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Stallone Film Offends Vietnam Vets

July 25, 1985

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Sylvester Stallone’s box office hit ″Rambo: First Blood II″ presents a twisted glorification of combat that neglects the real horrors of war, according to Vietnam vets on a movie-theater picket line.

Members of Veteran’s Speakers Alliance on Wednesday conducted informational picketing to protest the film they say exploits the sacrifices made by Vietnam veterans, glorifies war and misrepresents the horror of Vietnam.

″To see Stallone take on the entire enemy and not get a scratch on his body is totally ludicrous,″ complained alliance member Kim Scipes. ″The film is totally unrealistic.″

In ″Rambo,″ Stallone plays a decorated Vietnam veteran searching for American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. He finds the POWs and is forced to single-handedly take on their captors, commandeer a helicopter and return the prisoners to an American base near Vietnam.

At the end, Rambo gives an impassioned speech to his commander, telling him he loves his country and would die for it, but that he just wants to be acknowledged for what he and other vets did in Vietnam.

After the TWA hostage crisis in June, President Reagan joked that ″after seeing ‘Rambo’ last night, I know what to do the next time this happens.″

Veterans picketing a popular movie theater called the film propaganda that aims to prepare America’s youth for another Vietnam-like war.

″We, too, were brinwashed with similar propaganda before the Vietnam war,″ said alliance spokesman Eduardo Cohen. ″But, when we got to Vietnam, we found that it wasn’t like the John Wayne movies.

″We didn’t find democracy. We were fooled into sacrificing our lives or part of our lives. Rambo does the same thing.″

The film also is ″advertently or inadvertently psychologically preparing youths for war,″ Cohen said.

The alliance complained that Stallone appointed himself to speak on behalf of all Vietnam vets.

″We are offended that Stallone is presenting himself as a Vietnam vet. He apparently feels that he can represent all vets, but we don’t like that,″ Cohen said. ″He was never involved in the war. He doesn’t know what we went through.″

The film is the most popular movie of the summer, earning more than $130 million since its release nine weeks ago.

It received mixed reviews, and columnists and others criticized it for opening old wounds and fueling the public’s hopes that POWs are still alive in Southeast Asia.

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