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Stallone mission to be a role model

Hollywood hardman Sylvester Stallone said tonight he wants to be a role model to youngsters.

The Rocky star was in London's West End for the premiere of The Expendables which he wrote, directed and appears in.

The film boasts a stunning array of muscle including Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Arnold Swarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

The plot centres on a group of ex-SAS soldiers who battle an evil drugs baron.

Stallone, 64, said: "Every generation has to have a hero and this generation has the superhero, it's evolved. But after Avatar it's like, 'Stop, let's go back to basics'.

"Young men need good examples, role models. I know I do, and I hope I might be one of the influences on young guys."

The veteran action star was delighted to see British military officers in uniform on the red carpet as the premiere was supporting military charity The ForceSelect Foundation.

Stallone marched around a group of guards in bearskin hats and tried to jump up to match their height.

He was also amused to hear the crowd filling Leicester Square cheer "Rocky! Rocky!".

He laughed: "Unbelievable - These guys weren't even born."

Stallone claimed the formula for the ultimate action movie was "simple - heart, energy and humour".

He added: "But I forgot the humour in Rambo - but heart and energy."

Statham and Lundgren also attended the premiere and were full of praise for their director and co-star.

British actor Statham said: "A lot of the people you put on a pedestal, these big celebrities, they're not everything you expect.

"But he's everything you hoped him to be. He's twice the man, he's so funny, and it's a privilege to meet somebody like that. He's the best man to take to the boozer."

Lundgren said: "He's pretty tough and he's pretty talented. I worked with him before on Rocky IV 25 years ago. I like working with him."

© Press Association