Rounding up a stable of old school action stars, "The Expendables" was touted as a macho return to old school action moviemaking, and came stamped with an R-rating, delivering all the explosions and cussing (though strangely, none of the gratuitous nudity) of classic shoot 'em ups. And so, for the "The Expendables 2," Sylvester Stallone raised the stakes. He rounded up even more faces (including Jean-Claude Van Damme) some young talent (Liam Hemsworth) and snagged Simon West, director of "Con Air" fame, to shoot the thing. But will the demands of Chuck Norris actually find the testosterone-filled movie holding itself back?
According to an interview Norris himself recently did in the Polish paper Gazeta, the answer is yes. The folks over at Expendables Premiere (via Arrow In The Head) have done the translating and it will be disheartening, especially to those who hold up the bearded star as some sort of action icon. "In 'Expendables 2,' there was a lot of vulgar dialogue in the screenplay. Fot this reason, many young people wouldn't be able to watch this. But I don't play in movies like this," Norris explained. "Due to that I said I won't be a part of that if the hardcore language is not ereased. Producers accepted my conditions and the movie will be classified in the category of PG-13."
Frankly, this isn't too much of a surprise. Norris has always been the tamest of the crew of elderly action stars, with his patriotic, flag waving movies giving him plenty of opportunities to save America and blow shit up, but he was never one to drop too many f-bombs. And being the hard rightwinger that is, his aversion to off-color material and his embrace of wholesome values only seems to have increased over the years. Now, whether or not the Norris name has enough power to have sway over the rating and cut of an entire movie remains to be seen. But it's interesting that, just like the MPAA, it's words and not heads exploding that seem to be of the most concern to the actor.
So, will "The Expendables 2" go out as a PG-13 movie? Are the producers trying to snag the post-"Hunger Games" Hemsworth fanbase? Guess we'll find out soon enough, and just remember, last time around an even more violent cut of "The Expendables" was eventually released on DVD/BluRay and we wouldn't be too surprised to see them drop a santized version of the sequel in theaters followed by a more salty version later on to watch at home. So take that you motherlover!
But through all of this, we'll always have "Walker, Texas Ranger." "The Expendables 2" clean or not, hits on August 17th.