Blackjack's review: Barricade
Interrogator, Spy, Warrior
Ford Saleen Mustang S281 Police Car
Most of the Transformers featured in the Movie are very popular and had appeared in many G1 fiction. Optimus Prime. Megatron. Starscream. Ironhide. Jazz. Bumblebee. Ratchet. Frenzy. Scorponok. Bonecrusher. Brawl. All of them have appeared in the original comics and the TV show, and are all characters from the first three years of Transformers. (well, Scorpy came somewhere in the fourth year, but still...)
Two of the cast, however, are based on Micromasters that came at the very end of G1. As such, their G1 incarnations have very little and almost no characterization at all. G1 Blackout, a Micromaster combiner, is a non-entity. Even after 25 years the only fiction he's ever appeared in is the MTMTE profile books. G1 Barricade fares better. The leader of the Race Track Patrol, he transforms into a Formula One. Barricade has appeared in many different comics. Nothing major, but at least he's there. His most major role is perhaps in Dreamwave's Micromasters mini-series.
So now, the name Barricade had been used for the movie. It's cool name, and frankly, I don't mind some characters being reinvented radically from G1. I don't care.
This new Barricade transforms into a Saleen Mustang Police Car. He's the third Decepticon to appear in the movie, and is the first Decepticon to engage in a fight against an Autobot (i.e. Bumblebee).
He first appeared in the movie, acting as Frenzy's getaway vehicle as the latter returns from Air Force One. He features a holographic mustache man driver. Barricade appears again later to 'interrogate'
Sam Witwicky/ladiesman217. He's playing the Bad Cop, obviously. Sam and Mikaela are rescued by Bumblebee. After a stunt-filled road chase, the two transformers engage in a 'super-alien robot deathmatch', while Frenzy rips off Sam's pants. Barricade is defeated by Bumblebee. However, he appears again much later, fully repaired, driving in response to Starscream's mobilizing call. He's seen again alongside Bonecrusher in the highway pursuit scene.
Then? Nothing. No death scene, no escape scene, nothing. It's evident from leaked scripts, the novel and comic adaptation that Barricade is supposed to be killed by Optimus Prime after the latter kills Bonecrusher. This also explains why Prime was late in arriving in the final battle. However, Michael Bay somehow likes Barricade so much that the scene was removed, enabling Barricade to appear in future sequels. Yay. The Reign of Starscream sequel comics retcons Barricade being slammed by Ironhide onto a highway pillar during the chase, and thus is injured enough to miss the final battle. Starscream, the lone Decepticon survivor, later meets him and orders him to remain on earth. His current fate is unknown, but he's last seen spying on Sector 7.
The name Barricade had been used for three separate characters. The first is for the original G1 character. The second is for the Energon Destruction Team leader, who transforms into a missile rack tank. The third one is this one.
Barricade's alternate mode is a Ford Saleen Mustang S281 Police Car. Amazingly, Barricade is the first Decepticon in 23 years to use a police car as an alternate mode. Cool.
Originally the police car role is supposed to be given to the iconic Autobot Prowl. But Michael Bay wants an evil police car in, and thus, Barricade was born. Sorry, Prowl.
Ford Mustangs (which, coincidentally, is the original alternate mode for G1 Blackjack) are my favourite cars. Big, badass, strong-looking and sleek at the same time, it's no wonder that Barricade picks a variation of the Ford Mustang--the Saleen S281. While Prowl is predominantly white with black detailings (or blue in the comics), Barricade's main colour is a rich jet-black. Even my mother is impressed with the toy.
Vehicle mode Barricade is simply excellent. In fact, it should be displayed in vehicle mode and never be transformed. From the custom Decepticon police insignia near the doors, to the tampographed 643 and police decals, to the 'to Punish and Enslave...' injoke, Barricade is brimming with details. Air grilles, headlights, police lights, and the excellent ramming bars are molded in. These details give Barricade an almost Alternators-level feel.
Kibbles are almost nonexistent. Well, you could see the back of his chest from the translucent windshield, but hey. Turning the car around... well, there. The crotch, and legs, but the latter blends in with the bottom of the car rather nicely.
Rolls quite well on the floor, too. Barricade is very fun in car mode. There. Perfect mark for the car mode.
Well, that's because his robot mode is a very big letdown...
Barricade's transformation is rather ingenuous, but the instructions lack to mention some additional transformations. The 'toe' can be flicked up from the feet to assume a more show-accurate Barricade, and the shoulder blades (yes, I do mean the BLADES) can be rotated at angles that look more threatening.
The first thing you notice when you see Barricade's robot mode is the hands. The stupid, big, clunky, ugly hands. I mean, with the higher expectations for the Movie, you'd at least expect proper hands. No. You get pieces of side-back car kibble, with barely visible molded claws and two ugly movable fingers.
Not very imaginative, especially considering the legends class toy actually gets the hand correct. At least have the consideration to paint the fingers silver, Hasbro!
And do we get Barricade's spinning flail/spiked wheel weapon so prominently featured in the movie, games, comics and stock photography? No. What do we get? A 'Spring-loaded punch'. Press the catch and Barricade's horrendous arm extends. It's lame, and more looks like a thumbs-up than anything.
Still, for the most part he's show accurate (though the chest is too wide, and the hands are totally wrong) and quite posable. Regrettably, he's top heavy and the smaller legs do not really allow him to do too many poses without him toppling down.
Apart from the hands, this is an excellent toy. Oh, how could I forget? There's the bonus figurine.
Saboteur, Spy, Infiltrator, Data stealer, Assassin
(in film) Boom Box, later Mobile Phone (in toy) Barricade's grille
Bonus transformers had been a tradition ever since Generation One Minispies... nay, ever since Buzzsaw. Then, bonus transformers came with each and every one of the Head/Target/Powermasters. In Armada, practically every toy had a bonus Minicon with it.
So Barricade has Frenzy. Frenzy's probably the most memorable character in the show. Skeletal, diminutive and hyperactive, movie Frenzy's caught the hearts of many fans across the globe. From his funny secret agent impersonation of infiltrating of Air Force One, to maniacally hacking the servers, to later him fingering the bird to humans, and ripping off Sam's pants, and getting his head lobbed off by Mikaela, and the head scuttling off on its own (Headmasters!) and becoming a mobile, to him meeting Sam's goldfish, to him falling off the Hoover Dam, to him discovering the Allspark and mobilizing the Decepticons, to him shooting shurikens at fat ol' Glen, and being killed by his own weapon... even his final line- OH SHIT- is so damn funny.
The original Frenzy is nothing like this. The original Frenzy is a basic punk with Black Canary-style sonic screams. He transforms into a blue cassette and is usually portrayed as one of Soundwave's minions, with his twin brother Rumble. Later he got a Gobot toy (transforms into a car) in G2.
This incarnation of Frenzy is meant to be Soundwave, but everyone feels that the teetering hyperactive insane madman is way too far from Soundwave's monotonic persona, so Frenzy got the silver screen instead. And the name suits him very well.
Slide down Barricade's ramming bars and pull out the grille. Ta da! That's Frenzy. Not much to do about him. Certainly this isn't the boom box alternate mode he picked in the movie, nor the more classic radio that the crappy FAB toy uses, but what the hey. He's a bonus transformer anyway. Besides, G1 Frenzy's cassette mode also didn't do much.
Well, he's bonus and all, but the simple transformation gives us a spindly little robot. More or less, he's show accurate. Poseability is limited to the neck, the shoulders and the knees. Both the legs are joined as one for balance.
Nothing much, but certainly better than his Fast Action Battler twin.
Marks out of ten for the following:
- 6/10 very fiddly at first, but once you get the hang of it it's easy.
6/10 Regrettably, Barricade's decals, mainly the 643 on the top and the 'punish and enslave', can wear off.
7/10 All that I can say is- meh. He's rather prominent in the show, and his alternate mode is certainly great. Oh, don't forget Frenzy. But the robot mode? Weaponless, with only a thumbs-up to display? Well, you can play with him, it's just... awkward.
8/10 A deluxe, and you get one excellent alternate mode and a adequate robot mode, plus a bonus. 8 will do.
8/10 despite his ugly hands and lack of cool weaponry, Barricade is definitely recommended, especially for those who want to bolster their Decepticon collections. He displays very well in vehicle mode, and robot mode is nice as well--other than the hands.