If that famous experiment with those dogs and that drool is anything to go by, conditioning teaches us that frequent exposure to a certain set of circumstances will provoke a fixed reaction. So when you sit down to watch a movie, spare a thought to consider that, hey, maybe you, too, have been conditioned by all that precious escapism you love so much.
And we don’t mean conditioned to salivate whenever you hear the Universal Pictures fanfare, but conditioned into a kind of perpetual state of dumbness for all those hours you’ve spent staring at the screen. Because there are dozens of small things that happen in movies on a frequent basis, that, should they ever occur in real life, you’d stand back for a moment and splutter: “What the heck is going on? This is like a movie.” For example…
7. Getting Shot Isn’t So Bad
You’ve seen this little scenario play out a hundred times before. The main character is engaged in a deadly gun battle and the stakes are seriously high. Suddenly, they take a bullet, fall back, and state: “I’m okay. It’s just a shoulder shot.” That’s right: action movies require their heroes to look cool (and what’s cooler than being shot?) and have taught audiences not to concern themselves with bullet wounds that don’t strike “vital zones” (the chest, for example, or the head). “Took a slug to the kneecap? Don’t fret. We just needed you to get injured for dramatic purposes.”
Of course, here in the real world human beings have survived some amazing degrees of trauma. One man survived being shot twenty times – and that’s bound to happen statistically given how many people have been shot throughout history (it’s a lot). But characters shrugging off leg or shoulder shots like they’re mosquito bites isn’t as casual as movie-land wants us to believe. Only around 30% of those who take a critical bullet will survive the incident. Which doesn’t bode well for John T. Action Hero as he attempts to shoot a henchman whilst simultaneously ducking behind a barrel and reloading, given that, uh, he’s been shot in the arm and is losing a hell of a lot a blood. Unconsciousness would likely follow the initial impact, and if any major vessels had been struck, death would occur within minutes. So, yeah, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies aren’t realistic, apparently.
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