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Violent film trailer banned by watchdog

A violent film trailer featuring a man's head exploding which was broadcast during an episode of cult teen dance show Glee has been banned by the advertising watchdog.

The adverts for The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, consisted of a "stream of violent imagery" which was likely to be seriously offensive and distressing to some viewers, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.

The montages featured a man being speared through the calf, a man being shot in the face through a window, a man being run over, a man's hand being broken, a metal bar being driven through a car window into a man's head and a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range.

The ASA said although the adverts were restricted to after the watershed they were still likely to cause offence, and the shorter of the two ads appeared during an episode of Glee, where a large number of viewers would have been under the age of 16.

The ASA said: "We considered that the ad was inappropriate for children and were therefore also concerned that a significant proportion of children had been exposed to the violent imagery."

Some 13 viewers complained that the ads were offensive and distressing because they featured scenes of graphic violence, while three challenged whether they were appropriate for broadcast during the programme Glee.

Lions Gate UK Ltd (Lions Gate) said the 15-rated film was about an elite assassin who formed a partnership with his apprentice.

It said it was unavoidable that complaints would be made by more sensitive members of the public.

The ASA ruled that both ads should be withdrawn from transmission completely.