Top 10 Movies That Should Have Been Rated R
Top 10 Movies That Should Have Been Rated R

“I don’t believe in heaven. I believe in pain. I believe in fear. I believe in death.”

– Max Payne, “Max Payne” (2008)


Countless films are produced or edited with specific MPAA ratings in mind. This is unfortunate for two major reasons: the first being the nature of censorship, and the second being the lack of accountable, objective rules set out by the MPAA (as evidenced by the documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated”). So some pictures alter their creative vision thanks to an intention to fall into a category for younger or older audiences, while others are chopped up after the fact, sometimes to the point that they sacrifice continuity – or, in extreme circumstances, no longer make sense. Perhaps worse than shooting with a rating in mind is the manipulation by studios to tone down films that were manufactured with purpose and grit. So here, The Massie Twins examine the 10 films that should have gone for an edgier, harder product, with not necessarily more, but at least the original amount of, sex, drugs, violence, nudity, and chainsaw dismemberments – the ones that really, really should have been rated R.


10. The One (2001)


Rated PG-13 for wussified martial arts violence.

Objects in screenshot may be cooler than actual movie.

The majority of Jet Li’s early American movies have been rated R for intense martial arts violence – except this one. Maybe Jet Li should stay out of alternate dimensions and realities, but if he has to have an evil twin roaming parallel worlds, there should be a lot more ass-kicking going on. We’d expect this watered-down stuff from Jackie Chan, but not Li. (We’ll just pretend that the third “The Mummy” entry doesn’t exist.)


9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2007)


Rated PG-13 for not enough violence, action, sexual content, and strong language.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are married assassins fighting against each other. Who wouldn’t want to see more violence and nudity in this film?


8. Will Ferrell’s Sports Comedies: “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006)/“Blades of Glory” (2007)/“Kicking & Screaming” (2005)


Rated PG-13 for general lack of humor.

While these Will Ferrell vehicles had a meager spattering of laughs, they never reached the comedic brilliance of “Wedding Crashers” or “Old School.” The fix? Crank the humor into R-rated territory and their success would likely have been much better. Come to think of it, “Stranger than Fiction” wasn’t very good either.


7. Aeon Flux (2005)


Rated PG-13 for sequences of non-Charlize Theron sexual content.

Didn’t she win some kind of award for something before this very bad decision? Perhaps nothing could have made this film better, but amping up the violence, sexuality, and bloodletting would have been a start. The original cartoon was more graphic than this cheesy blunder.


6. The Happening (2008)


Rated PG-13 for big egos and terrible twist endings.

M. Night Shyamalan should really make an R-rated horror film. He’s obviously exhausted his supply of psychological thrills, so he should turn to some good old-fashioned, exploitable blood and guts for scares. What’s that you say? This WAS rated R? Impossible. How could it be R-rated and be devoid of anything even remotely scary?


5. Jersey Girl (2004)


Rated PG-13 because Kevin Smith forgot what he was good at.

Which is funnier: being a single parent or cracking crude jokes outside a convenience store? Okay, “Jersey Girl” wasn’t the worst thing the filmmaker has directed, but a Kevin Smith movie without all his signature cursing and sexually explicit conversations? Isn’t that like bread without butter or fish without chips? We miss Jay and Silent Bob.


4. All the American Horror Movie Remakes: “The Fog” (2005)/“Prom Night” (2008)/“When a Stranger Calls” (2006)/“The Invasion” (2007)/etc.


Rated PG-13 for not being as good as the original.

Nothing screams failure like remaking a horror movie and it turning out to be less scary than the original. Could this have been avoided with a harsher rating? Maybe not, but it couldn’t have hurt. To make matters worse, quite a few of the original films were rated R – and for good reason.


3. All the Asian Horror Movie Remakes: “The Grudge” (2004)/“The Eye” (2008)/“Pulse” (2006)/“Shutter” (2008)/“One Missed Call” (2008)/etc.


Rated PG-13 for not having the balls to show some gore.

After “The Ring,” an epidemic of Asian horror remakes swamped theaters, though none of them could fully capture the creepy terror of Verbinski’s original … uh, remake. And of course since “The Ring” secured a PG-13 rating, every copycat also had to keep the gore and violence to a minimum, hoping that atmosphere could outweigh the lack of onscreen bloodletting. It didn’t. When your poster is scarier than your movie, something needs to be changed.


2. Alien vs. Predator (2004)


Rated PG-13 for slime. (This isn’t a joke. Look it up.)

Take some slimy monsters that kill by tearing themselves out of people’s chests and shredding faces with two sets of teeth and pit them against crazed beasts that hunt humans for sport and rip their spinal cords out of their bodies before skinning them. Then try to make that a PG-13 movie. It’s actually quite miraculous that Paul W.S. Anderson managed to screw up the franchise as bad as he did with his blood-free, curse-free, diet-AVP.


1. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)


Rated PG-13 for kicking ass and taking names … and catch phrases away.

Yippee-ki-yay … uh, sucker. In “Die Hard,” John McClane was all about spouting obscenities, crawling through broken glass while barefoot, and seriously messing people up. “Die Hard 2” found him shoving icicles into eyes and blowing up airplanes, and “Die Hard 3” paired him with the hilariously foul-mouthed Samuel L. Jackson for even more violence and fun. So what happens in this fourth part? McClane plays nursemaid to a geeky computer nerd and meets Kevin Smith in a basement. At least he got to beat up a girl.