X Certificate

Today I learned that The Expendables II is to have a PG13 certificate. Now I’ve not seen its prequel, but I have a vague recolection of the trailer, it seems it was a 15 cert film, I’ve read the films plot summary on LoveFilm

… skilled combat vets … mercenaries … covert operator … deadly web of deceit … every weapon at their disposal … punish the guilty … blistering action-packed thriller …


and from the cast list I recognised certain names …

Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger

… so I’d expect it to be a moderately violent film. Sorry, I’ll correct myself there: I’d be extremely suprised if it wasn’t really quite a violent film. In fact if it wasn’t I’d probebly want my money back.

It wasn’t so many years back that anything the BBFC considered to contain even the briefest episodes of the twin demons of Sex and Violence would be slapped with an X Certificate.

It seems times have changed. From the review I heard today, it seems The Expendables II has been awarded a PG13 because you don’t see limbs flying off and blood being splattered everywhere. My guess is you still see people being riddled with bullets, baddies spasming like a school boy in a mock playground battle as he is strafed with imaginary lead, and I feel reasonably confident the body count will be high. But I guess little Jonny has long been sanitised by Killzone 1, Halo 2, Rresident Evil 3, and Call Of Duty 4 on their Xbox36DSii console and is entirely immune to the thought of human mutilation, indiscriminate slaughter and death. (You might guess, unlike most poeple who masturbate too much, I’m not into computer games.) All this is now worth but a PG13.

This got me wondering about sex in films.

As the acceptance of violence increases, so it seems we are also becoming more blasé about sexual imagery. I wonder, for example, what percentage of print and TV adds use sex as a hook: it is surely significant. In cinema, it was only a few short decades ago that a scene would conclude with an embrace and a kiss, at which point the camera would pan out of the window. Everyone knew the couple were getting jiggy, but the audience didn’t need their noses rubbed in the wet patch on the sheets. These days we think nothing of naked male cheeks bobbing up and down between air brushed thighs, as long as the sheets are tastefully placed when we cut to the morning.

There’s been a pronounced upward curve with cinematic violence and sex seems to be following suit. So where does this trend lead us? In 10yrs time will we regard full frontal nudity to be PG13? Will we be sat in Warner Village mutiplexes watching the heroine strumming her own clit to orgasm as her beau pulls out of her, his erect member spanning 30ft of screen, and shoots his load over the lens?

I like porn. You probably know that by now. But I do hope the tide turns a little and Sex and Violence once again are set aside for adults who understand their significance, and our 13yr olds are are still left with a little mystery and innocence in their minds.

13 Responses to “X Certificate”

  1. Gillian Colbert Says:

    I agree. I have an 11 year old and it’s getting harder and harder to keep sex out of her face

  2. My eldest is 12 and of course I let him play computer games (with some time restrictions), but I really don’t like all the violence!

    • Out of curiosity, (not a criticism) why do you allow him to play violent games if you don’t like him being exposed to the violence? I know the emotional pressure a 3yr old can bring to bare, and I imaging it’s worse with a 12yr old. I think I was over protected as a kid and I don’t want to mark my kid out as different when “everyone else at school’s got it”.
      As a parent is the only option to acquiesce? Do you have a sense of why you don’t have the same issue with sexual imagery? Is it that he just isn’t interested yet, and how do you think you’ll deal with it when he is?

  3. “But I do hope the tide turns a little and Sex and Violence once again are set aside for adults who understand their significance, and our 13yr olds are are still left with a little mystery and innocence in their minds.”

    This I whole heartedly agree with.

  4. I think I have been over protective… until maybe a few years ago. I think recently I have loosened up somewhat to allow him to be his own person more. I also don’t want him to feel the odd one out. I’m trying to find a balance… I understand that if he isn’t allowed to play any violent computer games then he will really really want what he can’t have…

    The sexual imagery so far hasn’t been an issue (we don’t have a TV!) and his computer time is limited – so he uses it to play games – rather than surf the net etc

    So far he seems to have a healthy attitude towards sex for a 12 year old… But then again, these are the sort of things that maybe you don’t want to talk about with your parents…

  5. Gillian Colbert Says:

    We’ve been very open about sex with our daughter. If she has questions, we answer. We don’t allow her to watch R-movies or anything like that, and she’s not allowed to view sexually explicit materials or read them (my computer is completely off limits), but we’ve had the sex talk and have just generally treated it like it’s natural. She understands that the restriction is because of the responsibility and the context, that she’s too young to understand the nature of everything she sees which will lead to confusion and poor decision making if she’s not careful.

  6. Excellent post! I remember visiting the Ontario Film Review Board offices to see how they rate films; it was an eye-opening experience to say the least!

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