Director of Soviet 'Rambo' Dies at 75

Russian film director Mikhail Tumanishvili, who was behind one of the biggest Soviet-era blockbusters, died in Moscow on Thursday. He was 75.

News agencies did not report a cause of death, but the director was hospitalized with lung problems earlier this year, the Infox.ru news agency reported.

Tumanishvili, a Muscovite, began his career as a theater actor but switched to filmmaking with his debut in 1981.

His first big hit was the thriller “Solo Voyage” (1985), which features Soviet marines preventing a group of U.S. right-wing military officers from starting World War III by launching a rocket attack on the Soviet Union. The action-packed movie took the Soviet box office by storm and boasted an audience of some 40 million.

Two years later, The New York Times likened the film to Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo" and noted that it reveled in the same sort of Cold War stereotypes. The U.S. military is depicted as cold-blooded killers, but in a touch of the blossoming perestroika policy, “Solo Voyage” also features American tourists helping the Soviets uncover the plot.

Tumanishvili's other notable work includes the drama “Crash, a Cop's Daughter” (1989) and the hit crime series “Turetsky's March” (2000). He directed a total of 16 feature-length films and three television series.

“I was very surprised how this calm and wise person was making such thrilling action films. He was never afraid to say that he wanted to make films for young boys,” fellow director Andrei Kavun told The Moscow Times.

Tumanishvili is survived by his wife and daughter. A memorial ceremony will be held Saturday in the downtown Film House, Itar-Tass reported.

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