"The Expendables 2" is coming, and this time....bring the kids! Yesterday, word started being kicked around that the upcoming beefcake sequel was possibly going to be given a safe and friendly PG-13 rating due to the whims of the sensitive Chuck Norris, who apparently doesn't like cussing. Could it be true? Well, the answer is yes.
The folks over at AICN reached out to Sylvester Stallone to weigh in the on the rumor and he confirmed, you'll be able to bring your little sister with you: "Harry, 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...Sly."
While on the face of it, this seems to be a distinct turn away from the tone and style of the very films that Stallone and company are riffing on in this franchise -- namely, brainless and bloody '80s action movies -- let's just remember a couple of things. Firstly, the MPAA has far less problems with people getting killed than hearing F-bombs, so the extent to which the explosions will be dialed back is likely not all that much -- it's just that you won't see much in the way of gore or blood (though there wasn't much of that anyway in "The Expendables"). Secondly, these movies are big, dumb cartoons and a PG-13 rating isn't going to take away from any gritty realism. These are spectacles first and foremost, and Stallone should still be able to deliver silly action the way he (mostly) intended.
It's all about maximizing that opening box office wekeend, and if a PG-13 means they can pack more teenage boys in the theater (who this is made for anyway), that's the road they'll go down. This is less about it being Norris' "fault" than being a statement on the multiplex climate.
Anyway, we'll see how clean it is when "The Expendables 2" opens on August 17th.