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Pulp Fiction Goes Retro

pulp-fiction-reaction-featFunko and Super7 release the first ReAction figures based on Quentin Tarantino’s modern classic.

The properties tackled in the debut year of Funko and Super7’s ReAction collection have been impressive, ranging from legit 80s franchises who never got the toy treatment, to newer and older properties done in the same retro aesthetic of Kenner’s vintage action figures.  One license that stood out to me was Pulp Fiction, a movie that seems like simultaneously the best and worst fit possible for toy treatment.

On the one hand, Quentin Tarantino’s early masterpiece was so raw in terms of violence and bad language, no toy company would ever dream of going near it during its original release in 1994.  Back then, the “collector as a sales demographic” was in its earliest stages, and the rawness of Pulp Fiction would have been too much, too soon to sustain a toy line.  Things have changed since, and clearly now there’s a strong a viable market for something like Pulp Fiction collectibles, but presenting them in this retro style brings up the fact that these guys– unlike the Terminator or Predator or Freddy– would never have had the chance to be toys in their contemporary day and age.  On the other hand, the movie is bathed in the hip, retro charm that would be one of Tarantino’s most memorable calling cards, and this hip 70s chic lends itself perfectly to the old school ReAction design sensibility.

Now, strange as it may feel that these guys are a real thing… here they are– the first assortment of Pulp Fiction ReAction figures, finally realized in plastic.  In this wave, we see Vincent and Jules, our pair of beleaguered hitmen, Mia Wallace, the wife of their boss Marsellus, and Jimmie Dimmick, who helps our “heroes” out of a bind.

While the quality of sculpts has been sort of all over the place with the ReAction figures, I think all four of these guys are solid.  They share a good sense of scale, and none of the pitfalls that ruined other ReAction sculpts are present here– there are no oversized heads, overly flat torsos or disproportionate limbs to be seen.  What we do get are some very good portraits, each of which reads through as the respective actor with just the right amount of detail, while maintaining the simplicity of the 80s inspired sculpting.

Pulp Fiction ReAction 012I think the Samuel L Jackson/ Jules likeness is strongest, with Tarantino’s own portrait as Jimmie also ringing true.  I certainly see John Travolta in the Vincent head, and while Uma Thurman isn’t quite as noticeable in the Mia face, she’s easy to recognize based on the character, and Mia manages to be one of the best looking female ReAction figures we’ve seen since Ripley from Alien, not suffering the weird pinching which ruined some other ReAction ladies.

Each figure features five basic point of articulation, and most sport accessories– Jules and Vincent come packing their guns, while Jimmie gets a mug of coffee, whose gourmet status he is very aware of.  Mia is the only one without any gear, which is fine– it might have been a little much to pack a thing of coke or a giant syringe of adrenaline with her, and I can’t really think of anything else that would make sense here.

In keeping with the hip retro style of the toys, the Pulp Fiction packaging looks great as well.  Like all ReAction figures, these guys are packed on coffin style blister cards, featuring the movie’s poster on the front, complete with faux weathering.  The back of the package sports a nice design that fits with Pulp Fiction’s retro aesthetic, spotlighting these four figures as well as the upcoming Wave Two, which will include Butch, Marsellus Wallace, The Wolf and The Gimp.  That actually covers a healthy chunk of the movie’s large and eclectic cast, and it’s certainly tempting me to be a completist with this sub-series.

I’m totally happy with the ReAction Pulp Fiction figures.  Mia and out hitmen are must-buys for sure, but I have to say I find the Jimmie figure lots of fun, as well.  I’ve fallen into the trap of buying QT action figures in the past, only to be let down (why hello, Rapist #2 figure from Planet Terror)… but Jimmie is really cool.  At ten bucks a pop, these guys are a fair value, and like all ReAction figures their very existence makes a pretty convincing argument for impulse buying.  If you’re into Tarantino’s movies, I’d definitely recommend these figures– they’re cool looking, with a style that perfectly blends screen accuracy with a legitimately retro look and feel– and I hope we see more team ups between Tarantino, Funko and Super7 in the future.  I’d love to collect QT’s entire cinematic universe in this thematically appropriate vintage aesthetic!

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