Sylvester Stallone's Rambo, the writer/director's powerful documentary on a mysterious, monosyllabic American boatman's struggle to unseat the bloodthirsty military regime subjugating Myanmar, has struck such a chord within the country that its ruling junta is trying to stop the cinematic call-to-action from reaching Yangon's black-market DVD stalls, where it could incite widespread rebellion by those inspired by Stallone's rousing catchphrases:
These incredibly brave people have found, kind of a voice, in a very odd way, in American cinema... They've actually used some of the film's quotes as rallying points," Stallone, 61, said in a telephone interview.
"That, to me, is the one of the proudest moments I've ever had in film."
Residents in Yangon told Reuters this week that police had given strict orders to DVD hawkers to not stock the movie — named simply "Rambo". Locals said fans had "gone crazy" over lines in the hero's brusque dialog such as: "Live for nothing. Die for something."
Heartened that his Burmese target audience had adopted that stirring rallying cry over Rambo's ambivalent, but equally as catchy, "Fuck the world!" dismissal of his heroic mission in the film's first act, Stallone has offered to travel to the region and confront the junta personally:
"I'm only hoping that the Burmese military, because they take such incredible offence to this, would call it lies and scurrilous propaganda. Why don't you invite me over?" he said.
"Let me take a tour of your country without someone pointing a gun at my head and we'll show you where all the bodies are buried... Or let's go debate in Washington in front of a congressional hearing... But I doubt that's going to happen."
Even though it's unlikely that officials from the country will take him up on his Congressional challenge, Stallone should have further opportunities to champion the cause; expect him to accept the invitation of some Myanmar ex-pats to host another protest screening in Singapore like the one that took place on Sunday, where the star can distribute official Rambo "Live for Nothing, Die for Something" t-shirts to replace the homemade "We pursue peace, justice and democracy for Burma" garments that less stirringly communicate the heart of their struggle.