Sylvester Stallone went on the O'Reilly Factor on Thursday to discuss his new film The Expendables, an action film about middle-aged mercenaries written by, directed by, and starring Stallone. But the interview focuses primarily on Stallone's politics and the political message of his film, both of which have been labeled neoconservative by some critics.
The aging star of Rambo and Rocky frames his film as a vindication of such neoconservative doctrine as regime change and preemptive war. "It's pretty simple, pretty straightforward. You're bad. You've gotta go." He says of his character and the other protagonists, "these guys are patriots, and they're doing something, and they're very proud to be Americans, and they're basically taking out bad dictators, I don't know, I think it's not a bad thing."
Stallone even suggests the film is about justifying recent American invasions, presumably in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I think one of the key lines in there, the dictator at the very end, he goes, 'We will kill this American disease,' meaning the CIA people that are down there. And some people read it that I was maybe putting the focal point on American intrusion into other countries." Stallone says this antagonistic character is expressing the (typically liberal) belief that "we tend to overextend our boundaries," to which Stallone replies, "I don't believe that at all."
After describing the political undertones of his film, Stallone goes on to lambaste film critics who have accused Stallone's film of having political undertones. "It's like reading into some kind of metaphor or some kind of symbolism or some kind of hidden message. No. There's nothing jingoistic," he insists. "It's just these guys there, blowing things up and having a good time." O'Reilly agrees, calling the critics "pinheads" trying to "justify their column." Though it's not clear what charge he's responding to, Stallone insists, "there's no Christological taxonomy, like, spiritual signifiers. No multilevels." You got that, America? No multilevels.
The interview concludes with Stallone explaining how he keeps fit: by "getting rid of boyfriends" who try to date his daughters, which he says he does by telling them, "Remember, when he's kissing you, he's really kissing me. Uh-oh."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.