Stallone slams Myanmar junta for storm "indifference"

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Fresh from a movie about saving Christian missionaries from a sadistic Myanmar army major, ‘Rambo’ actor Sylvester Stallone on Wednesday accused the former Burma’s junta of indifference to their citizen’s cyclone misery.

U.S. actor Sylvester Stallone speaks to the audience at a news conference for the movie "Rambo" in Tokyo May 7, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Caronna

Nearly 22,500 people have been killed and 41,000 are still missing after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta, washing away entire villages and rendering at least one million people homeless.

Stallone, speaking in Tokyo where he was promoting his latest Rambo movie, said the Myanmar government was clearly unprepared.

“Just recently, with this horrible cyclone, we see how these people were unprepared and are being treated terribly, suffering because of the indifference of the government,” he told a news conference.

But he sounded an optimistic note on the potential for change in the country because of the global spotlight on the disaster.

“I think what’s going to come out of this devastating cyclone, and the fact that our film has made it much more apparent of the violence that these people live under, I think there’s going to be great social change in that country because they can’t hide any more.”

In his latest film , 61-year-old Stallone again plays the machinegun-toting Vietnam War veteran John Rambo, this time coming out of retirement in Thailand to save a group of Christian missionaries from the clutches of a Myanmar army major.

Entitled simply “Rambo”, the movie is banned in Myanmar, but it has been become hot property in the country’s underground DVD scene.

Stallone said he had wanted to highlight the impoverished country’s problems when he set out, well ahead of protests there last September, to make the fourth movie in the Rambo series.

“It ... is a film that’s opening up people’s eyes to the sufferings of these poor people in another part of the world, which I think is very important for America to understand that there’s a lot going on outside of our borders.”

Hollywood actors, including Stallone and Will Ferrell, have recently joined a video campaign to win support for jailed Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.