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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Sideshow MOLA RAM Premium Format Figure

    Kali ma! Temple of Doom villain a heart-stopping collectible...

    The Exclusive Premium Format MOLA RAM is IN-STOCK at Sideshow Collectibles priced at $294.99. FLEXPay is available for three easy-to-pay installments of $98.33.

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    Raiders of the Lost Ark is easily my favorite Indiana Jones movie. Its suspenseful trap-laden opening sequence cemented the whip-snapping, Fedora-wearing hero in popular culture and laid the groundwork for the entire Indy franchise. A close contender, however, is Temple of Doom. Planted firmly in jungle adventure, the film displays a more macho Dr. Jones; a hard-hitting ladies man (his intentions with Willie are pretty clear) with an increased tough-guy image (look ma, no shirt!). In a nutshell, Indy kicks butt in Temple of Doom and I love him all the more for it.

    Temple of Doom also rocks my world for WHOSE butt Indy kicks. Nazis are historically evil, but Raiders never fully convinced me of how evil they were. Not so with the Thuggees of Temple of Doom. Thieves? Check. Child abductors, abusers and enslavers? Check. A murderous cult that rips the hearts out of their victims before sacrificing them in fiery lava to a demonic deity called Kali? Check, check and check. As good generic movie villains go, the Thuggees live up to their name. However, faceless evil only goes so far on film. Enter Bollywood actor Amrish Puri, perfectly cast as the leering Thuggee leader, Mola Ram.

    The aforementioned heart-snatching? That was Mola Ram in a scene that's right up there with the likes of Darth Vader choking some poor Rebel scum. Classic bad guy stuff. Mola Ram had the bad guy look down too, with flowing black and red robes, as well as a sinister skull headdress. Even without the ceremonial bone hat, Mola Ram commanded the screen with his painted chrome dome and absolutely INSANE eyes.

    In honor of this iconic villain, Sideshow Collectibles has recently released what can best be described as the definitive Mola Ram collectible, the Mola Ram Premium Format Figure. Looming in at 28 inches tall and tipping the scale at 14 pounds, this mixed media statue is everything a Mola Ram fan could want, and then some. Up for review today is the Sideshow Exclusive. Priced at $294.99 and limited to 400 pieces, this version gives collectors a nice bonus in the form of a ceremonial chalice. Believe it or not, the Sideshow Exclusive is still available for purchase, while there is a WAITLIST for the now sold-out Standard Edition.

    As one would imagine for a 28" tall statue, the box for the Mola Ram PFF is massive. You are instantly aware that you have something large and cool in your possession. There's not a whole lot to the package, but it grabs you with its recognizable Indiana Jones logo and actual images of the statue displaying both head options (more on that feature later). The exclusive version features a "Sideshow Exclusive" sticker on the lower left hand corner. The bottom of the box has another sticker listing your edition number (mine's 350 out of 400). An interesting history lesson on Mola Ram can be found on the back along with Sideshow explaining how you now own the coolest Mola Ram statue on the planet Earth. I'd say it's a shameless promotional plug, but you know what? They are right.

    Full disclosure: Mola Ram is my very first hands-on experience with a Sideshow Premium Format Figure. Yeah, I know, where have I been? Sure, I've seen them at trade shows, but looking at one and actually owning one are two different things. Let me say this: I'm absolutely blown away. The value you are getting in a Premium Format Figure is immediately apparent in just how BIG they are. Twice the size of a 12-inch action figure... in solid polystone resin. Without mentioning names, I can think of statues out there that are this size that cost twice as much. Heck, there are statues half this size that cost the same. Again, having a Premium Format Figure in your hands speaks volumes about its incredible value.

    First impressions aside, the second thing that caught my attention was the sculpt. Sideshow's artists chose a very iconic pose for their Mola Ram. The statue captures the Thuggee Head Priest after he has just torn the still-beating heart out of his victim, his arm thrust high into the air celebrating his conquest. It's a powerful, albeit twisted movie moment that lends itself very well to the statue format.

    Another driving force behind Mola Ram's excellent composition is the wicked display base. A seperate piece, the skull-riddled stand features a hole on top that allows you to anchor Mola Ram down via a steel rod jutting out of his left foot. It's a solid connection for display purposes, just be aware that the statue and base are two seperate pieces when you go to move it.

    Back to the base. As someone who loves skulls, the base is beyond awesome. Spaced around the exterior are eight unique heads - some full skulls, others caught in a sort of mummified state of decomposition. It's a small shame that Mola Ram only plugs onto the base one way, as it would have been nice to be able to pick which particular creepy head you want facing forward. As it is, a screaming skull first greets you. I'm not complaining.

    Now to the pièce de résistance: Mola Ram's interchangable hands and heads. Included with Mola Ram are two heart-clutching hands - one with a flaming heart, the other without the fire. There are also two distinct head sculpts - Mola Ram gleefully screaming in his ceremonial headdress and one sculpt bald, calm and calculating.

    My immediate display choice, as I am sure will be the choice for the majority, was to have Mola Ram with his crazed skull head gripping the fiery organ. It's such a dynamic look that I have a hard time seeing the statue any other way. HOWEVER, I have to hand to Sideshow for giving fans mulitple display options. I can hear them designing the Mola Ram PFF now:

    Designer #1: "We'll do Mola Ram like this: Cool translucent flaming heart, crazy laughing face sculpt and skull headgear. Classic!"

    Designer #2: "I agree, but Mola Ram has such a powerful look without the headdress. The cold baldness with red tribal paint. That insane serene look. It'd be a shame to cover all that up."

    Designer #1: "Dang, you're right. I got it! We'll give fans BOTH heads and let them decide!"

    Designer #2: "And a non-flaming heart... you know, to go with the insane serene look."

    And so it probally went, Sideshow's designer decision to allow collectors a wide variety of display options. It's unprecedented in a statue; a collectible usually left with one defining, static pose.

    The interchangable appendages are all cast of solid resin and attach firmly via powerful magents. I LOVE magnets in statues, as they make swapping out parts a breeze. The translucent resin used on the flaming heart is an eye-catcher, but the real showstoppers are the face sculpts. Both heads are extremely life-like and nail actor Amrish Puri's distinctive features perfectly. The real kicker are the eyes: the windows to the soul. They have a realistic glisten to them and man, that stare... The eyes absolutely define this piece.

    Another element that elevates the Mola Ram PFF beyond the realm of traditional statues is the real-cloth outfit he comes dressed in. A thick and well-tailored robe hangs very naturally on the figure, while two flowing sashes give the costume some depth. You'll find the latter wrapped around the figure right out of the box, and for all purposes, it looks right. It wasn't until I watched Temple of Doom for the umpteenth time that I noticed that one sash sort of drapes over his arm and the other hangs behind. Of course I could have looked at the front of the box to find that out, but that's how these things go. Mola Ram also includes two bone knecklaces that you have to place around his neck. They're incredibly intricate on this scale and really help the statue stand out. As they say, the devil is in the details.

    Actual Size Comparison: Mola Ram PFF and Hasbro 3 3/4" Indy

    As you can probally gather from my review, I'm more than a little impressed with the Mola Ram Premium Format Figure. You really do get your money's worth and with Sideshow's wonderful FLEXPay option, $294 becomes even easier to swallow. Big, bad and bold, Mola Ram is by far one of the coolest villains Indiana Jones has gone against. As a Premium Format Figure, Mola Ram is a worthy addition to your Indiana Jones collection. In the immortal words of Mola Ram: KALI MA!

    Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor

    Review Sample Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles

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