Retaliation Ultimate Flint
Ultimate Flint is definitely a bit of a tough nut to crack. While I was okay with Roadblock’s ultimate incarnation being a Retaliation figure, I’m still not sure what I think about Ultimate Flint being based on the movie just because his portrayal wasn’t that great. There were definitely Flint-y moments of cockiness and brashness, but at the same time, I just didn’t get much of a Flint vibe from. Issues with portrayal aside, however, Ultimate Flint does do an excellent job of replicating his movie attire. It’s well-executed, and as the most faithful recreation of his movie look, it’s great, though I can understand many out there (myself included) not thinking this is the “ultimate” version of everyone’s favorite cocky Rhodes Scholar from Wichita, Kansas.
The movie-based ultimates thrived on clever parts reuse and Flint is no exception. I wasn’t sure how well this look would work, but it really proved my initial doubts wrong. This is a great representation of Retaliation Flint. Flint’s parts are completely reused (with a little retooling for the upper left arm) but what they used fits well with the aesthetic they set for the Joe team with the G.I. Joe Trooper from wave one. His legs come from the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper while his torso comes from the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper and the arms come from 30th Anniversary Law. These parts work well together to create a generic soldier. While I would like my movie Joes to look a little more like their classic counterparts, I understand the need to make them look like an actual military unit instead of a hodgepodge of military specialists, all with their unique fashion sense. The Joes really do look good and while I do kind of miss the reactive armor from Rise of Cobra, I really do prefer the slightly more real-world look to the Joe team. Over top of the more basic soldier look, Flint is also wearing the same vest Agent Mouse and Ultimate Duke wore. I really like the vest since it does a good job of tying the Retaliation look back to the reactive armor of the first movie while still being grounded a bit more in reality. Surprisingly, his head is also shared with the first Retaliation Flint. I would not have expected that. I thought that head looked terrible, but when I saw the first images of Ultimate Flint I thought it looks pretty good. I don’t know why I think it looks better here than in its other uses. The likeness for DJ Cotrona is decent. It’s not as solid as it is for Bruce Willis or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but it’s definitely leaps and bounds past what we got in terms of actor likenesses during Rise of Cobra. The nice thing about the “not-quite-perfect” likeness, though, is that I can see him as Flint first and DJ Cotrona second. The Roadblocks and Joe Colton on my shelf are figures I look at and go “There’s mini-Bruce Willis” and then remember which Joe he was playing. Flint doesn’t immediately make me think of the actor playing him at first glance and I like that. As much as I like movie-licensed figures to look like the person they’re supposed to be, at times, they’re a little harder to integrate the figure into the collection when the likeness is so spot on.
What hides the figure’s part reuse so well is the paint job. Starting off with his pants, Ultimate Flint has a very detailed camouflage pattern tampoed on it. The work is crisp and really does an amazing job of disguising the generic G.I. Joe Trooper legs. They also do a great job of looking like the pants he wore during the movie’s final battle at Fort Sumter. The basic black t-shirt is a faithful to the movie and let’s not forget, back in the day Flint wore a simple black t-shirt with a pair of shotgun shell bandoliers on it. It’s a great look and it fits Flint perfectly. To help break up all the black on his torso, Flint’s vest gets gray panels with some weathering and scarring painted on. I like the slightly more roughed up look for the vest as opposed to the fresh-from-the-factory look of the paint on Agent Mouse’s vest. The paint job for Flint’s face is also very good and might be what helps him out a little bit. The Wave 2 Flints I remember seeing on the shelves had a rather bland expression. Ultimate Flint has a bit more of a steely, determined gaze. Maybe I’m just making stuff up to justify why I was so impressed with the head when they showed it on Ultimate Flint before I knew it was the same one as the other movie Flints have had, but I think they did something different with the paint job and it helped.
Finally, we come to the gear. Like the other movie-based ultimate Joe characters, Flint has a full footlocker of weapons and a great larger piece that really adds a lot of fun to the figure. Starting off with the weapons, Flint carries a shotgun, two different Uzis, a rifle, a pulse rifle and a grenade launcher. They’re all great pieces and what’s even cooler to me is that pretty much all of those weapons make an appearance in Joe Colton’s weapon cache when the Joes are gearing up for the final fight. That’s some great attention to details from the movie. Of course, Flint always needs a shotgun so I’m glad to see he’s got the nice new tactical model they introduced with 30th Anniversary Law. He’s got a knife to fill the sheath on the small of his back, but like every other time we’ve seen it, the knife doesn’t really fit that well in his hands and it’s a pain to get in and out of the sheath so it’s really not that great of a piece. I’m glad they have it to fill the sheath, but I wish it would have been thought out a little better. For headgear, Flint has the futuristic helmet that the other Joes have been coming with. I realize a lot of people were upset that the terrible first Flint had a removable beret but this one doesn’t but I’m going to give it a pass because Flint almost never wore the beret in the movie. I think he had it on during the medal ceremony at the end, but in combat, I don’t recall Flint wearing it at all. Yes, he didn’t wear the helmet either, but the helmet makes a bit more sense in the field than the beret does. Finally, we come to the coolest piece, Ultimate Flint’s working parachute. We’ve already seen this with the Retaliation Cobra Trooper, but since I passed on that one, this is my first time having it in hand and I love it. I loved Sky Patrol as a kid because the working parachute was so cool but it was such a pain to work with because the Mylar didn’t really fold that well. However, the cloth parachute not only works well as a parachute, but it’s relatively easy to fold up for storage purpose. The harness it’s attached to is equally impressive. Gone are the days of just slapping a backpack in someone’s back hole and calling it a day. Instead, we get a parachute rig complete with properly placed straps, not just for the parachute but that also hold the figure in place in the full parachute rig in a very realistic fashion. Hasbro had done a lot of great things with the removable webgear during the modern line, but hands down, this working parachute rig is the best use they’ve come up for it. All the paratroopers have really benefitted from making their parachute rigs removable harnesses. Parts of me actually want to dust off my Assault on Cobra Island Ripcord to see how he looks with a functional black parachute rig on, but as I recall that rig doesn’t really come off all that easily, so I may not. Regardless, this is a great piece and with as much fun as I had testing out the parachute, I’m sure younger Joe fans would love it.
I can understand the gripes about making a movie-based Flint the ultimate version of the character. I would have loved to have seen that concept case Flint come out under the name “Ultimate Flint.” However, I am very happy that they gave us a movie Flint better than the first one they gave us. Characters like Lady Jaye and Joe Colton were done well enough the first time that they didn’t really need another pass. However, when a figure is as bad as the first Retaliation Duke or Flint, I’m glad they decided to give that version another go just so we could get a good version of the movie design. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t need to make any more Retaliation versions of Flint. They’ve made an Ultimate Retaliation Flint. We don’t need a “North Korea Raid” Flint or a “Nuclear Raid” Flint, but I’m glad they did it. It’s a good look for Flint and now that it appears the concept case Flint is coming in the 50th Anniversary line, I can have ultimate versions of both Flint designs we’ve had in recent years on my shelf.