Before the film Zero Dark Thirty started a ruckus over whether it was a factional or fictional depiction of the violent politics of Afghanistan, there were other somewhat surprising Hollywood films that tackled this politically volatile subject, Keith Phipps writes in The Atlantic.
Movies like Rambo III, The Living Daylights, The Beast and even Spies Like Us all featured Mujahadeen fighters. And each movie treats its Islamic characters through the prism of the politics of the day.
For instance, Sylvester Stallone fights alongside Afghan warlords — i.e., the good guys — against the bad-guy Russians in Rambo III, released in 1988.
In Living Daylights, a 1987 James Bond movie, Bond is kidnapped and taken to an Afghan airbase, where he escapes with help from a Mujahideen leader. “Here the Mujahideen prove to be trusty allies to Bond, who responds by helping them against their Soviet enemies,” Phipps writes. “In reality, whatever victories the real-life counterparts of the Mujahideen encountered with Bond’s and Rambo’s help would prove short-lived, some of them subsequently turning their anger on the West. Connect the dots between movie worlds and it’s easy to imagine that some of those cheering the heroes to victory would end up in the interrogation rooms overseen by Zero Dark Thirty’s heroine.”