Industries & Festivals, Talks & Interviews — February 16, 2012 at 4:31 am

EXCLUSIVE: Film industry people share opinions on “Expendables 2”

Ever since the news about “Expendables 2” going PG-13 appeared, a lot of people freely expressed their thoughts on such move, and almost all of these thoughts were negative at least.

Me, also being a fan of the franchise, I can understand all the anger, however I would not be quickly adding myself to those boycotting the film completely – I prefer seeing the finished product first, and then commenting on it. Now, first Expendables film was rated “R”. What does “R” mean?

Check below for the ratings explanation and also some comments from real film professionals, as they express their opinions on “Expendables 2” exclusively for BZFilm.

RATINGS EXPLANATION

R — Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.

Great. Now, with this in mind, “Expendables 2” will be rated “PG-13”, as it was reported a number of times. And PG-13 means…

PG-13 — Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. A PG-13 rating is a sterner warning by the Rating Board to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them. A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. The theme of the motion picture by itself will not result in a rating greater than PG-13, although depictions of activities related to a mature theme may result in a restricted rating for the motion picture. Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.

Okay, great. I still wonder why “the people upstairs” did not give “Expendables 2” at least a “NC-17” rating… In fact, I think some people just had wrong expectations about “Expendables 2”, believing this “should be the biggest, the best action movie of all time”, so that’s the core of rage that has been expressed regarding the PG-13 rating. Maybe “Expendables 2” should be taken for what it is?

Anyway, after reading all the comments about the film, which has not even been released yet, I’ve decided to ask some people that I know, who know a thing or two about action movies, what they think about this whole situation. Will the “PG-13” rating hurt the film? What should be expected?

ACTION STARS AND DIRECTORS HAVE THEIR SAY

Actor/Stuntman/Writer Geoff Meed, who could recently be seen alongside Dwayne Johnson in “Fast Five”, believes going for a PG-13 rating would have a positive impact on “Expendables 2”. He agrees, that the “lower” rating will help bring more audience to see the movie.

“I dislike excessive gore for the sake of it. I feel if it helps the emotional content of a scene to signify the pain, or further the story, it’s okay. But I can’t stand watching heads explode, and legs being blown off merely for the “oh, gross out” reactions”, he told BZFilm.

“With Stallone and Schwarzenegger being over 60, there there has not been in my opinion, ANYONE that has come close to being the action stars like those two were in their heyday. There were plenty, who tried and failed. So until Sly and Arnold are there, I’ll watch those guys any day.”

 

director david worthCult movie director David Worth (KickBoxer, Bloodsport), who helped young Jean-Claude Van Damme kickstart his career, believes the ratings will not have much of an impact on a movie such as “Expendables 2”. As he told BZFilm, there are some examples of the same applied strategy to big blockbusters, and it worked out just fine.

“Personally, I do not think that it’s going to make that much of a difference. “Die Hard 4″ had to do the same thing and I do not think that the fans were disappointed,” he said. “We always need to remember – it’s called “Show Business”, not “Show Art”. The business is what enables a 60 year old action star to keep on delivering the thrills to his fans”.

“Nu Image/Millenium producer Avi Lerner had to put up a lot of money to make this sequel. So, in order to guarantee that Mr. Lerner will get all of that money back, as well as profit, means having to go for the “PG-13” rating instead of “R”, Worth explained.

“And Stallone of course had a very long, exciting and profitable career as have many of the action co-stars of “Expendables 2″. I know that when the film is released, I will be one of the first in line to see it.”

Worth also spoke nicely of Van Damme himself, who, as we know, is portraying a vicious villain in the “Expendables” sequel.

“I am glad to see JCVD playing a bad guy in the film, I am thriller that the young man who I helped to launch many years ago in “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer” is now part of a huge blockbuster.”

 

producer fabio soldaniFilm producer Fabio Soldani expressed his opinion on “Expendables 2”, saying that “producers are not afraid to lose the audience”. Speaking to BZFilm, Soldani noted that “it all depends on promotion of the film, and advertising”.

“We have to remember, that “Expendables 2” is not a “Hatchet”-type movie or some straight to dvd product. It’s a huge blockbuster with a huge money behind to promote it,” he said. “There are huge stars involved in the film, and we can’t forget many basic ‘popcorn eaters’ will go there to see the movie, plenty kids will go as well. So I think they will make even bigger profits, no matter what”.

Soldani went on, by bringing up an example why the ratings have an impact on a particular film.

“Kane Hodder (horror film actor) is not a real actor, he’s mostly known as the stunt man behind the mask. Even though he has a cult following all over the world and there are many people who consider him a hero. They do not care about Brad Pitt and his movies but they would do everything to support Kane. Then why Brad Pitt is a highly paid Hollywood star known everywhere in the world? Because masses love him and want him. And even the biggest group of low budget movie fanatics can’t fight the masses and win. There is just way too many of them. And they are mostly the target of movies like Expendables”.

 

director david a priorVeteran movie director David A. Prior, who brought us such classic action movies as “Deadly Prey” believes the ratings will not hurt the film. According to Prior, “the film will still make a fortune, and that’s what it was intended to do”.

“And I promise you, at some point, they will release an “R” rated or “Unrated” version on DVD, and make even more money”, Prior told BZFilm.

*Note: It would have been great if there would be a separate “R” version or “Unrated” version of “Expendables 2” released, as Prior said.

This, in my opinion, would satisfy everybody. Since we already had the extended cut of “Expendables”, I believe they could have done the same with the sequel.

 

The star of “Ip Man 2”, Darren Shahlavi believes the “Expendables 2” should not be rated PG-13, since, according to him, the first film was “R” and it made a lot of money, which should have meant going with the same formula for the second film. He agrees however, that there are some issues, that should be taken into account.

“The first “Expendables” film made a lot of money, it was a breath of fresh air,” Shahlavi said to BZFilm. “This is show-business however, and we are always bound by our restrictions, sometimes taking out some gratuitous violence for the sake of a rating to get your movie seen by a wider audience isn’t such a bad thing”.

“I have friends who have worked on “Expendables 2″, and I hope it does well at the box office, which is great for us all,” he noted. “And anyone who says they will boycott the film – they will be there lining up with all the rest of us!”

 

90s action star and martial arts expert Loren Avedon believes the rating itself is not that important, yet he agrees that today it is all about money.

“I remember seeing one of the ads for the first Expendables film, and it said – this cast will never be seen again in a movie,” he told BZFilm. “As you can see now, they found a way.”

He added that that Expendables 2 just might be the last film in the series, since the biggest name players in the film are not getting any younger.



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