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Joe Colton

GI Joe: Retaliation
by yo go re

"Yippee ki yay" meets "kung-fu grip."

Joe Colton is the original GI Joe hero. He returns to action in the nick of time as the GI Joe team fights off evil Cobra forces. Incredibly brave and strong, Joe Colton blasts the enemy with his mighty arsenal, including a rapid-fire four-barreled missile launcher!

No, I don't think he does. In the film, just like in the comics, Joe Colton is a very practical soldier. Sure, his home may be packed to the rafters with hidden weapons, but they're all conventional guns (like Flint and Lady Jaye came with), not weird imaginary things bigger than his own torso. Of course, the original Joe Colton was also a Vietnam vet, while this one is way too young to have that in his past. Which I guess means this hard-boiled badass did his soldiering in... minor conflicts and anti-terrorist operations all over the globe? That definitely fits with the Joe team's mission.

Colton was played by Bruce Willis, which wasn't a terrible choice: he may play the same character in every role, but sometimes that character is a military guy, right? The likeness is pretty spectacular (definitely better than Cult Classics John McClane), hampered only slightly by the fact that literally every figure seems to have been painted with crooked eyes.

Other than the head, the body is almost entirely made from parts we've seen before. We're talking Footloose's arms, Duke's legs (with the weird single kneepad), and a retooled version of Recondo's torso. The torso is particularly welcome, since part of redoing it was correcting the permanently hunched neck (and also, for no clear reason, removing the collar of the shirt). On one hand, it's nice that he can actually look straight ahead now; on the other hand, why spend the money to retool this torso? What about it was so great? They didn't even fully paint his suspenders: the piece that goes across the middle is the same white as the shirt. They could paint blue buckles on the green straps, but not the giant green strap that connects the two sides? Weird.

Joe is wearing the same (non-functional) shoulder holster General Hawk had in the first movie line - maybe it serves as the representative of the highest-ranking member of the team? He's also got Kwinn's shotgun and revolver, plus a small black pistol. Then there's a large orange rifle with an ammo drum and a very thick barrel.

And of course, we mustn't forget the rapid-fire four-barreled missile launcher. It's simply as dumb as it sounds. It's nearly as large as his entire body, and has a ripcord that makes the barrels spin and launch their projectiles. Bonus points for designing the ripcord to look like a string of bullets, but I thought we were done with the Stupid Giant Guns after the first movie toyline. It doesn't even seem like this was designed with this toy in mind: it has a nub on the back that's meant to plug into somebody's shoulder armor, but it's not anything Colton is wearing. The orange gun can snap into the underside, but don't expect him to actually be able to hold the thing up - it's just too big.

Considering that one of the famous features of the original 12" Joe was his "lifelike hair," it's weird that Retaliation made their Joe Colton bald - would it really have killed them to give Bruce Willis a beard and a toupee? Then he might have actually looked like someone new, rather than John McClane or... whatever his name was in The Expendables. Of course, since the only reason to buy this toy is to get a tiny Bruce Willis head, having a beard and hair might have ruined some of the fun.

-- 05/23/14

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