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Vilified in Stallone film, junta hits back

world Updated: Feb 22, 2008 23:10 IST
Vilified in Stallone film

Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo character looks like a fat lunatic in his new movie, a Myanmar magazine said this week, bucking local public opinion that has glorified him for his exploits fighting the ruling junta’s unpopular soldiers.

The new Rambo film shows the weary hero on a mission to rescue a group of Christian missionaries taken captive by brutal government troops in the jungles of Myanmar.

Stallone’s fictional exploits have made him a folk hero among the government’s real-life foes here, who circulate bootleg DVDs of the film, even though state censors have ordered video shops not to carry the movie because it denigrates the army’s image.

“We need many Rambos in Myanmar,” said a 75-year-old retired civil servant after watching it. Like other viewers, he asked not to be named for fear of trouble from authorities.

<b1>The movie’s catch phrase, “Either live for something, die for nothing — it’s your choice,” is especially poignant after nonviolent demonstrations for democracy were violently quashed by the army last September.

But an article in The Voice, a Myanmar-language magazine, decried Rambo’s bloodletting and said he “looks funny fighting a war even though he’s so fat with sagging breasts.”

“Stallone’s unsmiling and serious-looking style makes him look like a lunatic,” it added.

The magazine’s critique is actually a loosely translated version of a column criticising the movie published in the Jan. 28 edition of Singapore’s The Straits Times newspaper. Its reference to Myanmar’s “dictators” did not make it into The Voice’s story.

The Voice, like other privately owned publications in Myanmar, is often pressured into carrying pro-government articles and commentaries.

Even film snobs who normally turn their noses up at such a shoot-em-up said they can’t wait to load up their DVD players.