Sylvester Stallone/Jackie Chan Iraq-set action movie plans prompt controversy

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Elder statesman of action Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan (credit: WENN)

The news that Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan are at long last making a movie together should be music to the ears of action fans everywhere – but not everyone is singing such a happy tune.

As reported by Deadline, the two senior action men are set to join forces on ‘Ex-Baghdad.’ A Chinese production set to be directed by Scott Waugh (‘Act of Valour,’ ‘Need for Speed’), the film is reportedly budgeted at $80 million, making it one of the biggest productions ever to come out of China.

‘Ex-Baghdad’ will cast Chan as a security contractor and Stallone as a former US marine, who join forces to rescue the workers of a Chinese-owned oil refinery in Mosul, Iraq, which comes under attack.

It’s a team-up many have been looking forward to for a very long time. 70-year old Stallone and 63-year old Chan are known to have been close friends for many years, but have never worked together on a film (aside from appearances in notorious 1997 comedy dud ‘Burn Hollywood Burn’).

However, the decision to set the film in a place notorious for real-life atrocities has not gone over well in all quarters. A notable critic is German-Palestinian filmmaker Lexi Alexander, who pointed out the horrific history of the region:

It may be worth noting that Arash Amel, the writer of ‘Ex-Baghdad,’ is himself of Middle Eastern origin.

In any case, Stallone for one is no stranger to using troubled regions as the settings for his action films, notably with 2008’s ‘Rambo’ (AKA ‘John Rambo’/’Rambo 4’), which was set – although not shot – in Burma.

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