I spotted a blog entry on Nicholas Forristal website titled Car Chases in Most Movies. Nick’s point on wild impossible car chases through crowded city streets where the driver never hits anyone or smashes through lines of cars and just keep going, is well taken.
I thought I’d give my view of the alligator over the transom type escapes.
(In case you’re not familiar with the previous literary reference. It is the fine old tradition of dumping something into the story, unrelated to the plot so the Hero / Heroin/ or both, can escape the villain’s trap)
Nothing drives me crazier the some of the stupid ways screen writers and directors deal with close calls in the movies. I’m not talking about Scifi movies were you are expected to suspend your belief for the length of the movie. In those cases I can deal with the phenomenal jump, dives and chases they come up with. What I don’t deal well with is a movie that takes an everyday guy in the real world and puts him in a no win situation. To amaze the viewer and thrown in a great special effects they use a totally unrealistic way of rescuing the hero from that impossible scenario.
For example, in the movie Die Hard 2, Bruce Willis’ character, John McClane is locked in the cabin of a military transport plane. The bad guys shoot the windows out of the cockpit and toss half a dozen frag grenades into the cabin. In real life the hero is dead, no two ways about it. Not John McClane, he straps into the pilots ejection seat, pulls the handle and is ejected out of the plane just as it erupts in flame.
There are several problems with the the solution.
1) Ejection seats are only found in fighter jets. Why? Because only a fighter jets has a canopy the pilot can blow away and then eject clear of the crippled aircraft. Even then the pilot or their REO can die from a broken neck if the canopy doesn’t clear in time. (As With Goose in Top Gun.) All other planes you must bail out through the hatch.
2) The cabins of all other aircraft are a solid cage. If there were an ejection seat in the cockpit of a Cargo / Transport plane and the pilot did eject he or she would be smashed against the ceiling of the cockpit. It might blast him or her through the cabin roof but their necks would break and their bodies would be ripped to shreds.
That scene in the movie smacks of desperation as in “Gee we got him here how do we get him out? Oh, I know we’ll put an ejection seat in and we’ll pop him out in the nick of time.”.
There are plenty of movies with stupid and unrealistic escapes. Tell me the one that grips you.