|Code Name: QUICK KICK|
The huge box office success of The Karate Kid in 1984 kicked off a martial arts revival, and Hasbro wanted their share. The 1985 G.I. Joe range included Quick Kick, who was basically Daniel LaRusso grown up, visually. The character was screwed over in both the American comics and cartoons. In the former, writer Larry Hama liked ninjas more, and basically made Quick Kick look rubbish wherever possible, including having the guy cry like a little bitch when - shock, horror - there was a body count in the comic. Even this was probably still better than his representation in the cartoon, where he pre-Joe job as a movie stuntman somehow translated into him constantly speaking in telegraphed film quotes, usually citing the source as well. It was a bit irritating, to say the least.
Thankfully, the British Action Force comics got it right - due to the new Hasbro/Marvel series kicking off with the 1985 toys, he was given a bit more space. Thus I'd always thought the character was one of the big shots (something reinforced by his respectable showing in G.I. Joe The Movie; in actuality, this came out of nowhere as he'd barely been used for the preceding season of the cartoon), but it turns out the 25th Anniversary version is only the second Quick Kick made.
Initially it took me a while to get used to the guy - his tanned, sculpted physique is for some reason one of the more jarring changes compared to the thin, pasty original, but once I got used to it I started really liking the guy. Visually it's largely simple, and it's the right way to do the character. I especially like the slightly unruly hair and the fact his sash is a separate moulded piece rather than raised detail on the chest - it moves more convincingly when posed this way.
However, Quick Kick does have some faults. The short trousers come at the cost of ankle/foot articulation, meaning the martial arts expert is one of the least articulate 25ths (though I'd take this over him having standard boots - I just don't see why an ankle joint wasn't put in). One of his hands is permanently in a karate chop position - great for when he's snapping the neck of an unsuspecting Cobra mook, but a bit weird if he's standing around chatting to Barbecue and Shipwreck. The other problem is his backpack - it's modelled on the original, but has a couple of major faults - 1) it's too tight on the sword, and rubbed some of the silver paint off the blade the one time I tried to use it and 2) the peg is mounted far too high, meaning is rises too high behind him. For both these reasons, I leave the bloody thing off. Despite these quibbles, Quick Kick is competently made and fairly well designed, though he lacks the finesse of most other 25th toys.