Thank God for alcohol, because back when I saw The Predator in the theater, booze (and the always sublime hospitality of Cinebistro) helped to make it a pleasant experience. I had a genuinely good time! When I woke up the next day I couldn’t remember a lot about it. I assumed my memories of it were a jumbled mess because it was being screened through a rich alcohol haze. Fast forward to this past weekend when I found it on Blu-Ray for $10 and I thought, “Hey, I’d like to see that again!” Oh, man! All I can say is that I laughed a lot, but I think it was equal parts at the movie as with it. Now to be fair, I haven’t really been a fan of any movie with the Predator in it since the original two films. To me, the franchise had already been run into the ground, so I’m probably a lot more forgiving of this movie than most. But was a bad movie going to stop me from buying the NECA figures? Hells no! Let’s check out the Armored Assassin!
And he’s HUGE!!! So much so that I included one of NECA’s Utlimate Predator boxes next to it for scale. Now, I’m a little confused as to where this big guy falls into NECA’s classifications. I don’t think it’s an Ultimate, although I think this Pred is sometimes called Ultimate Predator by the fandom. The box says it’s a Deluxe figure, so I guess we’ll go with that. Either way, it comes in the same type of box as the Ultimate figures. It looks like it’s fully enclosed, but the front panel is actually a flap that conceals a window. It’s also collector friendly so I’ll keep the packaging, but this box is too big to fit on the shelf with my other NECA Pred boxes, so it’ll have to go somewhere else. The box’s deco consists of some solid artwork on the front, and lots of pictures of the figure in action on the rest of the box. The lettering is a little generic and bland, but then so was the movie!
Towering over your average Yautja, this ton of fun was the result of genetic manipulation to create an ultimate assassin to… ah, the hell with it. I’m not going to rehash the weird and nonsensical narrative of the film to justify this big boy’s existence. The fact that he was specially bred by splicing genes of different species together really goes against the grain of what I know about the Yautja culture. And the fact that he was bred to assassinate a fugitive Predator who had come to Earth to help save mankind, well that shit just makes my head spin. So let’s just get on with the figure. One of the most distinctive things about him is the fact that he’s nearly naked, which makes his name, Armored Assassin a little misleading. But apparently, his skin is his armor, which is reflected with a bumpy texture that resembles hardened shell in some places. And I really can’t say enough good things about the detail NECA infused into it. The muddy gray skin features some brown veins webbing throughout and it all has a slightly glossy sheen to him.
The other unique thing about this guy is the dog-like configuration of his lower legs, which gives him a very beast-(almost Werewolf) like profile. Unfortunately, it also makes him very difficult to stand up, so I had to dig out one of those NECA figure stands that I had rattling around in one of my accessory totes. It helps a lot, although he’s still prone to the occasional topple. In the end I will likely utilize one of the MEGO-sized wast-grabbing stands I have to keep this guy from taking a shelf dive when I display him. The legs definitely give him a distinctive look, but they also advertises the oddball narrative behind him. In the end, I think I would have preferred him with just regular Pred feet.
And while much about the Armored Assasin is atypical of your average Predator, the head sculpt is where the design brings it all back home. You get the same deep set beady eyes and the wild looking dreadlocks, each individually sculpted, with some cool copper rings wrapped around each strand. And, of course that creepy mandible-mouth that elevates this face from just plain ugly to goddamn nightmare fuel.
There is no masked portrait, because apparently this guy doesn’t need a Biomask. In one of the true WTF moments of the movie, he was even able to use thermal vision without one. Yeah, I guess it could have been bred into him, or maybe he had some kind of ocular implants. I’m not to worried about it either way. So, no masked noggin, but you do get a second head with the mandibles open in full roar, and man does it look fantastic! Popping off the head is really easy, but getting the other one on was actually a painful experience. It required a lot of pressure, and those spikes on top of his head dished out a world of hurting to my poor hands.
The articulation here is exactly what I’ve come to expect from NECA’s modern Preds, which means plenty of rotating hinges, double-hinged elbows and knees, a ball joint in the torso, and extra hinges down in those beastly ankles. Some of the joints were stuck on my figure when I got him out of the box, but a little heat did wonders to get him nice and limber. A number of the joints are ratcheting, which helps this heavy figure keep its poses. And I’ll point out here that this figure comes with two sets of hands: One pair open, and one pair balled up into fists.
In terms of actual armor, this Pred gets by with a pair of armored undies to protect his modesty. Gone are the ornamental trophies and the netted body suit. One thing he has in common with the regular Predators is a pair of arm bracers, and like his fellow Preds, this guy has a few tricks up his sleeves. Literally. The right bracer has a blade attachment, which is meant to simulate it retracting and deploying from the bracer. It’s only a single blade, where most of the others have twin blades. It does have a nice curve to it and a very sharp taper to its deadly point. Not bad!
On the other arm, his left bracer has an attachable cannon, once again meant to simulate it deploying from inside the gauntlet. I wasn’t a hundred percent certain about the configuration here, so I took a few pictures with it inserted two different ways. They both work, but obviously one is correct and the other is upside down. This tiny cannon is articulated in two places, and I guess it’s meant to replace the iconic shoulder cannon that most Preds wear. Honestly, this cannon looks pretty puny compared to regular Pred tech, but I guess when you’re a giant hulking slab of Yautja beef like this guy, you don’t need to overstate things with your weapons. I mean, I have to imagine that this fella is content with just tearing his prey apart with his bare hands.
Thanks to NECA something good came out of The Predator. The movie may have been a misguided mess, but at least we got some great action figures out of it. And as such, this won’t be the last time I’ll be revisiting it, as I’ve got a few more to look at and a few more to track down as well. Hell, this is probably the most figures I’ve ever purchased from a movie that I just didn’t like all that much.