Everyone, fanboys or no, appreciates the fact that Sylvester Stallone has his hand on the pulse of his audience. When working on the first installment of "The Expendables", he seemed to cast the picture based on what fans wanted to see, he fired 50 Cent when his casting was met with hostility, and he did heavy duty work in the editing room to make sure the PG-13 he was shooting for became a last-minute R rating. He also made a film that was a massive show of bland fan service, absent of the nuance or savagery that powered "Rocky Balboa" and "Rambo", even refusing to stay true to his title by keeping every single hero alive. Though Stallone isn't in the director's chair this time, it looks like he's done it again, flip-flopping on the rating for a film that's already been shot despite previous comments to the contrary.
Stallone tells the obviously-unbiased StalloneZone (via Bleeding Cool), "After taking in all the odd rumors and hearsay, 'EXPENDABLES II' is an R." If by odd rumors he means quotes from his mouth, then he's being accurate, as he previously said, "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." There was the suggestion that the second film would carry a PG-13 rating to appease co-star Chuck Norris, who claimed he wouldn't do the movie with the type of violence and language suggested because he wanted all his fans to see it. Looks like Stallone and company called his bluff, a sneaky way of informing Norris that he has no unironic fans under seventeen. Shove it, Norris!
The first "Expendables", with it's R-rating, grossed $274 million worldwide. Though that rating, which fans considered hard-fought, was a compromise of sorts, as it was clear that CGI blood was added later, with foul language coming from overdubs and sloppy alternate takes. Given that "The Expendables II" (Sly's Roman numerals, not ours) was shot and wrapped with the PG-13 rumors running rampant, it wouldn't be a surprise to see if that were the case again. The production's lack of foresight is especially surprising considering that 2012 has already hosted seven R-rated number one movies, with plenty more to come. Sly sure seems like he's hedging his bets, but he comes across more like an old man behind the times. "The Expendables II" opens August 17th.