It may be 20 years since he last kicked butt, but Rambo – Sylvester Stallone’s one-man killing machine – still has plenty of fans in Japan. Fifty of them turned up to greet him when he arrived at 3:30am aboard a private plane at Haneda airport earlier this month. What’s more, the 61-year-old star signed autographs for all of them.
Stallone was in a combative mood as he discussed his 4th outing, and 1st since 1989, as the Vietnam vet. His target was the Myanmar junta, which he said is treating its people brutally. “This is apparent in the indifference of the government to the people’s suffering since the recent cyclone,” he said during a photo call at the Peninsula hotel in Tokyo.
At least, Rambo gets to do something about the situation in Myanmar. In the latest film, directed by Stallone and produced by 11 others, John Rambo lives a secluded life as a snake wrangler in Thailand. A group of clueless missionaries head to Myanmar to deliver medical supplies but get caught up in the brutal civil war. It’s up to Rambo to save the day. Along the way, there are beheadings, vivisections, flesh-eating pigs, explosions, one guy getting his throat ripped out and Rambo wreaking havoc with assorted weapons and his trusty bow and arrows.
“The reason I wanted to another 'Rambo' is because I wasn’t happy with the last one, much like with 'Rocky,'” Stallone said. “This one is more realistic and political. Not many people know about the Burma-Karen civil war. It’s the longest-running civil war on the planet and has been going on for 60 years. It’s a strong film and I want to open people’s eyes. It’s especially important for Americans to understand that there is a lot of suffering going on beyond their borders. I think there will be great social change in Burma and we’ll be proud if our movie can be a part of that.”
Understandably, the junta refused all cooperation and even threatened its citizens living in Thailand not to appear in the film. “They were all told their families would be put in jail if they participated, but some did, anyway,” said Stallone. “Two musicians played pirates and they were really nice people. It was really hard for me to shoot guitar players.”
Stallone added he may not be through with Rambo. “There are vets who return home and they feel it is their destiny in life to help people who can’t help themselves. They are natural warriors with a sense of humanity. Rambo is one of those. There is a place in Mexico where over 500 women have disappeared. Maybe Rambo could go down and get involved in that. If the theme of a movie is about making the world better, then the film is worth making. But if I do a 5th one, it won’t be a war movie. Rambo’s war now is in his own heart.”
However, time is taking its toll on Stallone. He described filming "Rambo" in Thailand as quite grueling. “It was 30 days of mud, snakes and worms. I was running and running and thought, ‘I’m getting old.’ Finally, a bamboo tree did what the Vietnamese, Russians or Myanmar forces couldn’t do in all the films – knock Rambo out. “I ran right into a tree and was out cold,” he said.
During his brief visit to Japan, Stallone presented his bow for auction to raise funds for charity, had his palm print placed with other celebrities at Hibiya Chanter and also took a fancy to a massive poster for the movie, showing him blasting away with a huge machinegun. “I wanna take this poster home and show it to any guy thinking of dating my daughter,” he said.© Japan Today