Cut the red wire

This part of your typical bomb disarming movie scene is as essential as the part where the countdown stops at 00:00:01. It’s actually one of the tropes that kinda annoys me. Nothing against tropes, stereotypes, archetypes, etc. in movies. They usually became so stereotypical because they work!

Screen writers like to top something and then top it even more, in order to turn on our emotional screws, But for me there’s a certain point when you can take that topping too far. Then I go “this is not just unrealistic, this is ridiculous” and I snap out of my state of suspended disbelief that I need to enjoy a movie. And letting the countdown go to 00:00:01 does that for me.

Do you also have a certain thing that destroys movies for you?

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7 comments on “Cut the red wire
  1. Luke says:

    Yes. When they depict aviation things and they do it in a hopelessly unrealistic way. Like when in “Spy”, they had a long fight scene inside a business jet, and every time they yanked the thrust levers it made the aircraft pitch up and down violently. I understand it’s meant to be a comedy, but mixing up elevator and thrust controls like that totally ruined my suspension of disbelief.

    In the Fast & The Furious (one of the very recent ones) – the scene on the runway. First of all, there’s no way a car can catch up with an aircraft doing takeoff speed. Secondly, how does that plane spend 15 minutes doing its takeoff run? Haha.

    Another one – an old Charlie’s Angels movie, they threw a helicopter off a bridge with the heroes inside, and they managed to start it up and reach hovering power before it hit the ground (despite the fact that it would take several minutes to start one up).

  2. Yawnitz says:

    It was either Die Another Day or Casino Royale. There was a scene where Bond and his girl were going to go out the back of a cargo plane with small flying wing aircraft of their own. I was thinking how it would work to be jettisoned out of the back of a C-130, when they just got on, turned, on, turned around, and flew straight out the back of the airplane.

    The total disregard for how much effort I had just spent thinking how they would do it really disarmed me.

    Batman Begins. The scene where batman wasn’t on the elevated train with the track surrounded by structural members. I was thinking about how he would get on the train and not get thwacked by the structural members. Guess what? Bat grapples pass through structures.

    Same movie. The device on the train he was after used high amounts of radiation to instantly boil water in pipes. Okay, no problem. Minions were walking right next to said machine with no protective clothing and no negative effects.

    Tom Cruise’s War of the World.

    EMP blasts just took out all of the heavy duty electronics in the city, including heavy duty wiring in the cars. However, digital cameras were working just fine moments later.

  3. Lukasz says:

    “this is not just unrealistic, this is ridiculous” – of course 00:00:01 is ridiculous. Real bombs are always disarmed at 00:00:07 before explosion 😉

  4. Rhys says:

    The gratuitious Wilhelm Scream in-“joke”.

  5. reynard61 says:

    The whole “Red wire/Blue wire” thing. Any *smart* bomb-maker is going to use *a single f**king color* so that it *can’t* be easily defused. (*Or* he’ll use a multiplicity of *random* colors, *or* he’ll get into the 21st Century and dispense with wires entirely and use solid-state components. [Printer strips, etc.])

  6. Whenever the Wilhelm scream is played my wife & I always cheer. Gets a few odd looks if we forget that we’re in a cinema at the time 🙂 🙂

  7. Luke says:

    As a real-world engineer who’s never seen a real bomb, my first instinct to disarm a bomb would be to totally ignore the timing device itself and instead attack its external connections to the explosive or power supply.

    So if I was the guy in the films, first thing I’d do is try and find the explosive component itself (usually it will be a bulky container or block of explosive), and sever the cables going from that to the timer – that way the timer can’t trigger the bomb any more.

    If that doesn’t work, you can treat it like a glorified computer or alarm clock… locate the battery or power cable and cut those wires (red or black, same effect) or unplug it. Of course your bombmaker might have been smart and had multiple batteries, and make the bomb go off instantly if any one of the batteries are disconnected… Which leads us nicely to rule #1: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t make the problem worse by guessing”

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