Considering that The Expendables 2 will feature a who's who of macho male action icons, be chock-full of explosion-happy set pieces, and aims to embrace the model of testosterone-fueled blockbuster romps that were all the rage in the 1980s and '90s - even more so than the first film - it is assumed that this would be a very hard R-Rated movie, right?
Well, apparently that might not be the case after all, as the screenplay for the Expendables sequel is said to have been watered down to a PG-13 Rating, thanks to (bizarre though it may seem at first) co-star Chuck Norris.
Norris was interviewed recently by the Polish paper Kazeta. That story was thereafter translated by Expendables Premiere into English, which fished out a comment from the Walker, Texas Ranger actor about how "playing in this movie was a lot of fun. I play a super hero, who saves everybody's life" - along with the following tidbit:
"In Expendables 2, there was a lot of vulgar dialogue in the screenplay. For this reason, many young people wouldn't be able to watch this. But I don't play in movies like this. Due to that I said I won't be a part of that if the hardcore language is not erased. Producers accepted my conditions and the movie will be classified in the category of PG-13."
Now, Norris is not at all shy when it comes to letting people know about his Conservative outlook; so, the idea of him demanding that Expendables 2 not feature an excess of f-bombs isn't so ridiculous. Seeing how star/co-writer Sylvester Stallone was reportedly very determined to get just about every aging, muscle-bound badass of the silver screen onboard for the second Expendables, it's certainly possible he might've agreed to remove some of the more naughty language from the film's screenplay, in order to snag Norris.
That said: seeing how the above quote was translated from English into Polish and then back again, some errors might've popped up, in the process. Hence, Norris might've actually meant that Expendables 2 just won't feature anything worse than PG-13 Rated language - as opposed to the film itself being tailor-fit for anything lower than an R-Rating, as a whole (violence included).
[Update: Stallone confirmed the PG-13 rating with AICN but promises the film will deliver on the action. If the overall movie is better than the first and the action stars do what they do best, then it won't matter in the end. Below is Sly's quote.]
"...the film is fantastic with Van Damme turning in an inspired performance... Our final battle is one for the ages. The PG13 rumor is true, but before your readers pass judgement, trust me when I say this film is LARGE in every way and delivers on every level. This movie touches on many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible, BUT, fear not, this Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing will not leave anyone hungry..."
For the time being (and for the sake of discussion) let's just assume that Expendables 2 is going to be Rated PG-13. Is that, per se, a bad thing?
Well, on the one hand, studio heads should like the idea; after all, PG-13 movies tend to be much more lucrative than R-Rated films. Plus, seeing how a good chunk of the blood and guts spilled in the first Expendables flick was either CGI or digitally-rendered, it probably wouldn't require an extremely different filmmaking approach to produce a PG-13 sequel. Not to mention, naughty language wasn't really that big an aspect of the first Expendables movie, anyway.
However, graphic violence and cursing is a big part of many decades-old action classics (ex. Rambo, Commando, Die Hard, etc.), so for Expendables 2 to truly be a fitting homage to those kind of movies, it should arguably feature plenty of both. Otherwise, it seems to defeat the purpose of making an action movie throwback in the first place.
What do you think? Are you cool with the idea of The Expendables 2 being Rated PG-13? Or will you be skipping the theatrical cut of the film if it's anything less than R-Rated?
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