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PG Or Not PG?


Aug 15, 2007
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So I was reading the following on the Empire blog and was wondering what people thought about it:

While sitting at home on the weekend, idly flipping through channels in the grip of a listless Sunday stupor, I stumbled across perennial Arnie classic Total Recall. With little else to do and no pressing urge to leave the loving embrace of my couch, I opted to stick it out, if only for the bit where Benny the cab driver gets drilled through the chest while Schwarzenegger screams “SCREW YOU!” Anyway, somewhere between watching a scientist get impaled through the face with a metal spike and Michael Ironside having his arms ripped off by an ascending lift, I found myself quite taken aback by the level of unapologetic onscreen violence. I was faintly appalled and not at Paul Verhoeven or even at the lax eighties censors but rather at myself. Harcore gore junkie though I once was, after years of sanitised, PG-friendly thrillers where gunshot wounds rarely produce no more than a token trickle and “****” is limited to a handful of non-sexual, exclamatory instances, it appears that I’ve lost the stomach for good old 18-rated action romps.

And who could blame me? Since Pirates Of The Caribbean proved that broad appeal works box office magic, you’ve had to look pretty hard to find an American action flick that dares to alienate younger viewers. The R-rating or (dare we say it) the dreaded NC-17 have become anathema for such films in the States, leading to a bunch of watered-down 12s and 15s trickling onto UK screens. It’s sound business sense to be sure, but soulless pandering to thirteen-year-olds (who are probably out earning their ASBOs by happy-slapping grannies and unlikely to be fazed by the odd spot of blood) doesn’t do the genre any favours. Think of the great action films of yore: Rambo, Die Hard , Aliens, Commando, Predator and indeed any pre-1993 Arnie film that is neither a comedy nor Raw Deal. Do we really think these would have been half as much fun with the censors’ millstone weighing heavy about their necks?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a film needs gore to be good - you just have to look at the lamentable trend of gorno films to see that the one by no means guarantees the latter – but I do think our action films lost some of their heart when the decision was made to target a younger audience. Just watch the ‘unrated’ DVD of Die Hard 4.0 to see what I mean. The basic film’s the same (like it or not) but with the swearing and ‘adult content’ reinstated it feels 100% more like a Die Hard movie than it did before, right down to the restored Yippee-ki-yay expletive at the end.

I say bring back swearing, bring back gratuitous violence and out with the new breed of squeaky clean actioners. We want exploding heads, three-breasted mutants, bullet-riddled bodies and “****” scattered through every sentence like punctuation. It may not be big or clever but dammit these films are the better for it!

I totally agree, and have for some time. Die Hard, as was mentioned, was the perfect example of this crap.
Recent horror movies too have shied away from the R-rating to a wimpy PG-13, just imagine if Silence Of The Lambs were rated G.

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