This is the first in yet another recurring series, kiddies. This time, we're taking a look at things that seem oh-so-cool in the movies, but upon reflection, would actually suck in real life.
This Week's NRTC Feature: Leaping Away from an Explosion
Stallone did it. Van Damme, too. Willis had a couple really good ones, especially in Die Hard. Statham has become a modern savant at it. The Millennium Falcon did an iconic spaceship version of it. Arnold practically built his fortune around it.
But as awesome as it would seem to try this out for yourself and hurl through the air (preferably in slow-motion) just out of the reach of an expanding ball of fire and doom, in real life it would not be nearly as cool. Allow me to list a few reasons why...
1. You would probably die.
That's the tricky thing about explosions. They're deadly. Rarely does someone plant a bomb inside an enemy's car with the aim of watching it explode and then running out to yell, "You got SERVED!", and then laughing about the whole thing together afterward and going to Denny's or Pottery Barn or something.
No. Explosions = huge eruptions of flame and pointy things = death.
2. If you did manage to evade death, you'd probably have a lot of shrapnel embedded in or around the area of your ass.
Remember in Forrest Gump when he's carrying one of his wounded buddies out of the jungle in Vietnam and gets shot in the butt-ocks and yells out, "Somethin' BIT me!" Well, unless the explosion you're leaping away from happens spontaneously in a completely open and debris-free area, you're going to have some uber-hot shrapnel targeting the softer parts of your hide. So unless you're doing battle with a wizard or something, the explosion will have originated within some sort of container whose outer parts will soon be making their way toward you, and quickly.
The problem, therefore, with pulling an Arnold on one of these fiery blasts is that it's akin to trying to outrun a bullet. You may well have been a champion long jumper in high school, but you don't have the luxury of an additional explosive force pushing you along. Unless you're on steroids. Or are Usain Bolt. It's simple physics, friends.
3. Fire is really hot.
Have you ever burned your hand on an iron or coffee pot, even just for an instant, and had to endure that lingering pain for the next day or so, where anything even remotely warm makes you relive the burn all over again, like Rambo with his crazy 'Nam flashbacks in First Blood? Image that, but 100 times worse, and all over your body. If you survived, you'd be taking cold showers for a month.
4. Unless you're super buff, you could wind up very embarrassed.
So let's say you actually do have an action movie hero moment and survive your close encounter with the explode-y kind, and it was one of those awesome ones where the fireball actually wraps around you JUST as you leap into the area of safety (a la the Millennium Falcon example mentioned above). Even if you do come out relatively unscathed, health-wise, there's a very good chance your wardrobe won't be so lucky.
Unless you're the Hulk, your clothes don't remain unharmed if you go through something like that. And if you're not in the best shape ever, it could be extremely embarrassing when the news crews arrive and broadcast you in all of your doughy, pixelated glory. And honestly, you're never really prepared for such a thing. Because when you're hurtling through the air in an effort to avoid a flame-soaked demise, you're probably not thinking things like, "Did I make sure to wear clean underwear today?" or "Man, I really shouldn't have let my gym membership expire."
5. Also, if you jumped prematurely, you could wind up very embarrassed.
6. You would probably die.
I've listed this reason already, yes, but I feel it's extremely important, so I'm going to say it again. You would probably not survive a 40-yard dash against an explosion. Explosions are not nice creatures. They're like bears crossed with barracudas, only on fire and really angry about how bad Spiderman 3 turned out.
So. Leaping away from an explosion. Reel-y cool in the movies, but definitely a source of pain, embarrassment, and misery in real life.