How’s that for a title, eh? Anyway, potentially dirty thoughts aside, today we’re talking about glass. Specifically, we’re talking about how sharp glass is. I’m sure you’ve had personal experience with the cutting capacity of a shard of glass, so we’re on the same page here. The shit is sharp and will cut you.
Hollywood knows this. A broken bottle has the ability to cleanly slice a throat or pull a plug of human flesh right out of a torso. So the people behind movies are aware of the dangers of glass. Except, of course, when it comes to someone being thrown through a pain of it. Or having a shower of it rain down on innocents below.
Whether you’re a random thug who just got dropped kicked by a Universal Soldier through a window or an innocent spectator at the Stark 2010 Expo under a shower of glass, you walk away unhurt. Just don’t try this at home, because you’ll probably end up with a few hundred stitches and quite the medical bill.
As we’ve sort of established, glass is sharp. It will cut you. But you don’t even have to take my word for it because the world’s most respected scientific duo have done some work dispelling this idea: The Mythbusters. Through their exhaustive testing methods, they tossed a lot of stuff through windows and found out that, surprise, you will get cut. According to them, thin 1/8th inch glass is relatively safe to smash through. You might come out unharmed, mostly because the glass is thin and lightweight so there’s not much force applied at the edge. Once you get to 1/4th inch glass, it’s time to start buying stock in bandaids.
So, where do you find quarter inch, or thicker, glass? All over the place. Exterior windows, sliding glass doors, and any large window, say like a store front or a glass dome overhead. The places people like to get kicked through or rained down on.
When Van Damme kicks some poor guy through a window, the odds are that guy is bleeding from multiple places as he hits the dirt. All those people in the Stark Expo under that glass? Hurt very badly, quite possibly killed. The kind of glass in those glass domes, or skyscraper windows, is thick and heavy. It’s also falling from a few hundred feet, which gives it plenty of time to pick up speed. So we’ve got a heavy, sharp object traveling at high speed. This could take off a limb, cut you badly, or do just about any horrible thing sharp things do.
All of these reasons are why Hollywood stuntmen get kicked through sugar glass, not real glass, and while falling debris is now computer generated. It’s just too dangerous to work with real glass, thus, its dangerous for the characters in the film.
Now, I love watching people get hurt. I’m all for it. I’m not saying glass shouldn’t fall or perps should fly through windows, but what I am saying is lets make it realistic. Add the blood, the cuts, the damage. You want to know what film did it right? Die Hard. Remember when he doesn’t have shoes on so those German bastards shoot out all the glass? That’s awesome. That’s at least close to realistic, as well. In one of the Final Destination films, falling glass also ruined some guys day, and that was cool.
Satisfy my bloodlust, Hollywood, and let the bodies hit the floor slightly after the glass does. Spread the Karo syrup and red food coloring. Glass is dangerous. Show it. It’s actually making your scene more effective, adding more danger to the situation – your movie just got better. Marginally. But hey, if you let the glass do what it do, and cut people, at least I won’t shatter through my boiling point window.