Thursday, December 13, 2012

REVIEW: SLUG Zombies Series 3 - Johnny Two-Guns

Produced by JAKKS Pacific | Released November 2012

Survival Skill: Being Himself
Likes: His Hairy Chest, Making Zombies Pay
Dislikes: No-Good Zombie Scum
Favorite Quote: ''I Can Shoot Down Zombies Just By Yelling BANG!''

SLUG Zombies Series 3 - Johnny Two-Guns
Johnny Two-Guns is another addition to the SLUG Zombies Series 3 Zombie Hunter roster, joining such cool characters as Double-Barrel Carol and Riled-Up Riley. How does he stack up against his fellow survivors? Read on and find out!

Sculpt & Design
There's absolutely no denying who Johnny Two-Guns is based upon. From his bio (the ''Being Himself'' Survival Skill and the yelling quote) to his twin-gun pose (an iconic image burned into the mind of any kid who spent any time in a video store) it's clear that Johnny Two-Guns is JAKKS Pacific's homage to 80s bad-ass Chuck Norris.

OK, now I know you're looking at the face sculpt - particularly his lovely permed hair - and thinking ''that's not Chuck Norris!'' And you'd be right. It's not Chuck Norris. It's Johnny Two-Guns. But - head-sculpt aside - this is clearly Chuck Norris, specifically in his Invasion USA persona of Rock Eagle. Or Chest Manly. Or Grits McFreedom. Or whatever his name was.

Exhibit A

The sculptors have nailed the details perfectly. From the twin Uzis (complete with dummy straps) to the freedom-loving belt-buckle and butt-kicking cowboy boots, this is a great little homage not just to Chuck Norris but to bad 80s action heroes in general.

I'm hoping these images will showcase what I've been saying all along about the sculpt work on the SLUG Zombies, as Johnny Two-Guns is a great example of the close-up detail these figures feature. (As an aside, I used my new Target-purchased LED lights in this photo shoot and I'm pretty pleased with the results.) There's an absolute ton of micro-detail here and they really make the figure pop. The jeans feature some really neat creases. His boots incorporate a little Cuban heel. The chest hair looks hairy. The belt buckle - featuring an eagle head - is finely detailed. All of these little touches add up to really engage the eye and there's always a little extra something you don't expect, just waiting to be found.

The pose is neat, a nice combination of the ''ready to grapple'' stance used by the line's most obvious influence (MUSCLE, for those wondering) that also manages to capture the ludicrousness of the Invasion USA poster pose. It's a shame he's not firing the guns though and a little muzzle burst/flash would have really been the icing on the cake in terms of pushing the figure's ridiculous 80s-ness - TO THE MAX!

Extras & Accessories
Johnny Two-Guns is available in both the 12-figure and 3-figure packs (the latter alongside two exclusive figures of Nurse Katie and Trashcan Sam) and in both instances he comes with the SLUG Zombies Series 3 collector checklist/bio sheet.

Final Thoughts
I'm a little ashamed to admit that I didn't initially get the parody here. In my defense though the head sculpt is  hardly what you'd call ''Norris accurate''. Not that it matters, as it's still a cool sculpt, with some great detail work in the curls and beard. It just doesn't look like Chuck Norris. But having seen some of their other parodies it's clear that the JAKKS Pacific designers are skillful enough to pull-off celebrity sculpts so it's my guess is that it's not intended to be accurate and Johnny Two-Guns is an amalgamation of Chuck Norris and somebody the designers know (or indeed, work with) who's a big Norris fan. After all, it wouldn't be the first SLUG Zombie to feature an in-joke, as many of the figures are named after the designers and people in the office!

The body sculpt, however, is clearly their homage to Chunk Merica from Invasion USA. The pose, the clothing and the twin Uzis are an unmistakable parody of the character, all beautifully rendered with some exceptional detail that really bring the figure to life.

However I do think JAKKS Pacific missed out on the opportunity to do a really good parody of Chuck Norris here. Unless of course, the fact that Chuck Norris is such a parody of himself that parodying the parody would cause the world to implode or something...

A great 80s action hero homage and cool Chuck Norris tribute - if only from the neck down.

Overall Score: B+

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