Countless people around the Interwebz were stirred up into a virtual riot (pun intended) in the early goings of 2012, when word got out that The Expendables 2 - a macho action throwback flick that writer/star Sylvester Stallone has described as a "Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing" - was shaping up to be a PG-13 Rated affair, due largely to co-star Chuck Norris objecting to the "hardcore language" present in Stallone's script draft.
While Stallone was fairly quick to confirm that rumor as being true rather than the result of a mistranslation, the beefy sexagenarian has since back-peddled on his claim. Sly is now reported as having said that the sequel to The Expendables will indeed be an R-Rated affair, like its predecessor - not to mention the innumerable manly action titles of the 1980s and 90s that both flicks emulate.
According to the Stallone Zone (a generally reliable source of information), Sly issued the following succinct statement on the matter:
"After taking in all the odd rumors and hearsay, EXPENDABLES II is an R.”
Bear in mind, this news does not mean that Norris' wishes for The Expendables 2 to not feature loads of vulgar language is being ignored. The film could be ready to earn an R rating primarily for grisly action and graphic violence, rather than for featuring tons of f-bombs and similar "hardcore" curses - which would allow for Norris' demand(s) to still be satisfied. Either way, it's enough of a win situation for everyone else.
It is easy (and not entirely unfair) to nitpick and point out that Stallone shoulders more than his fair share of responsibility for the aforementioned "odd rumors and hearsay" concerning The Expendables 2, seeing how he was the one who said the PG-13 Rating rumor is legit. Most movie fans probably won't dwell on that issue much, as they will be simply be glad to hear that The Expendables 2 isn't going to be a "filtered" or "cleaner" action romp - but instead, is positioned to deliver all the brutal violence and unfiltered carnage that fans have been anticipating.
That's not to say than an R-Rating is equivalent to a guarantee of quality, as it will ultimately be Stallone's script work (and The Expendables 2 helmer Simon West's directorial choices) that dictates whether or not this flick truly is the end-all of entertaining, hard-hitting, testosterone-fueled cinematic events. As evidenced by recent titles ranging from most of the Saw sequels to the Conan the Barbarian reboot, simply being a hard R-Rated flick isn't at all the same as being a good film.
If nothing else, the sheer overabundance of legendary movie badasses like Stallone, Norris, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean-Claude Van Damme (among numerous others) appearing in The Expendables 2 suggests this flick could indeed end up being worth all the ratings halabaloo.
The Expendables 2 hits theaters in the U.S. on August 17th, 2012.