Ryan Villiers is a chainsaw-wielding sculptor who can look at Rambo and see a little bit of himself.
In a manner of speaking, of course.
Villiers is an Edmonton wood carver whose latest creation depicts the Sylvester Stallone character John Rambo.
The Western red cedar statue, standing almost seven feet tall, towers outside the town hall in Hope, B.C., where 1982's First Blood movie was filmed almost 40 years ago.
Villiers, a full-time chainsaw carver for the last two years, completed the finely detailed statue — right down to the wrinkled pants and bullet belt — in his garage over the course of two sleepless, stress-filled months.
He is ecstatic with the finished product and downright delighted over an Instagram shout-out he got from Sly Stallone himself.
"He was happy that he finally got a statue where the [movie] was filmed at. He was very proud to see it and he tagged me on his Instagram account," Villiers told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Thursday.
"That's mind-blowing. I'm still trying to absorb that one."
The Rambo job came to Villiers after he was approached by one of Hope's tourism officials during last summer's chainsaw carving competition, an international event that takes place once every two years.
The mountain municipality, 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, is dubbed the Chainsaw Carving Capital, both for the competition and for the more than 80 carvings — mostly wildlife statues of eagles, mountain sheep, bears and cougars — displayed around the town centre.
Hope is also proud of its "Hollywood North" reputation, even offering a Rambo Walking Tour.
The Rambo statue neatly ties the two together.
Which is not to say it came together neatly, Villiers said.
Villiers's toolkit includes about a half-dozen different sized chainshaws, Dremel tools and lots of sandpaper. None of these were able to save Rambo's first head.
"I had to do his head twice," Villiers said. "I ran into some kind of a dry rot in the wood, I couldn't dial in his eyelids and they kept flaking off.
"Off with his head, I put a new one on. And, oh, I was happy that one worked out."
Another challenge involved getting the machine-gun toting character's body position right while working from two-dimensional images.
Villiers's solution? Strike a pose.
"I set up a big, long mirror in my garage where I would stand like him in his body position and I'd get a better angle of where the shoulders and arms should be," he said.
"I scaled his whole body, minus the muscles, off my proportions.There's a little bit of me in that sculpture."