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Series: Studio Series
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2018

Prelude: You know this cliché in action and monster movies about the black guy always dying first? Well, Michael Bay has never met a racist cliché he didn’t want to include in one of his movies, so naturally Jazz, the hip-talking, Darius-McCrary-voiced Autobot breakdancer ended up the first Autobot casualty in the Transformers live-action franchise. Didn’t stop him from getting a lot of toys to his name, of course, including one in the Studio Series. Here it is!

Robot Mode: Reading through my review of the original Movie 2007 Deluxe Jazz, the one thing I complained about regarding this otherwise very nice figure were the really badly designed arms. Well, Studio Series Jazz has much better arms, so we can lay that fear to rest right at the start. Also, Studio Series Jazz is a much sleeker-looking figure than the 2007 version, a good deal more screen-accurate, and just plain fun. He is also a good deal smaller, but that’s not really a problem, as he is scaled well with the other Studio Series Autobots.

Jazz is still one of the more interesting car-Transformer designs, having the upside-down front of his car mode as a chest (the stock footage omits that you should turn around his grill). Sadly he has a pretty big backpack, consisting of the roof and rear spoiler of the car, but it folds together well enough not to unbalance him or anything. He is very nicely articulated, including ankle swivels for really dynamic poses.

For a weapon Jazz carries the shield he was briefly seen wielding in the movie, which also doubles as a gun. He can only hold it in his left hand, though, seeing as his right hand is the four-fingered claw he used in the movie to magnetize the weapons of the Sector 7 agents. Looks good, but can’t hold anything with it, sadly. But it can flip around to become a peg where you can plug the weapon in, so it kind of works right-handed, too, just without an actual hand.

Bottom line: a great Movie Jazz in robot mode. The only one who possibly did it better was Human Alliance Jazz and even then I’d call it a tie.

Alternate Mode: Jazz still transforms into a silver Pontiac Solstice sportscar, so no changes here. The car looks very sleek and there are no visible robot bits. Of course you can see numerous seams along the car chassis due to the bright color, but that isn’t really avoidable. Not mentioned in the instructions: you can store the shield/gun in vehicle mode by slotting it into the rear spoiler. Kind of ruins the disguise factor, but it’s possible. So bottom line: a very nice car mode, no complaints at all.

Remarks: So many things were different back in the simpler days of the original live-action movie. All the Autobots were named and got a bit of personality. All the bad guys were named and shown to transform on screen at least once. And when one of the good guys died, there was actual mourning involved (very brief, but a saddened sigh from Peter Cullen is worth a thousand eulogies). Maybe Jazz should be thankful he was torn apart by Megatron at a time when we could still entertain the notion that the Bay movies might treat the giant robots from outer space as characters.

Anyway, there have been a lot of Movie Jazz toys over the years, even though the guy died in the first installment. And while there were no complete failures among them (even the Fast Action Battler was pretty decent), the Studio Series toy is, to me, the best one yet. Yes, the Human Alliance version might have more gimmicks and be more intricate, but this is a good, solid Deluxe-class figure that perfectly captures the character from the screen in toy form and is of compatible scale with the rest of the line (mostly). So if you’re in any way a fan of the Movie Autobots, Jazz should be part of them.

Rating: A-

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