Complaining about implausibility in Hollywood can be something of a forlorn exercise. What did you expect, reality? Boring. However, some stunts are so far beyond the pale that we feel duty bound to mock their ridiculousness.
Believe us, we are quite happy to suspend disbelief. We do it daily. But when it comes to these shockers, our suspension just gone done and snapped.
1. Vertical Limit: The canyon leap
Do you think Chris O’Donnell ever wakes up in the middle of the night lamenting his career? In the early Nineties he was most definitely a contender, and then there was Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Which meant he ended up jumping across mountains in Vertical Limit rather than starring in LA Confidential (for instance). Just listen to him wheezing in the run up. There. Is. Just. No. Way.
2. Speed: The bus jump
Speed is a fun movie. It really is. That whole keeping-the-bus-above-50mph-to-prevent it-blowing-up schtick was really neat. However, and we’re not engineers or physicists or whatever academic/specialist realm this might fall under, but that jump over the bridge? Nah, we’re not buying it. Come on, it would plummet to the ground faster than you or I in the ring with Amir Khan.
3. Mission: Impossible 2: Aerial bike duel
Tom Cruise has a hard on for the Mission: Impossible series. We get that. But this in-air bike fight with nemesis Dougray Scott is OTT for even a John Woo-helmed film. Did they telepathically tell each other they were gonna jump and then scrap it out? Pointless window dressing; just slug it out, chaps.
4. The A-Team: Flying tank
So there’s this tank in a plane, right? And the plane gets shot, and it explodes, and the next thing you know the plane is attached to a parachute and it’s hurtling to the floor, but it’s ok, ‘cause Face, Murdock and B.A. are on board – although fat lot of use B.A. is – and, and, and… Stop. No.
5. GoldenEye: Freediving plane rescue
Who wouldn’t be James Bond? The girls, the glamour, the suits, the one-liners, the litany of daft stunts. In truth, an entire feature could be dedicated to silly 007 stunts, but this is our particular fave. Bond chases after an unpiloted plane that is careering towards a mountain range on the back of a motorbike. As the bike goes off the cliff, he freedives towards the plane and manages to get onboard. But will he prevent the calamitous crash? Have a guess.
6. Transporter 2: Car leap
It’s a Jason Statham film, not a James Franco flick, so the realms of possibility are not necessarily being adhered to. But just watch this car leap across one car park and into the smallest of entrances opposite, having just crashed through a brick wall, and scratch your head. Equal best bits? Kate Nauta buckling up moments before the jump, and the chime-like noises emanating from the second car park as Statham attempts to bring the car to a halt. Anyone tell Enya her sound is being filched?
7. Commando: Plane exit
If you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger leaving a plane by conventional methods – by a door, while the plane is stationary – just don’t cut it. Much better to hang on to a wheel as the plane takes off and then let go as you pass over a lake below, ensuring you land in the reeds. Points deducted if you break any bones or get your top wet though. Something Arnie would never do.
8. Armour of God II: Ball roll
Those Zorb balls look like fun. We like the way in which Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne utilises one to kick off his band’s celebratory gigs. And yet, we don’t think they’d withstand falling down a sheer face cliff at Lord knows what speed without bursting. But we’re not inside. Jackie Chan is. He is cut from a different cloth. Bonkers.
9. Fast & Furious: Exploding Lorries
Vin Diesel’s acting range, such as it is, means he would do indifferent nonchalance if faced with eating a bowl of Rice Crispies. So his thespian chops are perfect for scenarios such as this: when confronted with an exploding lorry rolling towards the car you’re in at great speed, scowl, grimace, remember it’s not a bowl of Rice Crispies and then put the pedal to the floor and casually drive under the lorry. Quite simple really.
10. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle: Flying women
Anything James Bond can do, Charlie’s Angels can do threefold. So when a lorry carrying a chopper is forced to veer off a bridge and into a seemingly bottomless chasm below in order to avoid not one but two, it’s obvious that the ladies will freedive to catch up the helicopter and fly to safety. What’s not realistic about that?
(Image: All Star, Rex Features, YouTube)