Red Fang Ninja (2009)

The 2009 GI Joe movie figures fell into two categories: those based directly on the movie, and those who were part of a group of characters who follow the movie aesthetic, but look like they may have been just off-screen. The latter group, of which the Red Fang ninja is part, were made up of re-used parts from movie and 25th anniversary figures. Was it a case of Hasbro trying to make up the numbers and fill slots in the assortments?

The file card simply states that the Red Fang Ninjas work for Storm Shadow and have extraordinary skills and powers. Okay. Like what powers? This is the problem with the recent Joe lines, including the Pursuit of Cobra: very little story and character development within the line. There’s a lot of real estate on the back of the cards, and yet just a bare minimum of information about the figure inside. Giving some exposition was one of the things that made GI Joe stand out from other action figure lines. It made you feel like you were getting into a whole universe of personalities and not just buying a nameless toy soldier.

The overall feeling I get from the look of this guy is that he should be an individual character rather than one member of a group. The combination of parts creates a look that is distinctive, especially the head, which is not fully masked. If it’s meant to be a ninja trooper, is every Red Fang Ninja required to be Caucasian with a brown crew cut? The glossy paint apps are an interesting contrast to the flat finish of most modern Joes. He’s so glossy, I half expected him to be sticky when I took him out of the package.

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