Sylvester Stallone says he and his "Rambo" sequel movie crew recently witnessed the human toll of unspeakable atrocities while filming along the Burma border.
"I witnessed the aftermath - survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off," he told the Associated Press in an October 1 phone interview. "We hear about Vietnam and Cambodia and this was more horrific."
The 61-year-old actor-director returned to the United States on September 23 after shooting John Rambo, the fourth installment in the popular "Rambo" action series. Filming took place on the Salween River separating Thailand and Burma. Stallone said he was in Thailand for six months, most of it on or along the river.
"This is a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams," he said. "All the trails are mined. The only way into Burma is up the river."
Stallone's filming ended before the ruling military government's crackdown against Burma's largest pro-democracy protests in two decades. After the government increased fuel prices in August, public anger turned to mass protest against 45 years of military rule. Last week, soldiers armed with automatic weapons fired upon unarmed demonstrators.
Written long before the present Burma uprising, the "Rambo" script features Stallone's character John Rambo - a Vietnam war-era Green Beret who specializes in violent rescues and revenge - taking a group of mercenaries up the Salween River in search of missing Christian aid workers in Burma.
Stallone said shots were fired over the crew's head. "We were told we could get seriously hurt if we went on," he said.
He says his movie aims to portray the military as cruel, rather than scapegoating the Burmese people, whom he describes as "beautiful."
Stallone is now editing John Rambo, which will be released in January.