Ugo Movieblog is reporting, based on an interview with The Expendables producer Avi Lerner, that the new Sly Stallone directed testosterone flick might end up as a hard…PG-13?
With the mad scramble in Hollywood to pick up the teen crowd, though, I’m not sure that “test” will be 100% fair. I’d think the PG-13 cut would have to bomb before the money-conscious studio would really consider an R-Rated release regardless of how good the harder cut is. Maybe I’m just paranoid.
There is another issue at play here, though, that really has me worried. As we learned with the Live Free or Die Hard R-Rated DVD release, you can’t just inject arbitrary language and tasteless gore into a PG-13 movie and expect it to be the R-rated badass film we all hope for. No, the best “R” action films (including the original Die Hard) incorporated the hardcore violence, language, and subject matter as an integral part of their plots, characters, and stories.
If they’re shooting The Expendables in a way that could be cut and released as a PG-13 film, I’m 100% concerned that they’re not going whole-hog to shoot the most badass movie they can.
And when you’ve got a cast that includes Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’d better go all out with the badass.
I know there will be a lot of people who argue that you can be just as badass in a PG-13 film as an “R” (they might call out The Dark Knight as a persuasive example), but this one might be a little different. Everything we’ve seen so far makes me think this is going for old-school 80′s action, and almost all of those films were R-rated. The language, the swagger, and the brute force are ingrained in this genre’s DNA, and I really hope we end up getting a film that respects that simple fact.
We’ll have to wait and see. I’m hoping this quote was taken out of context. I hope they’re shooting for an unabashed ”R,” and this PG-13 idea is just a side thought that will go quietly away. I doubt it. There’s a lot of money to be had.