Blind Master (2013)

The Blind Master scene in GI Joe: Retaliation made for some great unintentional hilarity. I know that a GI Joe film doesn’t mean you should expect high level acting, but holy cow. I don’t think I’ve seen line reads that bad this side of Birdemic: Shock and Terror. As goofy a scene as it was, there was a lot to like about the action, and about the mere inclusion of some of the minutiae of the Marvel comic. Thankfully, there’s a lot to like about the toy also, although I can’t help but try a Blind Master impression whenever I move the figure around. It’s easy to do, by the way. Just act disinterested, and randomly repeat the words Snake Eyes, Jinx, Storm Shadow, Arashikage and carbon fiber.

Most of the figure is the now familiar Renegades Storm Shadow mold. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, as the figure is still impressive. The skirt piece of course hinders movement, but what can you do with these things? GI Joe doesn’t really seem to incorporate soft goods skirts as freely as the Star Wars line, so we’re left with another super poseable ninja who isn’t all that poseable. Most of us are just going to pose this guy standing on a shelf anyway, so it’s not a huge loss.

Of the plethora of ninja accoutrements included in the Retaliation line, I think the Blind Master has them all beat in terms of variety and uniqueness. There’s a well detailed mask that fits over the figure’s head, giving him a more battle ready look. He also has to be the first GI Joe figure to come equipped with a flute. The cane staff is pretty great, with its hidden blade. He’s also equipped with what looks like a training sword, though I could be wrong. My knowledge of ninja weaponry is based mainly on memories of what was available via mail order in the back of cheesy martial arts mags back in the 80s. I should really do a little research every now and then, but I figure that one of the commenters will take care of it for me.

The real interesting pieces to me are the hat and circular blade. Actually, both of these items remind me of the titular weapon from the 70s kung fu flick Master of the Flying Guillotine. In that film, a blind kung fu master wreaks havoc wielding a device that can cut the heads off his enemies. It resembles a cross between a collapsible lamp shade and a red beanie hat. It may sound goofy, but it’s also deadly. The flying guillotine is attached to a chain, so the master can attack from a distance, and fling off his enemy’s head in dramatic fashion. It’s quite impressive. The blades on the Blind Master’s figure’s hat (though the package shows it as a shield with blades pointing out) can also point inward, making for a effective offensive weapon should it be thrown onto an unsuspecting figure’s noggin. The other piece, a circular bladed weapon, looks like it can also perform this function. I don’t know if this is intentional, but the small loop on the end of the string can also fit over the spike on the top of the hat, creating a double-bladed head removal weapon delivery system. Someone on the design team must have been influenced by the film. Don’t take my word for it; check out the freaky trailer:


  • They really should’ve given RZA some acting lessons before the film. As Jay Sherman would no doubt say: “This film is so bad, it doesn’t deserve to just flop at the box office–it deserves a COURT-MARTIAL. That’s not a snide comment, that’s an ORDER.”

  • I really really really want this figure. Guess I’ll have to buy it on-line because I don’t see much past wave 1 of Retaliation figures out. I loved the bad acting. Brought it right back to a 70’s Kung-Fu style movie.

  • The entire film wasn’t all that bad, but I still can’t get over his narration when I hear it. Maybe the guy could act in some circumstances, but having having scenes basically narrated by a terrible public speaker? Ugh.

  • If i didnt know any better, i’d say that the “ground breaking special effects” were repurposed power rangers footage.
    BTW. Anyone else get the impression that the guy with long arms would inspire Dhalsim from street fighter?

    As for the character. He seems like an odd choice for a figure. He didnt particually do anything in the film apart from provide the audiance with some exposition, most of them already knew. Before long the brand will step into star wars territory and we’ll be getting the mountain top healer and Stoop figures.

  • Have you seen the extended action cut? I think the bad acting was largely due to the editing. Not that RZA is a great actor, but he was better in the extended cut.

  • The flying guillotine was *supposedly* used as an actual weapon during the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912) which succeeded the better known Ming Dynasty before China became a republic. The guillotine is said to have been dipped in poison to dispatch its victims more rapidly. (I suppose that would be considered a mercy killing of sorts since you can’t get much deader than getting your head chopped off.)

    I liked the portly Blind Master from the comic. I think Larry Hama made a mistake in killing him off in an attempt to redeem Zartan (who had just murdered the dude) at a point in the toy line when there weren’t any Zartan figures around so Hasbro likely considered him redundant. Too bad, because Larry had given the Blind Master a great send-off along with the reformed punk Tyrone, who became his pupil. It seems that every Ninja mentor in the Joe comic has to die at some point since the trend continued into Larry’s IDW continuation of the Marvel series.

    As for the figure itself, it just went from “didn’t know it was out there” to “must have” status! I think the accessories alone make this the deadliest character Hasbro has released in plastic form. Parents everywhere would have called for a boycott back in the 80’s like they did with the line itself at one point. That alone, makes him awesome.

  • @Clutch
    Thanks for sharing the chinese intel [ha], most of my knowledge of chinese history comes from the twins of destiny so i’m not sure how reliable that is.

  • @ Clutch. Ahhh, another unresolved Larry Hama plotline. What ever happened to Tyrone? Did Storm Shadow ever get revenge on who killed his uncle?

  • @troublemagnet – didn’t Tyrone die on the buried freighter with Fred VII, Raptor and the first Dr Mindbender…

  • In interviews prior to the film’s release RZA said he based his performance on that Master of the Flying Guillitine and other old karate movies. When Hasbro was developing the Blind Master toy RZA then specifically asked them to include the extra accessories from that old film and they did.

  • @troublemagnet & Dekkard: Yeah, Tyrone was brought back with Billy’s group which ended up in the landlocked freighter. What’s worse, he found out that the Blind Master who had been by his side until then was really Zartan in disguise. Yet, when Zartan escaped the freighter, he took Billy with him since Tyrone had already died of food poisoning along with the other Cobras. So Tyrone was supposedly Zartan’s ticket towards redemption but he couldn’t keep the kid from dying. What a guy! That’s part of the reason why I never bought Zartan as a good guy.

    In the end, the only other Cobras to escape from the freighter were Firefly (who faked his death) and Mindbender (who was actually dead but later resurrected as a cyborg.)

    Storm Shadow had a final battle with Zartan which both survived. Then Larry retconned Firefly as a ninja and revealed him to be the true culprit behind the Hard Master’s death. Nothing much came out of that and Stormy has pretty much laid the matter to rest by now.

  • One of my local comic shops sells Joes. They have a Blind Master there for $30.

    I can’t, I just can’t.

    Is he really worth that much already?!

  • @Carson @ 3Djoes

    The comic shop i went Joe hunting in the other day had R.O.C figures for $22.00 Au and if you think thats too much, he also had horribly dinged up star wars figures for twice that amount. Honestly, I’d never seen anyone ask so much for f***ing Jarjar

  • Ugh, Jarjar. The weirdest part about it was he had Joe Colton for $12, Lady Jaye for $16, and Hard master for $30. What the heck is he basing that on.

    I looked at recent completed auctions on ebay and he’s been selling for $16. I might go in there, show him those and ask for it for $16.

  • The best Retaliation character/figure for me!
    I just bought the Blind Master.

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