The latest instalment in the apparently endless Die Hard franchise is released this week. The distributors have cut the film to achieve a 12 certificate - but who is this really benefitting?

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  • Comment number 69. Posted by I_am_I

    on 15 Mar 2013 00:08

    This has been going on since The Terminator franchise. First it was a rugged, violent dystopian thriller for adults; then it morphed into a "let's go play with step-dad" mush fest. And don't bother arguing that T2 was better than T1. No it damn well wasn't! Leave my violent, uncompromising dystopian thrillers alone! I'm sick of everything having to appeal to the widest possible audience thesedays! It's virtually impossible now to find 18-rated films that aren't on the top shelf! Rant over.

    Apparently there is going to be a Die Hard 6. It reminds me of a sight-gag in AIRPLANE II: a movie poster showing a picture of a little old man wearing boxing gloves under the title "ROCKY 36" or something. That was in the mid-80s! Even back then they could see how absurd these endless sequels are! And to prove their point, Stallone comes back to make not only another RAMBO film, but another ROCKY! Hollywood is not only a parody of itself, it is in fact eating itself!

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  • Comment number 68. Posted by TomD

    on 3 Mar 2013 03:52

    Ok I'm glad I read through this now as watching marks video made me revisit an idea that I've had for ages. I have tried to ask this question on other forums but never got a straight answer or people missed the point entirely. Release two different versions of the same movie with different ratings for the appropriate audience (as has been said here previously).

    The example I like to use is Iron Man. I know it's a comic book movie and therefore primarily aimed at a younger audience. However imagine Iron Man being able to rain down the kind of fury that an 18 certificate would allow. My argument is that I would go and take the kids to go and see the 12a rating then go again to take in the 18 with my friends (or the other way round). This basically guarantees repeat viewings and a much bigger potential audience.

    It seems really obvious to myself and others on here so could someone tell my why this wouldn't work?

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  • Comment number 67. Posted by SCC Overton

    on 2 Mar 2013 17:19

    Surely the underlying issue is the classification system. Where I live, in Hong Kong, there are four basic categories: 1, 2a, 2b, and 3. 1 is like U, 2a is "family", most adult stuff is 2b, and filth and exploitation is 3. And these classifications are guidelines only. Nobody is prevented from getting into see anything.
    It seems that film classifications have a number of roles in the UK. Partly they serve as reviews - ie: this film is a U, so I can definitely take my kids to it, or this film is an 18, so it will definitely horrify me - and partly as a marketing tool.
    It seems to me that nowadays, when the Internet has opened up everything for everyone, film classification needs to take a long hard look at itself and think about what its role is. Certainly it's not protecting anybody from anything. A person shot in the head in a 12A is the same as a person shot in the head in a 15, albeit without the blood spurt. Paul Verhoeven makes a similar point (on the Robocop DVD, I think) - violence is violence whether or not you cut away, and in fact, *not* showing the consequences of violence is more harmful to the young and impressionable.
    It's like the experiment with roads with no markings on them - people drive more cautiously. The same could be true with film classification. If it was guidelines only then the parents would have to take on more responsibility for their kids, just as they do in Asia.
    If chucking out film classification doesn't work, the other thing that occurs to me is, why not distribute two classifications of the same film? It doesn't cost anything any more, seeing as most cinema projectors are digital these days. Let the kids into the 12A version and let the adults into the 15/18 version. Just like 2D and 3D versions of films - you choose. You could even have shorter versions of films - I bet people would be more inclined to go to the Hobbit if it were trimmed down, Roger Corman style. Just a thought...

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  • Comment number 66. Posted by Nick

    on 2 Mar 2013 08:00

    If memory serves (I haven't seen Taken 2 and saw no reason to, especially the 12A version) I believe Taken 2 and A Good Day to Die Hard. (There I've said it) were both distributed by 20th Century Fox, Murdoch's company.

    Isn't he the man who infamously fired the team that green lit Fight Club saying "I don't make films to make people think"

    He obviously hires directors from the same watered down stock.

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  • Comment number 65. Posted by Nick

    on 2 Mar 2013 07:50

    I must admit Mark I'd prefer even more cut down to gain the film a Universal certificate it's that bad. Without a doubt the worst film since Catwoman to come out of a major Hollywood studio.

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  • Comment number 64. Posted by Rancor_Bait

    on 21 Feb 2013 12:13

    Went to see Die Hard at my local cinema last night. The best and very apt moment for me was when the BBFC certificate appeared on screen only for the female senior citizen sat behind to say: " 12A for Die Hard? This should be a 15 - at least! "

    Priceless.

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  • Comment number 63. Posted by MikeLee

    on 19 Feb 2013 21:17

    I think we have to start realising the difference between a "film" and a "movie" and what the director wants us to see.

    In the case of AGDTDH - if the director is willing to let the swearing and violence be trimmed, this falls into the movie category which is the money making exercise and bubblegum entertainment. I honestly don't think this type of film is hurt by small trims to achieve a rating.

    If the director isn't willing to make the cuts to achieve the rating, then we're in film territory and the director has a message and vision they are not willing to compromise.

    I disagree with Mark that we've somehow got it wrong. If the director is willing to let the studio take final cut to get a rating - then thats the film the director wants us to see. That is the cinematic experience.

    The home viewing experience is becoming more diluted - I was once an avid VHS collector, then an avid DVD collector.... Now I really cant be bothered and will watch things as I find them on TV/Online.

    Cinema will always be cinema - if the director doesnt have a message to stand up against a bean counter - not the censors fault, not the publics fault.

    We can always vote with our feet and not go see films - they'll soon change their tune if the money isnt there!

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  • Comment number 62. Posted by jasterixstrange

    on 19 Feb 2013 11:40

    and here lies the reason why I won't give money to the big multiplexes and the major film distributors. I'm much happy spending my money at the indie cinema watching the likes of Amore, What Richard Did and Hors Satan rather than wasting two hours of my life watching Bruised Willies getting even more bruised.
    I despise censorship and if there's one thing I hate more it's lame directors who won't stand up for their "art" and prevent this from happening.

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  • Comment number 61. Posted by hoomach

    on 18 Feb 2013 20:14

    But, as others have allluded to, I have problems with the 15 rating as it seems such a broad rating in that there are clearly 15 films verging on the 18 and 15 films verging on the 12A and a world of difference between the two.
    I also have a problem with the18 rating in that films are often rated 18 for sexual content yet you can get married and have as much sex as you want legally at 16 so why the 18 rating?
    Anyway back to this film. The BBFCInsight says the following "there are a number of scenes featuring shootings which occasionally show brief bullet impacts, but there is no focus on blood or injury. In scenes of hand-to-hand combat we see brief punches and kicks, impressionistic rifle butt blows and an implied, but unseen, neck break. Although there are some crunchy sound effects and incidental shots of the heroes with blood on their faces and clothes, no detail of injury is shown".
    I am not convinced that this is ideal viewing for all 12 year olds as there is a vast range at this age in terms of emotional maturity and understanding. So we leave it to parents to decide. That of course assumes every parent is gifted with the ability to fully understand their kids and use common sense. But hey what do I know?

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by Kenneth Furnell

    on 18 Feb 2013 19:58

    I'm currently reading the (excellent) book "Behind the Scenes at the BBFC" (for which Mark wrote the introduction) and it seems it was ever thus. The old X certificate was meant to allow more adult films to be shown, but often just resulted in self-censorship replacing official cuts. Granted it looks like we might be seeing a resurgence of the problem, and I hope we don't end up with 15 becoming an NC-17 style no-go area for mainstream movies.

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