See Antonio’s review on youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=I0ywz2laKbg
The latest Sylvester Stallone film, “Rambo IV” depicts the war in Burma. In the film, Rambo delivers a group of missionaries doctors into the Karen State. The village is attacked by the SPDC (Burmese Army) and Rambo must lead a group of terrible mercenaries on a rescue mission. Just as it looks like all hope is lost, the Karen rebels (KNU) come to rescue.
The film suffers from bad writing, a weak plot, and a lack of understanding of the conflict or of the complex and varied ethnicities of Burma. It also suffers because they didn’t even mention the Shan State Army (SSA) who need outside help desperately.
One scene that I did like, however, was when the missionaries told Sly they were going into Burma to change things. Sly asks, “are you brining any guns?” The missionary answer, “No, of course not.” Sly said, “Then you ain’t changing nothing.”
The idealism and the arrogance of the do-gooders who show up on the border is enraging. If the SPDC didn’t beat me to it, I would probably want stick abut half these people in a tiger cage myself.
The best point thing this movie did raise awareness about the conflict.
Recently, I had the good fortune to meet up with author Edith Mirante, in Manila, who wrote two books about her incredible experiences of working with the tribal armies in Burma and on the border. Edith taught martial arts to tribal female soldiers and spent time with Khun Sa, the original head of Shan State Army (at that time MTA). Edith was eventually deported from Thailand for her work to help the Burmese. She now works on the conflict from other borders, such as Malaysia and Bangladesh.
According to Edith, Burmese refugees in Malaysia found the movie very inspiring. One refugee told her, “My Malaysian friends saw the movie and then asked me if it was real. I said yes, and they said, now we understand why you are here.”
Most people would never read a book about Burma or take a minute to understand what is written on a thousand pro-democracy in Burma websites, but they will watch a movie, Called “Rambo IV” and in some small way, comprehension and awareness will spread.
With all of the movie’s faults, I give Sly full marks for making the world aware of the suffering of the people of Burma.
Watch my review on youtube, and as always, I ask you please, say a prayer for the people of Burma.
Currently, Antonio is taking is in Manila attending paramedic training. When his course finishes he will return to the conflict in Burma as a medical volunteer. He is self-funded and seeking sponsors. If you wish to contribute to his paramedic training or his “In Shanland” film project, you can donate through paypal, through the Burma page of my website.