Turkish filmmakers have released a trailer for the latest movie in the enormously popular Valley of the Wolves franchise, a series of action-packed and ultra-nationalistic TV shows and big-budget flicks that will look familiar to anyone who has seen the TV show 24. The third film, Valley of the Wolves: Palestine, depicts a team of rogue Turkish commandos on a killing rampage through Israel in revenge for the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which left 9 Turkish civilians dead. Judging by the trailer -- in which the Turkish protagonist, when asked why he came to Israel, answers, "I didn't come to Israel, I came to Palestine," right before shooting several Israeli policemen in the head -- this film may be the series' most controversial yet.
Past Valley of the Wolves releases have drawn wide controversy and sharp criticism for their heavily glorified violence toward Americans, Israelis, and in one case Kurds, who are a minority in Turkey. Their main character is Polat Alemdar, whose starring role in most of the series' movies and TV shows has made him a kind of Turkish Rambo or Jack Baeur. But unlike those more traditional action stars, Alemdar appears to wage cultural and religious war against perceived American and Israeli enemies. Here's the trailer with English subtitles:
In a line that perhaps sums up the entire film, Alemdar tells an Israeli man who pleads that Israeli is the Jews' "promised land," "I don't know what is promised to you about this soil but I promise you under it."
Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch says that "Passions on both sides are likely to be inflamed" by the movie. Lynch compares it the 2006 Valley of the Wolves film set in Iraq, in which Alemdar and others kill Americans and Iraqi Kurds. In that film, U.S. troops are portrayed as wantonly killing and detaining Iraqi civilians for sports. The Wall Street Journal wrote a staff editorial condemning the film as "a cross between American Psycho in uniform and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Colum Lynch recalls:
That film cost over $10 million to make, more than any previous Turkish film, and was a hit at the box office. It included a performance by American actor Gary Busey, who played a Jewish-American doctor who harvested prisoners' organ for resale to rich clients in the United States.
Will Valley of the Wolves: Palestine find a way to be even more controversial? We'll find out when it's released in January.