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The Heat

R13: violence, offensive language and sexual references

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

The Heat poster

Date registered: 14/06/2013

About the film

The Heat is a US action comedy about two female public officials forced to work together.

Ashburn, a talented but arrogant and uptight FBI agent, is assigned a case that has her paired with a foul-mouthed, derisive Boston police officer, Mullins. Together they investigate a large local drug distribution ring in order to bring down the drug lord responsible.

A still image from the film - Ashburn and Mullins

Classification criteria: Sex

There are a number of sexual references most of which are used in derogatory ways to berate or intimidate characters. Most of the sexual references are made by Mullins as part of her characterisation as a loutish, rugged Boston cop. For instance, there is a lengthy sequence where Mullins discusses her police captain's 'balls' claiming he has lost them when threatened with the jurisdictional takeover by the FBI. The sexual references that are made in a more traditional, misogynist fashion are of a comparatively lower impact.

A still image from the film - Asburn in her underwear being critiqued by Mullins

Classification criteria: Crime

Drug-trafficking and distribution also feature in the film as a plot device to motivate the protagonists. All of those involved in the drug syndicate are shown as antagonists. Involvement in drug distribution is shown as immoral, criminal and having only negative consequences.

A still image from the film - Mullins and Ashburn confront the bad guys in an old warehouse

Classification criteria: Violence

There is a strong scene where Ashburn performs a disastrous tracheotomy on a choking diner customer. The scene, whilst graphic and gory, has a highly comedic tone. Another is where Ashburn is stabbed in the leg by a henchman. These scenes are relatively novel within the feature because of their moderate to high impact. The rest of the violence in the film does not feature a similar degree of bloody or gory imagery. The violence and injury is exaggerated purposefully for comedic effect and it is generally presented in a light-hearted way.

A still image from the film - the police captain stops a fight between Mullins and Ashburn

Decision summary

The violence in the film is of low impact. The offensive, aggressive and threatening language could be distressing to younger audiences. Teenagers and adults will be able to appreciate the language is the function of a boorish, archetypical character of the action-comedy genre and be experienced with such displays of aggression as a function of comedy.

Given these considerations, the lowest possible restriction available that observes the requirements of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act is objectionable except if the availability of the publication is restricted to persons who have attained the age of 13 years.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R13 label
R13: violence, offensive language and sexual references