“The Expendables 2″ Will Be PG-13… Thanks To Chuck Norris
When Sylvester Stallone began working on "The Expendables", he was wanting to make a film that was a throw back to the classic 80s action films that he and several of his co-stars were famous for. Like those movies, "The Expendables" was a hard "R" rating given the graphic violence and language. With "The Expendables 2" coming out this summer, Stallone wanted some of the action stars for this one that were not willing or able to be in the first film, like Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Since the casting of Norris, rumors have been going around that the tone of the film would be turned down to accommodate Norris' conservative views. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your views, those rumors proved to be true.
In order to secure Norris for the new film, some demands had to be met, including one that reduced the vulgarity, allowing for a lower rating and a younger audience. A similar decision was made when making "Live Free or Die Hard", a decision that was met with initial negative reactions. In the long run, "Live Free or Die Hard" was a box office smash owing to the broader audience, but many fans felt it didn't live up to the previous "R" rated films. In reaction to the early criticisms of the lower rating, Sylvester Stallone reportedly wrote to Harry Knowles, founder of the webiste Aint It Cool News, to address the concerns,
"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...Sly"
I enjoyed the first film for what it was. It wasn't a great film, but it was a fun action movie. When they did this with the Die Hard series, I was upset to the point that I didn't see "Live Free or Die Hard" in the theater, believing it to be inferior to the previous films. When it was released on DVD I finally watched it and found my concerns to be justified. When the films you are doing a throw back to were rated "R", its only natural to make your film "R" as well. Part of what made these films iconic was the over-the-top bloody action and classic lines, many of which used vulgarity. When you reduce the rating on a "Die Hard" movie, John McClane can't even use his catchphrase! I really do not think Chuck Norris is a big enough star at almost 72-years-old to warrant altering the entire tone of the film to accomodate him. I just hate the idea that a movie can have bloody violence and be PG-13, but you say the "F-word" and that gets you the "R" rating. Strange priorties we have as a society.