It’s the last day of this Jabba craziness and this week FigureFan has seen more Star Wars features than it has in a long time. I kind of enjoyed it, and I’m going to make a point to not ignore Star Wars quite so much in the future. Anyway, today we’re swinging back to the POTF2 line to take a look at a couple of Jabba’s husky henchmen. It’s a little known fact that yours’ truly could stand to shed a few pounds, so it’s always nice to see some portly action figures get some attention and make me feel fit by comparison. I think Jabba read in a PR magazine somewhere that if you surround yourself with heavy people, you look skinny. Sorry, Jabba, it ain’t working. To the figures!
The packaging is the same we saw with the torture droids a couple of days back. These are also part of the Freeze Frame series, so you get a pair of slides showing the characters in screen grabs from the movie. Considering Malakili is in the film so briefly, his slide is extra important as it serves as evidence that Kenner and Hasbro didn’t just make him up. Let’s go ahead and start with him.
Malakili: Once known only as “Rancor Keeper.” For the longest time, this guy was the best example of the fact that any Star Wars character was eligible for action figure honors. Sure, I had the vintage version of him as a kid, and yet I have no idea how or why. I have no recollection of actually walking into a store, being told by my parents that I could pick out a figure, and coming back with him. It’s hard to imagine that happening, and yet apparently it did. Maybe the rest of the pegs were full of Lobots. I also can’t remember ever playing with him. My ever creative kid brain summoned up all kinds of convoluted back stories for even the most obscure figures, but all Rancor Keeper ever did was stand somewhere behind Jabba’s throne and try not to be noticed. And now, I’ve gone so far as to have purchased him twice. Well played, Star Wars merchandising. Well played!
In fairness, Malakili had a few nanoseconds of screen time more than a lot of figures produced by Kenner and Hasbro. So what, if he didn’t have a speaking line? He sobbed. That was more than we ever got out of Prune Face or Squid Head. I can remember seeing RotJ with my parents and asking why that man was crying. My Mom simply answered because his pet just died. I felt sad and my young mind started questioning the very foundations of my heroes. What kind of asshole was Luke that he killed the poor fat guy’s pet? It was right at that moment that I was truly introduced to the concept that maybe morality is actually subjective. Maybe there are no rights and wrongs, and there are only grey areas. Thank you, Malakili, you taught me more than my college philosophy professor ever could. Of course, Malakili went on to Mos Eisley to open a restaurant with his friend. It’s true! I can’t make that shit up, but apparently someone else can. Either way, it’s clear to me that Malakili in all of his 60 seconds of screen time invoked more empathy in me as a character than anyone who appeared in any or all of the prequels.
So, I’ve gone on about Malakili for three paragraphs and haven’t said anything about the figure. But really, what is there to say? He’s a husky, shirtless guy in puffy pants with a hood. How many people do you know wear hoods with no jacket or shirt? He’s a trend setter. If you’re in the market for a Rancor Keeper, this one is improved over the original Kenner version and he’s actually not a bad sculpt, although Hasbro has since released a newer version in the Legacy Collection. The package on the POTF2 version says he comes with a vibro blade, but if you’re a ludicrously well informed nerd like me, then you know that’s a gaffi stick given to him by some Tusken Raiders for helping them out. And no, I didn’t really know that, I looked it up.
And then there’s the Gamorrean Guard. I don’t have nearly as much to say about these guys, save for the fact that I’ve always had an inexplicable love for them. Maybe it’s because they’re one of the first aliens we’re introduced to in RotJ and they really set the tone for the crazy creaturefest that follows. Maybe it’s because they get to wear sandals to work. I do know that I love their medieval garb and the fact that they were so bad ass that they carry axes rather than fancy laser swords or blasters. I also love that they walk around with snot running out of their noses like leaky faucets. It’s like someone scooped them off their planet and never bothered to tell them about technology like blasters… or tissues.
The vintage Kenner version of the Gamorrean Guard was a pretty good figure, but the POTF2 release has long been my Gamorrean of choice. I’ve yet to pick up a Vintage Collection version, but their pants look too furry and they’re way too expensive to army build. I can get three POTF2 Guards for every one VC version and it’s all about army building, my friends. In my mind, the POTF2 Gamorrean Guard is one of the best figures the line put out. He has a very good sculpt, which is pretty faithful to the source material, and if Hasbro meant to buff him out, you can’t tell because he was already fat. I can hate on plenty of the figures from this era, but this guy is solid enough to stand proudly in my Jabba display. I also like his axe better than the one that came with the vintage figure.
Both figures feature the same six points of articulation. Their heads rotate, their arms rotate at the shoulders, they have standard T-crotches, and they can swivel at the waist.
And that puts this week of Jabbapalooza in the bag. I’ll be back Monday with another Farscape figure and the rest of the week will be all about going through some new receivings, including some Marvel and DC figures, a Lego set, Transformers, and even a certain pair of third-party Transformers from Mech Ideas. Enjoy your Sundays, and after church, why not go take the kids to Malakili’s restaurant for a nice brunch? I’ll see ya there!