Waugh said that he “100 percent” pushed the envelope:
My first question was, when they asked me if I wanted to direct it, I said, ‘Are we adhering to this PG-13, or can we go back to hard R?’ And then, when they said, ‘No. 100% R,’ I was super excited, because I was like, ‘That’s what the fans want in this franchise.’ So we could design visceral moments that, in your head, you think, Man, are we going too far? And then you’re thinking, to myself, I think the audience is going to really love that. Fortunately, the audience response has been kind of classic because […] in moments that would pretty much gross most people out, there’s been applause [laughs].”
Back in 2014, Stallone said a future film would have an R-rating. He mentioned that “The Expendables 3” was “a horrible miscalculation on everyone’s part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I’m quite certain it won’t happen again.”
He also mentioned considering a time travel element or “an unnatural environment” that might have shaken things up a bit. Perhaps it would have helped that last film, which wasn’t exactly an audience favorite. Part of the appeal of these flicks is their humor. The weirdness of all these action stars we recognize on sight from other films gives the whole thing a surreality that is just … violent fun. Time travel wouldn’t have strained belief in something so goofy to begin with. (The same goes for the comic book series “The Expendables Go to Hell,” in which they actually do go to hell.) That is not a dig. I like these movies an awful lot!
Source From: www.slashfilm.com