MOSCOW — A film depicting an easy victory for the Soviet armed forces over American troops at a fictitious secret missile base in the South Pacific is playing at Moscow theaters.
"Lonely Voyage" appears to be a Soviet counterpart of "Rambo," the Sylvester Stallone movie, which has been condemned by Soviet officials as a glorification of war.
Unlike "Rambo," however, the Soviet film has a mild-mannered hero, a marine major who yearns to hear the sound of nightingales rather than automatic weapons fire.
Yet he and three fellow marines wipe out at least a dozen Americans with guns and knives, emerging unscratched from the one-sided battle. Similarly, a Soviet cruiser knocks out two missile-firing boats flying the American flag as well as a submarine under control of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The triumph is so overwhelming that even one Soviet critic said the film made it seem all too easy to win in a military encounter with the United States.
In the end, however, the heroic major is shot in the back by a dying American. While balalaika music plays in the background, his comrades convey news of the major's death to his aging parents in a bittersweet finale.
The battle scenes provide the climax to a story that drives home the Soviet propaganda theme that American business and military leaders are always plotting to undermine Soviet-American detente.
"If there is a thaw in our relations with Russia, we'll have to cut down on strategic systems," one U.S. industrialist says in the film. "Half a trillion dollars is the price of detente."
The plot then depicts the CIA as planning to destroy a cruise ship with hundreds of people aboard by firing a missile from a secret base in the South Pacific and then blaming it on the Soviet Union.
An American Army major, tormented by memories of atrocities in Vietnam, is put in charge of the clandestine operation. The missile misfires, however, and he decides against CIA orders to fire a nuclear missile at the Soviet fleet.
The crazed major orders troops loyal to him to kill other American security guards so he can carry out his plan.
He even sends assassins on hang gliders to dispatch two shipwrecked Americans who accidentally land on the island with the secret base. One survives, however, and joins the Soviet marines to seek revenge.
Even as the countdown is proceeding, however, the Soviet marines crash into the underground base, destroy the remaining defenders and prevent the missile from being launched.
Reaction to the picture has been mixed. One Soviet moviegoer felt it was ominous for Soviet-American relations since it was the first time in his memory that armed forces of both countries were shown in a direct military confrontation.
"It's a stupid movie," remarked another viewer. "It's made for the Soviet equivalent of the Americans who went wild over 'Rambo'. "