In observation of this MEMORIAL DAY, 2018, I’m celebrating in the only asshat way I’m capable of: honoring the many a fallen hero of mine, who’ve fought valiantly in harrowing battles here, there, everywhere, against enemies both known and unknown, at home, abroad, and in deep space, for God, and Country, and, in many cases, the fate of all mankind, in this, MY TOP TEN LIST OF THE MOST BADASS SOLDIERS OF WAR FILMS.
Here they are, in perfectly descending order.
1.) [REDACTED] JOHN J. RAMBO
OK, so come on. Say what we will about Stallone, and Frank, and their Instagram stories with President Drumpf, that’s not the point. What I’m asking is, WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT THIS BATTLE WEARY GOOD OLE BOY RIGHT HERE, HUH? John J. Rambo. He’s the ultimate one-man army; the mold-breaker. He’s got the movie that invented all the tropes. If this bullet casing-chewing bad dude hadn’t’ve survived ‘Nam, and lived long enough, through a litany of harrowing off-the-records missions to humbly jizz the venom out of snakes in the twilight of his life down on the banks of the fucking Burmese jungle, or wherever, upright and uptight Sheriff Teasle would still be haranguing drifters, and probably evolve into a big modern-day political proponent of rolling back immigrant right; Vietnamese pirates would be playing bamboo piñata with our POWs, in addition to the corrupt uppity-ups in the U.S. government getting the patsy in Rambo they’d hoped for; Trautman would’ve gave up his sweet patriotic gag order virginity to those Soviet hooligans in Afghanistan; and the witless Christian missionaries would’ve been hogsfeed at the hands of a pedophile militia dictator. All hail Rambo. Rambo is life.
2.) PVT. SILAS TRIP
I mean if this shit isn’t the way, y’ know? Private Trip is the one true hero of this here godforsaken movie that proclaims to be about equality for black soldiers but is really about white soldiers fighting for equality for black soldiers, but Broderick as Col. Robert Gould Shaw still gets a longer character credit than Denzel does. It’s a great war movie, but another lugubrious, although at its core, essential, meditation on the black experience post Emancipation Proclamation, during the real fight of the Civil War. Trip here is, of course, a consummate soldier, and like so many other blacks at that time, and others throughout history, has got the honor and integrity and the boiling blood within him to fight a white man’s war against other white men (over the fate of SLAVERY, BTW). Still, he has to reckon with persistent racism in the ranks, and ultimately goes AWOL just so he can have some MOTHERFUCKIN’ SHOES, MOTHERFUCKERS in which to keep fighting this war in. The “wolf dancer” of this particular Edward Zwick white-wash, Col. Shaw, has him whipped for insubordination. And then of course, Shaw “sees the error of his ways,” and what not, and the two become fast friends. And yet, Trip that keeps fighting, even at the side of his oppressor.
3.) WILLIAM WALLACE
I realize that there’s little-to-no historical merit to this movie, and Gibson is an anti-semitic, wife-beating, Jesus zealot fucknut. But, GODDAMN, that is a BIG ASS MOTHERFUCKIN’ SWORD FOR A MAN IN MAKEUP AND A SHORT PLAID SKIRT.
4.) MAJ. ALAN “DUTCH” SCHAEFER
When it comes to “the undisputed greatest movie of all time,” Predator, you’ll see in a moment that Dutch ain’t even really my guy in the movie. But you can’t argue with the fact that DUDE BEATS A BALLER KILLER ALIEN WITH A BOW AND ARROW. All he was left with in the end was NONE OF HIS BUDDIES, a knife, and some keen-ass know-how. Also, thank Crom, a whole buncha mud. The only real unbelievable aspect of this movie is that Arnold’s last name is “Schaefer.”
SO. GET. TO. DA. CHOPPA.
5.) BILLY SOLE
BILLY KNEW THE PREDATOR BEFORE THE PREDATOR KNEW THAT BILLY KNEW THE PREDATOR SO WHO IS REALLY EVEN THE PREDATOR IN PREDATOR?
6.) SHAKA ZULU
First of all, Shaka is not so much a soldier as he is THE MOTHERFUCKING KING, but, also, A FUCKING WARRIOR KING, so as long as I’m including him, I’ll just also include his royal bad-assness, warrior and protector, and one True King, T’Challa —
I learned about the Zulu Nation mainly out of protest for that white-washed British war porn, Zulu, where none of the Zulu characters have names, and none of the actors that played the Zulu characters are credited, and Michael Cain plays some redcoat fucktwat, Captain Twixton Bumblethorpe, or some such white-ass aristocratic nomenclature, and he and his 140 snaggletoothed, tea-drinking fancy boys hold fast against an African army desperate to hang onto their homeland in the face of colonization. In the South African TV miniseries from 1986, which almost didn’t go into production because of sanctions there, esteemed actor Henry Cele, who, himself, hailed from Durban, South Africa, portrays King Shaka and is a goddamn vision of earthly delight, I’m telling. Do yourself this favor. You’ve never seen abs washboard like this motherfucker shit before, I guarantee it.
7.) MAJ. JOHN REISMAN
“I never went in for embroidery, just results.” –Maj. John Reisman, the dirtiest of them all.
8.) STEVE ROGERS
ASTHMATIC. 5’5 & 90LBS. FLAT FEET. JUMPS ON A LIVE GRENADE TO SAVE HIS INFANTRY AND BECOMES A SUPERHERO. ANY QUESTIONS?
9.) PVT. JENETTE VASQUEZ
The. Perfect. Woman. Er, person. Soldier. Also female character. COLONIAL MARINE? Also, just gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
10.) LT. COL. BILL KILGORE
I mean, I’ve gotta put one fucking asshole on here, right? I’m sure any Vet can attest that in service there’s a fraction of the enlisted that are bloodlusting, trigger-happy, amoral nutjobs, which provide for all the photo-negative perceptions we have of the American Armed Services ideal.
That’s Kilgore. A sadist. A killer. A warmonger. All hail Red, White, & Blue.
That fucking neckerchief though? It really ties all his psychopathy together.
Memorial Day has a lot of heft, I know, and I would always mean to address it truly in a real way, but I am stunted by the possession of a child’s brain, unfortunately, and a great cynicism for the culture of war and the intentions of our country’s government. Therefore, so in order to not dishonor while I honor, please accept this modest asshatery as substitute for genuine sentiments.
Thank you to all who have served, living and dead. You possess a willingness to do a job I could never hope to, on my bravest day.