The Toy Box: Tron SDCC 2020 Exclusive in VHS Packaging!!

Easily The Coolest Tron Action Figure Release EVER

by robotGEEK

Your first thought is probably "but we didn't have a Comic Con this year", and you would be correct. Though they still held something of a "virtual" Comic Con, I have no idea how that even worked out in the grande scheme of things, but the initial reports are that it was a mixed bag. But you know, they tried with what they had in a time when things were rapidly changing with the pandemic and they didn't know whether it was going to happen at all or not. But moving on.

A lot of the reveals weren't all that interesting to me personally, but this certainly was. This is a Tron action figure, in his red neon (later changed to blue for the movie) costume based on the promotional poster before the film was released. As we all know, they decided to change it to blue for the movie. This figure comes in a sick and SLICK VHS-style clamshell packaging and maaaaaan, I am all about this! He also comes with 5 different discs and a Tron stand for the figure. This figure is set to release in August of this year (just around the corner!!) and once again comes from the mighty folks at Diamond Select, who did the previous Tron Walgreens Exclusive figures from earlier this year.....which are amazing!

Before you get excited, I have to tell you that from what I could tell, all pre-orders are already generally SOLD OUT on every online marketplace I would normally order these from like Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store. Diamond Select Toys official website looks like they actually have them in stock, but I don't know if their site is currently updated or if that changes once you sign in. You'd have to try ordering and see what happens. You can do that HERE. There is however eBay, which is really a place a lot of us don't like to buy these from because the sellers always ask far more than what you should have to pay for them.

And how are there some already available on eBay? A lot of them are from comic shops or businesses who were set to actually be set up at Comic Con this year, so they were able to get their hands on a certain amount that were allowed to be sold at the event. Since there was no convention, they then go to eBay. And really, this situation is different. Unlike flippers who buy them and resell them for double or triple the price, they're actually close to the original retail cost last I checked. And that's where I purchased mine. Now there are flippers on there, those who got their "pre-orders" in before they sold out everywhere and those are the ones who will be providing their "pre-order" confirmations to prove that they do in fact have one arriving when they are officially released next month. For your information, the regular retail price for these is $40.

If I were you, I'd grab one ASAP as they're already a hot item and hard to get officially. The prices on eBay are not bad at all right now. You can find them ranging anywhere from $40 (retail) to around $55. Some offer FREE Shipping and some don't, but even with shipping, it's not too bad.

It still blows my mind that as big a collector as I am today for these things, I am so out of the loop. I don't know where everyone gets their information on all these upcoming releases, but as far as this figure goes, I only found out about it because I was looking up something else entirely on eBay one night and this strangely showed up in the listings. When I saw "Tron SDCC 2020" in the title, I did a quick search and that's how I discovered this was even in existence. Otherwise I don't think I would have even known. Nobody ever thinks to tell me or keep me in the loop! I discovered this by accident! It just so happened to be on the same weekend it was actually released virtually as part of SDCC's Virtual Con, so I got lucky.


The Cult Corner: Ninja Assassin (2009)

The Best Ninja Film You Haven't Seen (or maybe it's just me?)

by robotGEEK

Why hasn't anyone told me this movie was so badass?! If you had told me when this came out that it would go on to be one of the best ninja movies ever made, I would have told you you were crazy. Given the fact that I actually haven't seen it until now, even though "ninja" films is one of my favorite genre's, it just goes to show you that I had no trust in this. Boy was I wrong.

Doing some research, I found that one of the films biggest criticisms was it's simple story. But I actually found that it works in its favor, allowing the action, choreography and incredible stuntwork to take center stage, because really, that's where Ninja Assassin shines. Yet at the same time I don't agree 100% with the criticism, because unlike a lot of other ninja films, this one really digs deep into the whole mysticism angle of the ninja mythology. There were things done in here that I've never seen in a ninja film before, and combined with it's incredible ninja action, makes this one a standout in the genre.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've always been a fan of ninja films. I'm not going to say I've seen them all, because I haven't. In fact, I still haven't seen some important ones in the genre, or even some of the better known shitty cult classics from Godfrey Ho, but I've always had a love for this genre for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to the early 80's when Sho Kosugi was literally known as the ultimate ninja. So imagine my surprise to discover that not only does he appear in this film, but that he plays such a big integral part in how everything plays out. Not only that, I dare say that this is hands-down his best performance on screen. Listen, I love the guy. I grew up idolizing him, and discovered an all-new appreciation for him all over again well into my 40's, but he was never a good actor. Competent...yes. But he will be the first to tell you (which he's done in countless new interviews), that he doesn't consider himself an actor. He was and is a martial artist first and foremost and does realize his shortcomings when it comes to acting, which he never claimed to be. He'll flat out tell you he's not an actor. But here, he shines in a way I'd never seen before. Not only with his acting ability, but in the way he delivers his lines. Even today, I always find it hard to make out what he says without subtitles because of his thick accent, but that's not even an issue here. And I found his villain role to be far more suited to his special set of skills.

The main star here is an actor by the name of Rain, who is also a world famous South Korean actor, singer, songwriter and producer. I guess in today's era, you'd call him a K-Pop star. He does a good job here as the super fit, super lethal and super mysterious ninja Raizo who doesn't say a whole lot, but can kick a whole lot of ninja ass.

Director James McTeigue, who cut his teeth as an assistant director on films like The Matrix Trilogy and Dark City, and eventually became a director with his first film V for Vendetta, does an outstanding job here. One of the reasons I avoided this for so long was because given the era when it was released, I assumed it would be another shaky-cam/quick-edit choppy mess a la films like Taken. But this was not that. McTeigue does an outstanding job giving the films a slick aesthetic, while also reminding you why you loved ninja films in the first place. While there is some CGI implored here, I'm here to tell you that it's not only flawlessly integrated into the action, but this is one of those rare moments in a modern action film where it actually enhances everything, instead of doing the opposite and actually ruining an action scene like so many films seem to still do today.

Ninja Assassin instantly became one of my Top 3 Ninja films of all time, right along side Pray for Death (1985) and Revenge of the Ninja (1983), all which coincidentally star Sho Kosugi. Yes, do it's that good, and if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto.

Ninja Assassin is currently streaming on Netflix in the United States


Documentary Roundup: Batman, Apes and Roller Skates

Starring Adam West (2013)

While Adam West isn't really "my" Batman (I grew up obsessed with Michael Keaton's Batman, being 13 when Tim Burton's landmark superhero film was released), I've always enjoyed his ability to poke fun at himself. I mean, his stint on Family Guy is fucking legendary now. But I guess I never really knew just how weird he really was, because this delightful documentary showcases his odd sense of humor front and center as he details his life growing up on a farm, moving his way up the Hollywood chain until becoming the character that would ultimately define his entire life and career.

You also get to hear a lot about his personal life firsthand, including many rough patches both professionally and personally from the man himself, which just goes to show you that no matter how much you're loved and no matter how successful you are, none of us are perfect.

Browsing Amazon one day this popped up on my radar, and I intended to throw it on as background noise while I did some other things, but lo and behold, it sucks you in from the beginning and ultimately we sat there and watched the entire thing and it was entertaining as hell.

"Starring Adam West" is currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Making Apes (2019)

Here's another documentary I was completely unaware of until it just randomly showed up on Amazon while browsing. Though I will admit I had this one sitting in my Watchlist for a little while before I finally decided to give it a go, once I threw it on I was instantly captivated by it's impeccable storytelling, a lot of which centers around the personal (and ultimately tumultuous) relationship between a master effects artist and his protege, and plethora of behind the scenes information revolving around this significant series of films.

The thing is, personally speaking, I had no idea just how important or significant the original Planet of the Apes film was in the world of makeup effects. Sure we can look back on them now and kind of smirk at how limited the makeup and effects are, but at the time, it was a huge deal and major milestone in practical makeup effects, a term that wasn't even a thing for many more years to come as you'll soon discover in the documentary.

Even if you're just a casual fan of the franchise, this is an excellent documentary that showcases how the first film came about, it's legendary status in the world of science fiction, and the people who brought them to life, forever changing the world of makeup effects.

"Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film" is now streaming on Amazon Prime

Roller Dreams (2017)

Having grown up in the 80's, I'm always down for any type of nostalgic trip, and this one offers that in spades. Documenting the rise and fall of the rollerskating scene in Venice Beach, CA circa 1984, Roller Dreams takes a look at the lives (then and now) of a handful of local celebrities that turned what was virtually unheard of into something of an Olympic sport, dedicating every aspect of their lives into becoming the best, most original skaters anywhere.

And I'm not just talking about skating. These people were dancing and doing moves that you never knew were possible wearing skates, churning out choreographed numbers to radio hits. They became something of a celebrity, spending countless hours in the blazing sun entertaining massive crowds until the local police and the city decided that they just didn't want them to anymore. Here you get to here from those who lived that dream firsthand and how it all unfolded, changing their lives in many different ways.

While the personal stories are touching, and the way it's all put together is done really well by the filmmakers, the real star of this immersive documentary is the vintage footage of Venice Beach in 1984, of which there is plenty. You're thrown in a time capsule to a time when short shorts, roller skates and headbands ruled and it's such a fun nostalgic trip.

"Roller Dreams is currently streaming on Hulu


90's Thriller Throwback: Run (1991)

A Superb Action Thriller That Showcases Patrick Dempsey's Ability to Run, Quite Literally, For His Life

by robotGEEK

I have a very distinct memory of the marketing of this film. I remember the trailers showing a young and skinny Patrick Dempsey (after a series of popular 80's chick flicks) running for his life, car crashes, gun shots and a cool looking font for the simple title. I also remember it just sort of coming and going with little to no attention, which surprises me because as I finally sit down to watch it for the first time, it's quite an excellent little thriller.

A cocky young law student is transporting a Porsche to a client long distance when it breaks down in a city he's not familiar with. Through a series of events, he gets into a fight with a local mob boss's son, accidentally killing him. Now he's running for his life with a bounty on his head as both the mob and a corrupt police force are after him. 

Run is pretty much exactly what I want when I sit down for a thriller, and literally represents the best of what this genre has to offer. It hits the ground running, literally wasting no time in throwing you into the crazy ride that you're about to take. Written by veteran screenwriter Dennis Shryack (The Gauntlet, Pale Rider, Code of Silence, Turner & Hooch and a personal favorite of mine Fifty/Fifty), Run is a nonstop series of death-defying sequences full of car chases, shootouts, and so many near-death close calls that you start to chuckle a little bit because Patrick Dempsey's Charlie Farrow would have died in any one of those sequences. But that lack of realism doesn't make a damn bit of difference because it's an exceptionally fun ride from start to finish.

Dempsey's characters is so overly arrogant right off the bat that you just know some bad shit is going to put him in his place rather quickly, and boy does he get run through the paces. When he's not being shot at or chased by cars, he gets the shit physically beat out of him pretty regularly throughout the film and somehow manages to remain upbeat, snarky and rarely ever gets a scratch on him. And I have to give it to Dempsey, this is a physically demanding role and its shocking apparent he did a lot of the stunts himself, which honestly makes it more badass. This one sequence involving a police car in a 5 story parking garage in particular sticks out. But even with the little stuff, like being thrown against a wall clear across a room, stack of tables, chairs or on the hood of a car by men twice his size, and clearly seeing it's him and not a double, is impressive.

Despite it's clever and fast-paced script, a lot of what makes Run so good is director Geoff Burrow's impeccable direction and cinematographer Bruce Surtees' camerawork. For a guy who'd only directed a single film before this, 1988's Return to Snowy River, Burrowes displays a natural talent behind the camera. Seriously, after watching this you'd just assume he'd done this many, many times before because he's so goddamn good at it, but nope. Run carries a slick, straightforward approach that lets the stunts and action take center stage. But even then, you sense an aesthetic sheen that makes it all look so good. I mean, we're not talking Black Rain level of visuals, but for something that easily could have looked like a Made-for-TV movie, Run is brilliantly visual and looks and feels much larger than it actually is. And that's all thanks to director Geoff Burrowes and Cinematographer Bruce Surtees (Sudden Impact, Pale Rider, License to Drive, Beverly Hills Cop). Now that I think about it, I'm sure it's more Surtees who deserves the accolades here.

Run is a quick, exhilarating and fun hour and a half that will surprise you with how much they can squeeze out of a decent little budget. Run is currently streaming on Amazon Prime right now, but be warned, there are a handful of other films with the same title. Be sure to pick the one with that poster art, or the 1991 date attached to it.

The Toy Corner: Transformers Blaster Walmart G1 Re-Issue Coming in August

by robotGEEK

I feel bad because I always forget to give you all a heads up with some of these releases. The truth is, I get so caught up in trying to personally snag any one particular limited edition release for myself that I often forget to let others know any potential awesome news. I'll try to be better about that. For someone who continues to collect vintage and commemorative releases of vintage toys to this day, I'm almost always out of the loop. I don't know how some of y'all keep tabs on these things. I'm usually either told by a friend, or just happen to randomly come across them by accident, like with the Black Hole Walgreens Exclusives

Walmart's successful line of Generation 1 Transformers continues with this new entry, the retro cool Blaster. He wasn't a Transformer I had as a kid, but I always wanted one. I do remember having Soundwave, but even as an adult, I'll randomly look for a used vintage Blaster and either he's just too expensive, or he's missing his original gun, or his tape deck button and door are broken. But good news! This re-issue is an exact replica of the original, right down to the box art we all love so much and is currently available for pre-order on Walmart's website for $29.99. It is set to arrive August 6th.

Here are the details via Walmart's website:

Transformers Toys Vintage G1 Autobot Blaster Collectible Action Figure - Adults and Kids Ages 8 and Up, 4.5-inch
  • RE-CREATION OF THE ORIGINAL G1 DESIGN: This vintage G1 Autobot Blaster figure is inspired by the original 1985 G1 release
  • CLASSIC CONVERSION: Autobot Blaster features classic conversion from boombox (non-working) to robot modes in 4 steps
  • VINTAGE DECORATION AND STICKER DECALS: Autobot Blaster figure comes with a sheet of foil decals so fans can detail the toy.
  • RETRO PACKAGING: Inspired by the original G1 packaging, this pack features the original G1 Transformers logo, character art, and classic Autobots versus Decepticon battle scene
  • TECH SPECS: Complete tech specs for Autobot Blaster are included on the pack in the classic G1 style fans know and love. Compare figures’ strength, speed, firepower, and more
Experience the figures that started it all. This Transformers: Vintage G1 Autobot Blaster figure is designed like the original G1 version -- including figure styling, packaging, and art inspired by the 1985 G1 releases, plus classic tech specs and accessories. (Re)start a vintage Transformers collection with this Autobot Blaster figure.
Autobot Blaster loves to crank the volume on good, hard rock ‘n roll music. Can switch from robot to radio to receive and transmit radio frequencies. At the forefront of any situation. Carries electro-scrambler gun.
Autobot Blaster figure comes with Electro-Scrambler Gun accessory and converts from boombox (non-working) to robot mode in 4 steps.
Clip out and save the on-box tech specs to share, then see how this figure stacks up against other heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons (each sold separately).
Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
  • Includes: figure, weapon accessory, label sheet, and instructions.
  • Figure scale: 4.5-inch
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
© 2019 Hasbro. All rights reserved.

Pre-Order yours today directly from Walmart's website, or follow the link HERE.