Back when Hong Kong-based artist Alan Ng founded Fools Paradise in 2009, he launched the brand with the Handmade12 line. This series of handmade designer toys depicted the patients of the Fools Paradise mental hospital, characters that he would later stylize in an assortment of ways. And the fourth piece in the line was Lowfool, a massive and muscular figure that has since donned a variety of garbs, such as his Batman-inspired Batlowfool persona, as seen in 2016’s The Last Ride and The Last Why renditions as well as this year’s The Dark Rise: ’89. In a similar depiction as those pieces, we have here The Last Hire, which finds Lowfool taking on the guise of the Caped Crusader’s nemesis, Bane.

A Brief History of Bane

For those unfamiliar with Bane, he first appeared at the beginning of 1993 in the Batman: Vengeance of Bane special issue, with the supervillain becoming infamous only six months later when he notoriously broke the Dark Knight’s back during the “Knightfall” storyline. Now this rendition of Bane had a fanciful appearance with his Mexican wrestler-inspired garb, tubes flooding his body with the fictional drug venom, augmenting his already brute strength to impossibly enhanced levels. But this isn’t the version of Bane that The Last Hire is parodying.
This sculpture mockingly mimics Bane’s appearance in Christopher Nolan‘s 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises. Portrayed by Tom Hardy, this cinematic iteration of the character had more of a militaristic theme, attired in an armored vest, with a matching pair of black combat pants complete with knee pads. And instead of a full mask, this Bane donned a metal contraption, one that delivered an anesthetic directly into his airways that relieved the feeling of any pain.

My Impressions of The Last Hire

Perfectly capturing the look of that Bane in an almost cartoonish manner, Ng’s Lowfool rendition is gorgeously executed. The piece’s impossibly sized muscles prominently pop off the form, the exposed flesh coloration given subtle fades of darker highlighting around each bulging shape. Beautifully contrasting against these light areas is the figure’s dark attire, a worn and weathered application finishing these sections.
But, of course, the true heart of this parody lies within the character’s hand, which is grasping onto an ice cream cone, the melting contents oozing upon the figure’s fingers. And, all the while, this non-articulating form’s gaze peers at this aspect, its menacing mask not allowing for the treat to be devoured.
But the Lowfool rendition is only half of this sculptural creation, as The Last Hire comes with a Coin Rides Game component, a tongue-in-cheek rendition of the coin-operated rides that once cluttered the outside of supermarkets to entertain the kiddies. And like all the similar pieces from Ng’s Coin Rides Game series, the vehicle aspect resides on two ball-jointed stands to allow for brilliant side-to-side movement.
Continuing the parody of The Dark Knight Rises film, the vehicle depicted resembles one of the Tumblers that Bane steals from Wayne Enterprises‘ Applied Sciences Division, still decorated in its original camouflaged color scheme. And the jest carries over to the coin box on the side, Ng’s Punch A Ride slogan having the word Harvey emblazoned above it, referencing the character of Harvey Dent whose face is suggestively shown in the background. Now I don’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t seen the Nolan films, but let me just say that information about District Attorney Harvey Dent is essential to Bane’s taking over Gotham City.
Overall, The Last Hire is another stunning sculpture from Fools Paradise, mixing a perfect balance of Ng’s original creations with obvious pop culture parodies.

Editions in the “Last Ride” Series [show]

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