News, if you can call it that, came through this week that Die Hard 5 will be rated a 12A. Following on from the original trilogy which was rated 18, Die Hard 4.0 secured a 15 rating but now the latest instalment has created controversy. There is no denying the original film, set within a tower block, was brutal. John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, returns home for Christmas and visits an office party as international terrorist Alan Rickman takes over the building with a number of armed guards and a dodgy German accent. Based around the book Nothing Lasts Forever, McClane becomes a one man army gently picking off the armed guards in gruesome ways in order to save himself, the hostages and most importantly his wife. The film was a massive success critically and profit wise which spawned four sequels and counting. Willis has claimed that McClane has at least another story in him.
Without getting bogged down in the logistics of each film, the entire point in Die Hard is that they are adult movies with profanity and violence abound. Controversially 5 has received this 12A rating, but why? The British Board of Film Classification created the 12A rating once Spiderman became a little darker than its comic book counterpart. Parents argued the character was designed for children, yet the film makers and alike decided it had a story too adult for a PG rating. Solution: create a film certificate which allows children in if they have the express permission and presence of an adult. Essentially a PG but with more blood and gore than Jumanji had.
Are the Die Hard films becoming less adult orientated or are we becoming more desensitised to the issues raised by them? The argument is essentially if Die Hard had been released today would it receive a 12A rating? Of course not, the intense use of profanity and death the terrorists experience even outweigh the fact that Professor Snape would appeal to the kids. The immortal catchphrase of John McClane, you know the one, Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Flipper has reportedly been cut short in Die Hard 5 to allow for this 12A rating. Much like the advertisement which surrounds the film which just quotes "Yippee Ki-Yay Mother" and omits the last word.
What is there to gain from getting a 12A rating? Another three years of audience than Die Hard 4.0 received with its 15 rating isn't going to tip the film into financial success. What parent who has even glimpsed or heard of Die Hard is going to take their 10-year-old to go and witness the next film in the franchise? Fifteen rated Die Hard 4.0 managed to include the full line which pleases fans the world over and rightly so. The line is a staple mark of the entire series. It'd be like watching Mr T and not getting an "I pity the fool". It'd be like watching any film with Arnie in and not getting any form of "I'll be back". It'd be like making a Scooby Doo movie which ended in the gang discovering that it was actually a real ghost and not a bloke in a mask calling them "pesky kids". Surely they'd never make that mistake...would they? The choice to lose McClanes catchphrase, while not causing rifts at the United Nations has caused controversy and will surely bite back at 20th Century Fox come Thursday's release.