‘Expendables 3′ to Be Rated PG-13; Stallone Discusses the Film’s Tone

Published 11 months ago by

expendables 3 rating Expendables 3 to Be Rated PG 13; Stallone Discusses the Films Tone

The Expendables 3 unites the retro action stars of previous installments – Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, and so on – with such fellow old-timers as Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Antonio Banderas. However, in a self-admitted bid to keep up with the times – an age where younger, finely-chiseled, superheroes dominate the big screen – this new Expendables installment will be rated PG-13, according to co-writer/lead Stallone. This comes after Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s recent non-Expendables vehicles (Bullet to the Head, Grudge Match, Sabotage) were by and large ignored at the box office, while their team-up Escape Plan was an overseas hit, yet all but flopped here in the States.

The simple truth is that neither of them are big draws for their name alone anymore – though, it’s a different story when brand appeal comes into play. The first two Expendables movies were pretty lucrative, having grossed more than half a billion worldwide combined. Expendables 3, as mentioned before, incorporates even more big screen badasses into the mix, in addition to such youngsters as real-life fighting champs Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz – who could potentially broaden the franchise’s appeal even further.

While promoting this next Expendables installment at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (via Deadline), Stallone explained how the decision to go PG-13 was based on the same logic:

“We want to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.”

You might recall that, two years ago, there was some back and forth in public, where it concerned the rating for Expendables 2; that was before the film ultimately landed an R for graphic violence – not bad language, per costar Chuck Norris’ wishes. Make of that what you will.

expendables 3 tone stallone Expendables 3 to Be Rated PG 13; Stallone Discusses the Films Tone

Sly Stallone and Chuck Norris in ‘The Expendables 2′

In truth, by today’s standards, the Expendables sequel – and, to a lesser degree, its predecessor – was close to PG-13 anyway. It was the bloodshed (which, in no small amount, was digitally-rendered) that pushed that movie beyond the gunfire and killings in stuff like the Dark Knight trilogy and recent James Bond films. Having said that, there was previously reason to think that Expendables 3 might up the ante, in terms of the rawness of the action. After all, the film was co-written by Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger, who also penned the violent (with the occasional brutal piece of killing) throwback action/thriller Olympus Has Fallen; not to mention, the director this round was Patrick Hughes, who broke out making the R-Rated neo-Western Red Hill, back in 2010.

Stallone commented on the tone for Expendables 3, during his (and his costars’) Cannes visit:

“With the first one, I didn’t know which direction to go. It was experimental, more dramatic and heavier. In the second one, I think we went too far in the comedy and one liners. [For the third film] I realized we should get back to being more dramatic. When men and women know each other, there’s a kind of human comedy, not jokes, but when the action starts I don’t like to do jokes. So, I believe we finally got it right on the third one. It’s kind of like marriage.”

expendables 3 posters Expendables 3 to Be Rated PG 13; Stallone Discusses the Films Tone

Expendables 3, it seems, will be lighter on the cheekiness than its predecessor, which at times boarded on being a really violent Hot Shots! film, more than anything (case in point: it featured Chuck Norris making a Chuck Norris joke and Bruce Willis stealing Arnold’s classic one-liner) – though, this next installment may not be quite as po-faced as the original Expendables, either.

There’s something a tad ironic about how, in an age where rebooted properties such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are going darker than past live-action installments, the veterans of gung ho 1980s and ’90s shoot-em-up cinema are going relatively “softer” than before. C’est la vie, it seems.


The Expendables 3 opens in U.S. theaters on August 15th, 2014.

Source: Deadline

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  1. You see he says he went too far in the “comedy” but I didnt laugh once.
    If only these movies were like Hot Fuzz.

    • I know! I was confused by the article calling it “a really violent Hot Shots! film” because the few poorly written one liners in the Expendables 2 are nothing compared to the classic comedy Hot Shots!

      • and I loved Hot Fuzz :D

      • Well, keep in mind – I didn’t say it was anywhere near as funny as a Hot Shots film. ;-)

        • @sandy – ok, I’ll allow it…but The Expendables could benefit from a Lloyd Bridges type of character.

  2. Interesting. We’ll see if it’ll work out for them. I saw the first on DVD and went with a group of guys for the second. I wasn’t planning on seeing the third and without an R-rating, I’ll probably avoid it for sure.

    • Yea but now adays a PG13 is what R use to be back in the day. You really have to drop nothing but F bombs etc to hit that R rating. Surprisingly they have gotten pretty laxed with that

      • Go watch Predator, Die Hard, Commando, Rambo II and then watch TDK, any FF movie etc and then tell me PG-13 now is same as R was back in the day… I mean that comment was so … that it’s insulting.

        • I couldn’t have said it better.

        • how is Die Hard or predator any different than the PG13 movies now adays? Ill even throw in Aliens. I actually cant even think of a REAL action movie that has come out that even holds a candle to the old action flicks.
          All I was saying is that they are abit more laxed now than they were back then. It seems almost like you need nudity to push it over that edge to get the R now adays.
          But the expendables is the closest we have to the old style movies anyways. Those were in a league of their own in cinematic history. “Action” movies now adays are more geared toward family fun than real action or as they are known as.. Man Movies. So its really hardy to compare them anyways. But I get what you are saying.

          • Ugh! In a modern PG-13, you could never show the amount of blood show in Die Hard or Aliens — those squibs that explode blood in Die Hard, the Japanese CEO’s headshot, the chest burster — are you kidding me, guy?

            If anything the PG-13 allows LESS violence than it used to. Check out the original Red Dawn — that would easily be R today, not a hard R but an R, nonetheless.

          • OMG! Also in Predator, the skinned soldiers in Predator and the spine being ripped out, Jesse Ventura’s chest exploding, Bill Duke’s head exploding — yeah soooo PG-13!

  3. If Edgar Wright directed one of these films, the mix of action, comedy and character development would be superb. That guy works great with charismatic leads such as many included in this film.

  4. I have been wanting to see expendables but rated r is a bit too much. Going to see it now
    So yipee kay!

  5. I actually laughed countless times while watching Expendables 2.

    the one liners were terrific especially when Statham said: “I now pronounce you man and KNIFE!”

    other one liners that were hilarious:
    “My shoe’s bigger than this car!”
    “Now you put on your luck ring?”
    “If I don’t get this back your ass is terminated!”

  6. “Time to wrap this up!”

    “Rest in pieces!”

    • “who’s next, Rambo ?”

      SLY :”that thing belongs in the museum”
      ARNOLD :”like all of us”

  7. Is it just me or is anyone else baffled at the quality of spellcheck/word usage from these “writers”? “The simple truth is that neither of them are big draws for their name along anymore”. “Alone” bro!

    • My bad – thanks for the catch!

  8. Alrighty. That means I’ll skip it in the theater. There better be an unrated home release with all badassery restored.

    • p.s.: Red Hill is a great flick. Go watch it!

    • There likely will be an unrated version released; but don’t be suprised if this doesn’t get released (or even announced) unitl6 months to a year later, forcing a double-dip choice on folks.

      And at that point, the “next generation” of kids all over America, from 5-17 will be able to watch it at home (or at their friends house if their folks monitor their viewing). We owe that to them after all..

  9. It felt like 75% of the people in the theater I attended were laughing at the jokes/one-liners/cheekiness in ‘Expendables 2′. And if ‘EX3′ is PG-13, I guess the digitally-enhanced bloody kills will be gone. Oh well, I was looking forward to over-the-top… we’ll see if they can still pull it off.

  10. They should just do two versions, one for cinema and a special R version for Blu Ray…

  11. The first two films were rated 12 here in France, as well as the last Rambo (which was really violent) so it doesn’t make much of a difference for me! I would also love to see a real trailer for this!

  12. Escape Plan was a great movie. I thought both Stallone and Arnold were great in it.

    • Unfortunately it tanked badly.

      Budget: $50 Million
      US Box Office: $24 Million

      Sure, with international box office numbers and home video releases they will break even or even make a buck or two, but the numbers for successful movies look a lot different than that.

    • i thought arnold was better in EP than the last stand. i agree EP was a good flick.

  13. Another kids’ action movie? No, thanks.

  14. Not gonna lie, kinda disappointed. Still gonna see it though :)

  15. A real bummer. I was hoping it would be rated r. But I’ve seen good action films that were pg13 that had some of the stars from Expendables 3. Harrison ford did another Jack Ryan movie after patriot games. It was clear and present danger and they made it pg13 instead of r since they wanted to up the ante after patriot games which was rated r. He did the fugitive and Indiana jones 3 and 4 which were pg13. Arnold did last action hero and 6th day which were pg13. Stallone did grudge match this year and that was pg13. He also did judge dredd which was rated r had the pg13 effect as well as Expendables 2 even though that was rated r. Wesley Snipes did the sequel to the fugitive which was pg13 and Antonio Banderas did the mask of zorro. So I hope the film turns out well and helps restore Mel Gibson’s reputation as a good actor and director and help him to make more good films that don’t flop at the box office same for Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, etc. I hope this film does well and makes another worthy sequel. Stallone is a good actor and a good writer so I’m sure he can come up with something next time around. I wish them all luck getting this film made. Even though I’m not crazy for the pg 13 rating, I still would like to see it. Beats watching those stupid superhero movies.

    • the fact that these actors make pg13 movies isn’t the issue – because you’re right, a lot of the ones you mentioned are pretty good flicks. the issue (for me anyway) is that whether you like it or not, the expendables “property” is a rated r property, and the ONLY reason that they are moving towards a pg13 rating is to make money, which (again – to me) is just selling out. the same thing happened with die hard, avp, terminator, total recall, and robocop and the US box office returns on those movies were all crap (with the possible exception of die hard). if you’re going to make a movie to make money – cool…more power to you. but don’t take something that is established and change it just to make more money and then tell us you’re just doing it to “join that club for a while.” there are plenty of movies for the younger/pg13 generation – stop taking away the stuff for all of us crotchety old guys that like our ultra-violence with a side of stupid humor. i hope everyone that does end up seeing this enjoys it, but i’ll pass. maybe i’ll check out “stop, or my mom will shoot” again.

  16. I don’t get what the big deal about an R rating is. They don’t show as much blood and hold back on the f-bombs. Big fricken deal. Long as we get cool action sequences, awesome gun play, and an explosion every 20 minutes or so it will be fine.

  17. “Dark & violent” doesn’t translate to PG-13 rating.

    the first 2 films were throwback 80s action tribute. I guess it means they’ll digitally erased all the blood & gory stuff.

    the one liners were terrific.

  18. The original tent movie was considered pretty dark for it’s time

  19. how could they leave out keifer sutherland ?
    i would of also like to have seen
    the rock , tom hanks from his saving private ryan character, sean connery,
    nic cage as the bad guy, michael keaton,samuel mother fn jackson as a rip off of nic furry,bill goldberg,hulk hogan,billy banks, and ralph mother fn machio the karate kid himself.

  20. Yea…no R rating…I’m out. Cannot believe Sly wussed out and caved.

  21. this movie is going to released on 15 August but some torrent sites are providing link to download The Expendables 3, How it is possible?