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Updated: Stallone Will Not Take on the Islamic State in New Movie

Iraqi armed forces, even with extensive support from Iran and the United States, have mostly failed to achieve meaningful victories against the Islamic State. But what armies have failed to accomplish, one man is set to achieve on the big screen.

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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story, citing other published accounts, said that Sylvester Stallone’s next film would involve his Rambo character fighting the Islamic State. The article included quotes the actor purportedly made at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego about scouting locations in both Iraq and Syria. A representative for Stallone has since told Rolling Stone that the actor wasn’t at Comic-Con and that the initial reports of his comments about an Islamic State-themed film were inaccurate. A Comic-Con spokesman also told FP that “we have no record of Mr. Stallone appearing at our event.” Foreign Policy regrets falling for the hoax (but wishes that this fake movie was actually being made). The original post is below.

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Iraqi armed forces, even with extensive support from Iran and the United States, have mostly failed to achieve meaningful victories against the Islamic State. But what armies have failed to accomplish, one man is set to achieve on the big screen.

Speaking at Comic-Con, the entertainment convention, actor and director Sylvester Stallone said that the next and final installment of Rambo, tentatively titled Last Blood, will see the iconic action hero take on the Islamic State. “We have teams scouting Iraq and parts of Syria where ISIS have their greatest strongholds,” Stallone said. “We’re working with the locals there to help deliver the most intense and realistic Rambo movie experience ever.”

Previous installments of the action franchise have seen Rambo fighting everywhere from Afghanistan, to Vietnam, to a small town in Washington state, so the Iraq/Syria connection certainly doesn’t seem farfetched. But the notion that Stallone has “teams” scouring ISIS “strongholds” certainly is. As of November 2014, the Red Crescent remained the only active NGO operating on the front lines in Iraq, and as violence has worsened in Syria, journalists and humanitarian groups have struggled to access areas controlled by the Islamic State. Many journalists, given the epidemic of kidnappings, now consider the entire country of Syria a no-go zone. If Stallone really has producers working in ISIS strongholds, it would be a deeply foolhardy task.

In his comments at Comic-Con Stallone didn’t elaborate on his plans for the film. A spokesperson for Stallone did not immediately respond to inquiries from Foreign Policy on Monday. Stallone, who is writing the script and set to star in the film, has not set a release date for the Rambo finale.

Last time Rambo dealt with Islamist politics was in the 1988 sequel, Rambo III, in which the rogue Vietnam vet traveled to Afghanistan to rescue his mentor from captivity at the hands of Soviet forces fighting in the country. Stallone dedicated the film to “the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan.”

Rabo III/Screengrab via YouTube

Benjamin Soloway is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @bsoloway

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