Wanted: The ability to totally ignore physics

So my most recent blog post was on how much the biological inaccuracies of the Twilight vampires bothered me, and considering I’ve been on a book/film/pop culture theme with my first blog post as well, I figured I might as well continue with the trend.

And here is where I admit I’m a hypocrite.

Because although I very much dislike Twilight for its blatant disregard for science, I absolutely love a film called Wanted (2008), that clearly has no respect for any laws of physics, biology or chemistry whatsoever.

For those of you who have seen the film, you will know just exactly what I am talking about. For those who haven’t seen the film, I won’t give you the synopsis, because you can read that on Wikipedia here, but I will give you the premise behind the film, which is where the science comes into it.

Basically, the main character finds out he has a medical condition that gives him superhuman powers. The medical condition, which has some fancy Hollywood name, pumps extra amounts of adrenaline through the protagonist’s body which gives the illusion of time slowing down, giving him faster reflexes and super strength.

Here is a clip where he shoots the wings off a fly.

Wesley Shoots the Wings of a Fly

And hey, it does kind of sound plausible considering we’ve all heard those stories about the women that lifted a car of their baby because of the increased amounts of adrenaline (although this is the first time I’ve ever actually researched it, here is an example).

I have to say, I’m not entirely sure of how it increased his eye sight… but I’m willing to over look that.

But I’m sure all you science savvy people are thinking, ‘but hey, excess amounts of adrenaline can cause all kinds of ill-effects such as heart palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmia, anxiety, tremors, hypertension (which can lead to brain haemorrhage) and pulmonary edema (which leads to difficulty breathing).’

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And to that I’d say, ‘You are absolutely correct.’ But see, in the film, before the main character understood how to control this condition, he mistook it for anxiety attacks which cause his heart to go crazy, and his body to tremor. I guess there is a slight plot hole in that you can’t really learn how to control your brain and lungs exploding… but they did tackle the problem of anxiety, heart palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmia and tremors…

Anyway, the other big science plot in the film is in a little skill that the main character processes; the ability to change the flight path of a bullet. And no, this is not done through telepathy of some other kind of magic, it is explained through physics… here is a clip.

Wesley’s First Curved Bullet

Yeah, I know right, totally ridiculous. And yet I have no doubt some of you are thinking, “SO cool…”

But the fact is that bullets don’t travel in a straight line. Especially not in our world that is so physically unpredictable. Bullets are affected by gravity, wind, air resistance, the type of gun used, the way in which the barrel is used, magnets.

So even though according to Newtons first law of physics, a bullet should theoretically travel in a straight line, and at the same speed forever, it won’t because we don’t live in a theoretical world. I will admit that Wanted definitely does test the laws of physics, it isn’t actually breaking them.

And that is my poor excuse for unashamedly loving bad action films that make absolutely no scientific sense.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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One Response to “Wanted: The ability to totally ignore physics”

  1. Stacey says:

    As soon as I read that bit about his increased eyesight from slowing things down, I just had to direct you to this youtube clip. It’s 11 minutes, but TOTALLY worth it.