Boiling Point: Medical Miracles!


I know it’s not the right season to be all Scrooge like and poo poo on miracles, which is why I’m not going to be talking about Last Holiday (ok technically she wasn’t even sick) or some Patch Adams crap or things like that.  I’m just going to aim at your every day oddities of the human body we see in film.  Bullet wounds, sprained ankles, blows to the head of all severity with results that are predictable based solely on who they were inflicted on.  Come on now.

Take for example, the bullet wound.  A bullet to the shoulder of an action hero is a minor inconvenience.  He can even take one in the kidney and he’ll only be down and out for a few seconds.  Soon he’ll be back to throwing punches and absorbing them as if hadn’t even been scratched.  A thug in the background, conversely, will not only be killed, but he will die instantly from a gunshot anywhere on his body or within a reasonable distance of his body.  Villains are pretty lucky in surviving everything from great falls to impalements, but they always have enough strength for that final lunge.  Personally, I’d use that last bit of strength to go see a doctor.

How about leaping from windows or tall buildings?  Most people would shatter their legs and be out of it for the long haul, but our heroes simply hobble around on a “sprained ankle” for a few moments before miraculously being able to run at a full sprint a few minutes later.  I’m no athletic trainer, but I’ve had my fair share of sprains and you’re going to want to call for back-up and let the rest of the police department handle this one while you RICE it – Rest Ice Compression Elevation.  No matter how bad the injury is, even if the character has previously been held up by others, barely able to move, they’ll be tip top to make a final impression in the climactic battle royale.

Let’s not even go over blows to the head.  Bad guys will be instantly knocked out cold for apparently the rest of the movie, as they never return.  One shot to the face and they’re out like a light.  Our hero, however, will regain consciousness just as someone shows up into the room or he’ll just let pool cues break over his head with no effect.  Car crash?  He’ll be momentarily dazed, but suffer no ill effects from the 60-0 deceleration and subsequent headache.

I think Last Action Hero nailed it when they showed real-world Arnold dying from a bullet wound but once he was safely back on screen he felt fine.  Lionheart starring Jean-Claude Van Damme also did a good job, in that his character suffered a badly bruised rib which bothered him for the rest of the film.  But for the most part, Hollywood conveniently forgets that just a few scenes ago people were dealing with serious impairments.  I get that we need to suspend disbelief and I’m fine with some of our heroes being virtually bulletproof, but if you’re going to play up an injury and have the character gimp around for awhile, at least make him suffer that malady for a reasonable part of time or else I’m liable to go past my boiling point.

What movies are blatant offenders and which are surprisingly accurate in this regard?

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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