Film rating realities

THOUGH his body of work consists mostly of R-rated action films, Matthew Vaughn still likes directing PG-13 films. The upcoming Argylle is rated PG-13, the director’s first family-friendly offering since X-Men: First Class in 2011.

“Argylle and First Class are movies that didn’t need to be rated R, like Kick-Ass needed to be,” Vaughn told Total Film magazine while discussing his latest film’s rating. “The rating should be a reflection of what the film is, not trying to make a movie for a rating.”

For Argylle, Vaughn explained that the film still needed a few cuts to get it down to PG-13 standards. Two of the cuts annoyed the filmmaker, as he did not know how they would influence the Motion Picture Association’s (MPA) grading.

According to the MPA, films with a PG-13 rating can be watched by children as long as they are accompanied by parents, while the R-rating disallows anyone under 17 years of age from watching the film unless an older adult is present.

Vaughn then explained that if someone is shot in the head or shoots another person in their head, it would constitute an R-rating, but oddly, at the same time, if it is a chest shot, that does not give an R-rating.

“When I found out, I said, ‘I don’t understand that because shooting someone in the chest is acceptable, but then the head is really bad?’ I don’t think most people care where you’re going to get shot. If you’re gonna get shot, you’re gonna get shot.”

Vaughn’s quandary is one shared repeatedly by other filmmakers and industry observers in the past over the MPA and how it evaluates violence in films.

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