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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Violent Lara Croft scenes cut
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft
Those over 12 years old will be able to watch Lara Croft
Scenes featuring head butts and throat chops have been cut from the British version of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider on the orders of film censors.

Producers wanted the film to be given a 12 certificate, but the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) demanded they cut violent scenes or settle for a 15 certificate - and exclude a large number of potential cinema-goers from seeing it.

The cuts mean those over the ages of 12 can now see the film.

Released in the UK on Friday, 6 July, it stars Angelina Jolie as a fearless female adventurer who fights villains and monsters to recover ancient antiques.

'Glamorisation'

The BBFC said Lara Croft is "the latest big Hollywood action film aimed at children but containing scenes which are too violent for younger viewers".

Lara Croft, the computer game character
Lara Croft: Began life as a computer game character
BBFC director Robin Duval said: "The natural audience for Lara Croft is the 12 to 15 age group, but the board's classification guidelines make it clear that at 12 the glamorisation of weapons such as knives and the graphic illustration of dangerous techniques such as head butts and throat chops are unacceptable.

"The film company has responded positively to the BBFC's concerns with cuts to those elements and to other violent content at several points in the film."

Films in a similar situation but which chose to retain violent scenes and take a 15 certificate in Britain include Mission: Impossible 2 and Charlie's Angels.

'Fantastical setting'

Mr Duval said the action-packed film would not surprise audiences familiar with 12-rated films such as the James Bond series.

"As with the Bond films, the combat, gunplay etcetera is mitigated by the absence of bloody or graphic detail and by the generally fantastical setting of the story.

"The board's concern about knives, however, reflects the fact that they are much more readily accessible in the UK than the other more unfamiliar equipment characteristic of these films."

Meanwhile the BBFC is set to trial a new "advisory" rather than "compulsory" cinema certificate later this year.

Number one

The BBFC is looking into a shake-up for the 12 rating and a trial run is being pursued with a local authority in England.

The proposal would bring Britain into line with Europe and the US.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was number one at American box offices last week.

It has been given a PG-13 certificate in America, which means parents are warned that some material is inappropriate for those under the age of 13.

Croft first found fame as a computer game character in 1996.

See also:

07 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Jolie lands Lara role
18 Jun 01 | Film
Tomb Raider guns to the top
06 Jun 01 | Film
Censors cut Bardem movie
12 Jun 01 | Film
Big screen Lara Croft unveiled
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