Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The New Rambo

The plot is highlighted by a solider soon to be a hero to his country for correcting injustice. The hero is fighting an unwanted occupant in his country and battling to save his region from occupation. No, this isn't the new John Rambo film by Sylvester Stallone. It actually shows the United States as a bully.

The film - Valley of Wolves Iraq - that is taking Turkey by storm- having already broken Turkish box office records - involves Turkish gunmen who seek revenge against a tyrannical occupying army. The enemy is no oppressive third-world dictatorship. The commander's name is "Sam" - as in Uncle - and the opposing forces are Americans, who are being punished for offenses against Turkish as well as Iraqi pride and honour.

Sam William Marshall, played by Billy Zane, is portrayed as a sociopath, killing people without a second thought and claiming that he is doing God's will, a thinly veiled reference to statements by President George W. Bush about America's "crusade" for democracy in Iraq and the Middle East.

Indeed, while fictional, some of the movie is based on real events. The opening sequence portrays an incident that made headlines in 2003, when a group of Turkish special forces soldiers in Iraq was taken into custody by American marines. The Turks, mistaken for insurgents, were handcuffed and held with hoods over their heads. The incident angered many Turks.

Other scenes show ruthless marines killing Iraqis and soldiers mistreating inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. A Jewish-American doctor, played by Gary Busey, is shown as shipping inmates' organs to New York, London and Israel. All these, according to the screenwriter, Bahadir Ozdener, were inspired by real events.

The past few decades have seen the US military use the cinema as a propaganda tool to desensitize Americans to war, violence and killing. In this case, turn about is fair play. I am sure the Ann Coulter's of the world will have some intelligent comments on this film.

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