Things That Don't Explode That Easily

There’s not much I can be angry at this weekend. A great horror franchise has been revitalized, a horror film is not only tops at the box office, but it destroyed the box office, and I’ve got a new apartment with one hell of a view. Sure, moving is a bitch, but who cares about the personal life of entertainment writers if it doesn’t involve tales of naked women in some fashion?

That said, we move to Issue 2 of Things That Don’t, a column that takes a look at the world and film and points out that some things just don’t behave that way. Last time we took a look at things that didn’t stop bullets and following them this week… Things That Don’t Explode (easily).

  • Cars. If cars blew up as easily as they do in movies, the world would be one big Michael Bay movie of awesome. Except for, you know, all the death.
  • Air Tanks. When an air tank is pierced, the most common and plausible reaction is that the air is released in a fierce jet that may create a projectile, but not an explosion. Now, if you leave an air tank in a fire, the tank may rupture on a large scale, which would be closer to an explosion. But shooting it won’t do much.
  • Gasoline. Sure, gasoline can certainly make an explosion worse, but gasoline in a liquid form doesn’t go kaboom, it burns. The explosive part comes from the gasoline fumes in the air at the right concentration igniting.
  • Colliding Objects. Cars, motorcycles, hell, anything, in a movie that hits something else will inevitably explode.
  • Wooden Shacks. Ever notice how just a little bit of gasoline or something stupid like that will set off a discrete wooden shack as if it were full of dynamite?
  • Hovercraft. In Die Another Day, a hovercraft hits a tree and blows up like it was a cruise missile. Hovercraft probably have even less explosive potential than cars.
  • Bullets. Tossing bullets in a fire or trying to turn them into an explosive isn’t going to work well. Most dangerous scenario is they fire, which each section heading in a different direction, neither of them at a lethal velocity.
  • Empty Barrels and Boxes. In a John Woo movie, just about anything hit with a bullet explodes into the air.
  • Computers. There is very little you can do to a computer other than fill it with legitimate explosives to cause it to explode.
  • C4. This is a tricky one – C4 is an explosive and will explode. But only when triggered by an electric starter. You can shoot it, slam it, and toss it in a fire without anything bad happening.
  • Most Nuclear Things. Even nuclear bombs are shielded from accidental explosions. It is very hard to cause a nuclear explosion by accident. A meltdown may release a lot of nasty stuff, but it is impossible to trigger a nuclear explosion by impact, force, or even laying a bomb on it.
  • Sharks. Two sharks have exploded for no reason. I won’t even count the original Jaws or Deep Blue Sea as that is under air tank bullshit. But in Jaws 4: The Revenge the shark explodes after being speared with part of a wooden boat, and in the Batman film starring Adam West, a shark explodes after being sprayed with shark repellent, which is a WTF moment for two reasons – the explosion and Batman having shark repellent.

And quickly, things that really do explode:

  • Michael Bay’s Barbecue
  • Michael Bay’s Pool
  • Michael Bay’s FiOS Internet Connection

I’ll be honest – I love explosions. But when things that have no business exploding explode, I go past my boiling point. Unless it’s a Michael Bay film, because then the thing that triggered the explosion was 88kilograms of AWESOME.

What movie explosions drive you nuts?


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