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G.I. Joe: Retaliation

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

LibFacGuest contributor Libby Cudmore is a writer, journalist, and Chrono Trigger enthusiast. She runs the blog Geek Girl Goes Glam: A Year-Long Experiment in Vintage Beauty, and was also featured on our Cutthroat Island podcast.

If I have the hots for an actor, I will watch anything, literally anything, he is in. For my college sweetheart, Ewan McGregor, I suffered through Eye of the Beholder. Clive Owen, who I craved in my mid-20’s, tortured me in Intruders. I am shallow and chained to my heart, which is how I ended up spending an afternoon trapped in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

No, it wasn’t for Channing Tatum. Screw that guy. I was there for Walton Goggins.

Unlike leading men like Owen or McGregor, Goggins is a unique case because as a character/ensemble actor, he ends up in some pretty terrible films and they are never his fault. Hey, grits don’t buy themselves, so for every Randy and the Mob, there is a Red Dirt. For every Lincoln, there is Humanoids from the Deep. For every The Shield, there is Predators. And I’ve seen them all.

His 20-minute performance as Warden Nigel James is literally the only bright spot in an otherwise loathsome and hateful film. After he gets killed, the rest of the movie just hurts, until you’re in so much agony and pain that you’re convinced that nothing can ever be beautiful again, because it has to exist side-by-side in a world where G.I. Joe: Retaliation was #1 at the box office.

Two scenes stand out to me as representing everything that is utterly reprehensible about this piece of garbage. The first is when Lady G.J. Joe (I’m not going to bother looking up her name) is standing there in her underwear and says to Not-Channing-Tatum, “I wish my dad could see me now.” I don’t know about other people’s dads, but my dad wouldn’t even say the word “bra” and frowns disapprovingly if I’m wearing anything less than a turtleneck, so I doubt that he’d want to see me standing around with my titties hanging out.

What bothers me about this is not the weird, moderately-incestuous dialogue. It’s that up until this point, her character had been One Of The Boys. She wasn’t sexy, she wasn’t trotted out like some Guns & Ammo centerfold. She just was, and I was refreshed by this, especially since the character I came to see was dead and I was stuck with these bozos the rest of the movie. But then the filmmakers had to go and ruin it all by parading her around in her undies, undoing all the subtle character development they’d accidentally given her.

(Side note: When Bruce Willis is forced to salute her at the end, I’m convinced they dubbed over his dialogue because the look he’s giving her just screams, “Nice tits, Barbie.”)

Speaking of Bruce Willis, his big scene offended me more than anything ever. They go to his house and he shows them all of the guns he has hidden behind everything—in cabinets, under sofa cushions, behind fake walls. With Sandy Hook only a few months behind us, I couldn’t help but feel really itchy during this montage. We’re all supposed to think how awesome it is that he’s exercising his second ‘mentment rights, but I did not see an American Hero here—instead, I saw George Zimmerman and Adam Lanza, paranoid, gun-toting lunatics just waiting for a chance to murder some children.
(Don’t worry, the gun toting lunatic G.I. Joes only murder faceless bad guys. Or maybe they don’t. I’ve blocked all of it out except for Goggins’ pink shirt.)

There is one singular upside in this whole mess—at least we know Goggins won’t be in the sequel.

Release Date: Far Too Soon.
Star Rating: Gum on the Bottom of Morrissey’s Vegan Shoes.

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