Growing up, there was a distinctly 80s phenomenon of companies spinning-off a lot of awesome toys from entertainment properties that weren't kid-friendly. In fact, there were quite a few R-rated films that had products readily available for purchase at your local Circus World, KB Toys, Child World, or Toys "R" Us. ALIENS, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, ROBOCOP... those all come to mind. And then there was RAMBO, marketed by Coleco for "Ages 5 and Up."
If such tactics were to happen in 2013, a public outcry would take place as media pundits and bloggers would raise their virtual fists and start blaming the toymakers for real-life ills. I'd call B.S. on it, as I grew up on all kinds of "violent" toys (I still have one of the banned "Entertech" Water Hawk's stashed away somewhere - should do a blog about that) and I'm doing just fine. But now we have toys for "The Adult Collector."
Indeed, the tale of JOHN S. RAMBO that begun with the 1982 film FIRST BLOOD was primed for the kiddie market upon the 1985 release of RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. Reworked and tamed for a "family" audience, a cartoon that largely aped G.I. JOE hit the streets as RAMBO: THE FORCE OF FREEDOM, and along with it came the previously-mentioned line of toys (which looked terrible). Even Entertech got in on the action, with re-branded versions of their popular waterguns cashing in on the RAMBO craze.
While it's been awhile since RAMBO has been in the action figure aisle (there was another kid-aimed line in the mid-1990s), the folks at NECA are hitting "The Adult Collector" market with a new series of RAMBO action figures, starting with the May release of JOHN S. RAMBO himself - modeled after Sylvester Stallone in his FIRST BLOOD glory. The packaging for this one is clearly-labeled "AGES 17 & UP." Just like the movie. As noted by NECA on twitter, if this figure does well, the next will hit in Aug/September, with a figure from FIRST BLOOD PART II to follow.
JOHN S. RAMBO is available for pre-order now at Entertainment Earth.
Here's a preview of the packaging:
Will you be snagging RAMBO to play with while the kids are in bed? Can you think of any other "adult" movies or TV shows that spawned toys aimed at kids? Share your thoughts below...
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.