It was Fall 1985, exactly 30 years ago and like every weekend, my dad laid out the newspaper movie section for me and my brother. We had two choices this weekend in early October, Chuck Norris in INVASION U.S.A or Arnold Schwarzenegger in COMMANDO. Arnold won in a landslide vote and COMMANDO became one of my favorite all-time action movies. The body count? Very high. The action? Non-stop. The one-liners? All classic Arnie. Bonus points? My TV crush Alyssa Milano in a co-starring role as the kidnapped daughter Jenny. There was a figure made at some point of retired Black Ops soldier John Matrix but I did not have the money or the resources to get ahold of it. By the time I did and it was on eBay, I realized it wasn't such a terrific figure and was nice for nostalgia sake but I knew that someone, maybe an amazing company like my fellow NJ residents NECA would get the license. Just in time for the 30th Anniversary almost to the day, I saw the movie, my NECA COMMANDO ULTIMATE JOHN MATRIX arrived at my door. Apparently, NECA balked at making a Chuck Norris INVASION U.S.A figure.
Before I start gushing over NECA and how their "REEL TOYS" go the extra mile, lets dive right into the packaging. This trend has been going on for a while now but I really think that NECA has it perfected. It is the window box but the trick is that at first glance in the toy store, you would think it is the new Stephen King novel. It is that thick. But the surprise is that when you open the front cover, the brilliant windowbox treatment really POPS! Especially with John Matrix, lovers of the film will recall that he and flight attendant Rae Dawn Chong hit that surplus store pretty hard, so Matrix comes with a veritable shopping spree of weapons and accouterments.
As far as the likeness of Arnold as Matrix goes, it looks like Rick Moranis got a hold of his shrink ray because it is quite obvious that this is Arnie. Even from a distance, it is clear that it is the international superstar that let us know the future is very Austrian. The figure stands at a towering 7-inches tall so he is ready to do battle with your collection of figures that stand at just 6-inches. I like that NECA adds that extra inch because it separates them from the pack and does not hit you hard in the wallet. Right down to the camouflage grease paint on his face and arms, this is classic 80's Arnold at his best in what I consider to be his most underrated action movie.
The vest is the central piece of equipment that Matrix uses to carry a good deal of his gear and it looks terrific; very screen accurate. I do wish that there was a little wiggle room but it is on there pretty tight. No final knife battles with baddie Bennett unfortunately. Still, the vest is ridiculously dope and it simply looks cooler on than it would off so its a tiny infraction for those ridiculous authenticity diehards. This is a crazy great figure to start your action figure photography career on because there are so many great aspects to it. The size of it and the weapons are great for outdoor photography or even Matrix' beachfront landing from the film. As far as what comes in the box, prepare yourself for a bounty of gear to play with and reenact.
Obviously, we have the amazing authorized likeness of the greatest action hero of our time on the figure. Probably one of the best likenesses I have seen outside of the $300 HOT TOYS COMMADO piece. This ULTIMATE MATRIX boasts over 25 points of articulation and as most former Black Ops operatives wanted by every government known to man, he comes with a knife that actually fits into a sheath (nice touch), a Desert Eagle pistol that actually fits into his side holster (double nice touch), an M60E2 machine gun, a Valmet M76/83 machine gun and the coups de grace, the enormous M202A1 FLASH rocket launcher. And prepare yourselves; for good measure, the rocket launcher comes with a removable launching rocket attachment! The figure seriously comes with everything but Maria Shriver.
I am insanely impressed with this ULTIMATE COMMANDO piece that is an absolute steal at just $18.99 if you just CLICK HERE: http://bit.ly/1HVGrys. More figure companies should be paying attention to how NECA is doing things. Bit by bit, they have established themselves as a major player with some killer licenses. And they have the talented artists, sculptors, and painters to back it all up. And they are right here in Jersey so anytime you guys want to grab lunch, it's on you. The Junkie gets a tremendous amount for an amazing price making this figure one of my tops for 2015. It is already fetching up to $40 on the secondary market so this is a must have for any Arnold fan or 80's enthusiast. As far as Arnold goes, he'll be back (had to write it)....in AFJ's next review of the ULTIMATE T2 JUDGMENT DAY T-800! Can't wait!