night (Confirmed: EH)

Thankfully, no one ever said this was the next Jaws!
     As part of the annual beach trip to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, it’s tradition to watch the Steven Spielberg epic Jaws.  Well, after a bout with rainy weather at the beach I felt hungry for a little more shark infested action which led me to Shark Night, currently available on Netflix instant watch.  As you can probably imagine Shark Night isn’t Jaws, but just how good or bad was it? Find out after the break…

Movie Review: Pacific Rim (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

  
    From the beginning, director Guillermo del Toro has been unabashed that his intention for Pacific Rim has been nothing more than to introduce children to the Kaiju and mecha genres of film. You know, giant monsters and giant robotic suits.  If you have any fond memories of watching films starring creatures like Godzilla, Gamera, or Mothra, or of watching shows with various piloted mechs like Megazords and Gundam, you'll get the appeal.  This is a genre film that is made to entertain, pure and simple. Del Toro is a director that truly follows his passions, and now his passions have led him to create perhaps the best giant creature film we've seen in years. Here's a relatively spoiler free look at Pacific Rim, after the break....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Action Figure Time Machine 90's Edition: Ultra Armor Batman from Legends of Batman by Kenner


 Kenner was so obsessed with producing as many Batman figures as they could that they even started making action figures of other characters and calling them Batman.  Take this figure, "Ultra Armor Batman," for example:  this isn't Batman. Well, it's not Bruce Wayne, anyway. It's Jean Paul Valley, also know as Azrael, disguised as Batman. Yes, Jean Paul Valley did take over as Batman while Bruce was injured during the KnightFall storyline (which Legends of Batman drew heavily from) but it still seems kind of sneaky.  This is the armor that Azrael wears when Bruce finally challenges him in order to take back the role of Batman, so it's cool to see that Kenner used some Batman source material here.  As part of series 3 of Legends of Batman, Ultra Armor Batman was released in 1996.  Ready to jump right in to the review? The join me after the break- but be forewarned that I'm calling him Azrael for the rest of the review.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Dark Warrior Batman from Legends of Batman by Kenner

  
 Last month during the Week of the Batman on Battlegrip, Philip Reed posted the list:  "Ten Awesome Kenner Batman Action Figures of the Nineties."  One of the figures that made his list was a figure from series 2 of Kenner's Legends of Batman line, Dark Warrior Batman.  I'll be reviewing him today.  It should be well established now that A.) I love Batman, and B.) I love crazy Elseworlds versions of Batman, so it seems logical to assume that I'll like this guy.  What the heck is Dark Warrior Batman, anyways?  Seeing the giant silver spiked shield and the black helmet, I initially assumed this was intended to be a medieval Batman of some sort. You know, like Batman as a knight or something.  It turns out, this is actually a future version of Batman.  Let's listen to the words from the card back, written down so long ago by a forgotten Kenner scribe: "Terror abounds on the ravaged landscape of tomorrow, where Dark Warrior Batman metes out justice in a barren and hopeless world. Hordes of destructive nomads scavenge what's left of a post-apocalyptic earth and it's up to one power- Dark Warrior Batman- to enforce the only form of law and order remaining for mankind.  Will there be a day after tomorrow worth surviving for? Only if Dark Warrior Batman triumphs and retrieves civilization from the brink of extinction."
     OK, let's take a break for a moment and think about what we read. Good grief, that bio was amazing. Seriously, if DC ever wants to make all the money in the world, they just need to start writing Batman stories based on that bio. Who wouldn't read that? It's Batman meets Mad Max.  Imagine how freaking cool this guy's Batmobile must look.  Well, I've decreed that the bio is Confirmed: Epic. Heck, it's better than both Batman Forever and Batman and Robin (although so was that case of food poisoning I had about three years ago).  So is the figure any good? Read on after the break to find out. Civilization depends on it!
 

Star Wars Black Greedo by Hasbro Revealed at Entertainment Earth


Entertainment Earth has been doing a cool 4-week special on the development of the Greedo action figure from the second series of Star Wars Black figures.  As you can see, I think he looks pretty good. I'm really excited to see how well Hasbro handles characters with more complex costumes, such as a Gamorrean Guard, Chewbacca, the charred corpse of Uncle Owen (what? It could happen?), but for a character with a fairly simple costume, Greedo looks great. While I already have a fairly extensive Star Wars collection in the 1/18th scale, I'm not sure how many figures from Star Wars Black I'll buy, especially if new 1/18th scale figures are coming out. I think I'll probably limit my buying to Bounty Hunters, really good versions of the main characters, and Admiral Ackbar. Cruise on over and check out the really cool pre-production photos at Entertainment Earth.

Netflix for the Poor Kids: The Crow (Confirmed: Great)


     I'm as shocked as you are that I had never seen The Crow before this week.  Released in 1994, the film is an eccentric blend of Gothic romance, superhero fantasy, and vigilante drama. The Crow manages to visit some dark places without ever dwelling in them for too long, which helps to explain it's longevity and cult fan base.  While it's surrounded by an omnipresent oppressive atmosphere, the film still inserts some glimpses of light that allow the film to not only have an underlying sweetness to it (a midst all the killing), but also a sense of fun and playfulness as well.  Mostly, though, The Crow is remembered as the last film of Brandon Lee, son of the late Bruce Lee, who was killed during filming due to an actual bullet being dislodged from a gun barrel by a blank. While it was most certainly a tragic accident, it does lend the film and Lee's character of Eric Draven a haunting, ghost-like quality.  While no film or performance can justify the death of an actor or crew member, those deaths certainly can change the way we view and experience a film.  Since it sounds like the film is going to be remade/rebooted sometime soon (with Luke Evans in the role of Eric Draven), perhaps now is as good a time as ever to reexamine this modern cult classic. More thoughts after the break....

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leo Corazon from Mystical Warriors of the Ring Goes on Sale Tomorrow- July 12, 2013


You might remember a few months back that I interviewed Mark Vasquez about his fantasy wrestling project Mystical Warriors of the Ring.  While there have been a few figures available at various conventions, tomorrow could be your chance to purchase a figure directly from Fantastic Plastic Toys, the official distributor of Mystical Warriors of the Ring.  Leo Corazon is the figure who will be available tomorrow (our crack Epic Review staff tells me his name is a play on "lion heart") and he comes in three colors: Aztec Gold, Metallic Orange, and color-changing orange-to-yellow.  Each minifigure (remember, these are a little under 2 inches and similar to M.U.S.C.L.E., OMFG, and SLUG Zombies) sells for $25 and comes with the following goodies:
  • Collectible Event Ticket for the mailaway
  • 3 Art Cards (1 Bio, 2 Artists Profile)
  • 1 Oversized Story Art Card

 These guys will be available around 12pm CST and will probably go pretty quickly! Head on over to Fantastic Plastic Toys to pick up your set or to the official Mystical Warriors blog to learn more about the brand and watch some great video reviews.


Action Figure Time Machine 90s Edition: Al Simmons from Spawn: The Movie by McFarlane Toys (Good and a 1/2)


Well, I haven't gone back and watched Spawn since I reviewed Jessica Priest last month, but I have added a few more Spawn: The Movie figures to my collection.  One of these is Al Simmons, the government operative who becomes Spawn after he is assassinated by Jessica Priest.  In the film Simmons is played by Michael Jai White, who according to Jet magazine holds the distinction of being the first African American to play a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture. (Fun Fact: Michael Jai White also played the mob boss Gambol in The Dark Knight.)  Shaquille O'Neil's Steel opened just two weeks after Spawn, although most people don't want to remember that movie for any reason. Anyways, Al Simmons here is the fourth Spawn: The Movie figure I've ever owned, and I'm amazed I never bought him when I was younger. Well, are you ready to join me in taking a look at Al Simmons? Let's jump right in!

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl iPhone Case from Chara-Covers by Huckleberry (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

 
While browsing at a local purveyor of fine goods, I ran across a new piece of Batgirl merchandise that I didn't own: the Batgirl "Chara-Covers" iPhone case.  Chara-Covers is a new line of protective cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S that are shaped like various DC superheroes and villains. They're made of a hard plastic and seem to snap over the back of the phone to protect it from damage.  I remember seeing a Harley Quinn case, but I forgot who else I saw. Once I snagged Batgirl I was on my way to the register!  For full disclosure, let me state that I do not own an iPhone or any smart phone at all.  I simply bought this because it's a cool Batgirl product. It comes in a small window box so you can see the case easily.  Ready for a closer look?  Join me after the break.....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Look at SDCC 2013 Exclusive Shredder from Playmate's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from ToyNewsi

Image from ToyNewsi.com

     Interested in checking out the 2013 San Diego Comic Con exclusive for Playmate's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines based off of the hit Nickelodeon animated series?  Then head on over to ToyNewsi and take a peak at the multiple in-hand images of this year's exclusive figure, Shredder.  In what looks to be a more deluxe version of the first Shredder figure that was released last year, this version of the evil leader of the Foot Clan features a sewer shaped display stand, vac metallized armor, a tattered cape, and a removable vac metallized helmet that reveals Shredder's scarred face. It's pretty gruesome, and definitely the most scarred visage of Oroku Saki that we've ever seen! Check him out at ToyNewsi (master video reviewer Pixel Dan is supposed to have a video review up soon) and read some more of my thoughts after the break....