Double feature of science-y goodness (or lack of it)!

Abe Lincoln, badass

Abraham Lincoln: husband, father, president…vampire hunter

So I unfortunately have my bi-semester test week starting on Monday, and like a good university student I put off studying and went for pizza and movie on a Friday night. I had seen the trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which had stirred up great excitement in me. Finally a vampire movie where the vampires are the evil, blood sucking creatures that they should be! I really quite enjoyed the film; I went expecting an entertaining B-grade film (not that in a bad way…you know what I mean), and it delivered solidly. Lots of blood, decapitation and badass axe play were plentiful, so if you don’t like any of that, don’t watch it. Anyhoo, on to the scientific critique:

  • During his training Abraham Lincoln is told to chop down a tree with a single blow. But the tree is a good 30cm across, making this an inhuman feat, and since Abe was not imbued with any super-supernatural strength, I’m calling this scene. Although it must be said that when he swings through the tree it breaks more than slices, which is what you’d realistically expect from something the size of that axe head moving with enough speed to do that amount of damage to a tree (which are quite tough) so well down to the people there.
  • Apart from the above scene, the movie does surprisingly well (if I missed anything please let me know), taking into account some exaggerated physics, but the laws are bent not broken, so I’m not going to bother mentioning every little thing. However, at the end of the movie there’s a scene where Abe and his homies drive a train over a wooden bridge that is set on fire. A very nice construction the bridge was too. But as I’m studying the construction of railways as I type this, I noticed some stuff. First off, trains are pretty heavy things, so I doubt that the fire-weakened bridge would have supported the weight of the train and the carriages, but maybe I should be giving those ye olde engineers the benefit of the doubt. But when the train is nearing the end of it’s fateful journey, it and the track it was on drop about 3m down the bridge. Now, the momentum of the train would have sent it going straight through the wooden supports of that bridge all the way to bottom (as I said before, trains are heavy). And thirdly, there is almost no way a train can climb the kind of gradient that one did as it pulled itself up out of the fire-y pit of doom. In the movie a steam locomotive traveled up what seemed to be a 30% incline…pull the other one mate.

Now, the friends I went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with and I saw the trailer for The Expendables 2, realised it was opening night, and decided to go watch a second movie that night (I had plenty of time to study later I told myself). Now, I must preface this by saying The Expendables 2  is the most testosterone filled 1h40 you can ever experience in your life…ever. It has Arnie, Bruce Willis, and Chuck freaking Norris. And an entire cast of badass men and woman, with Jason Statham being so hardcore my face exploded. It is filled with gratuitous violence, explosions, bullets, one-liners and inaccurate bad guys, making it the most amazing B-movie ever made (probably). It doesn’t take itself too seriously, meaning the movie is fun while being ridiculously badass at the same time. Heck, Chuck Norris tells a Chuck Norris joke, and Arnie and Bruce drive a Smart car through an airport while firing fully automatic weapons…possibly the greatest scene of my entire life.

Expendables poster

Yes. Yes, they all appear

All enjoyment aside, the movie was not scientifically accurate, but it doesn’t try to be, so I still recommend any action enthusiast should watch it.

  • Inaccuracy of the bad guys: the expendables hardly take cover, yet the countless hordes of bad guys cannot hit them…
  • Explosions: everything explodes. EVERYTHING.

I’ll have to watch it again objectively, because the sheer extremity of the movie threw my concentration off with regards to realism.

Sorry that this post took so long, but I’ve been busy at university, and haven’t watched many movies lately.

Jeremy

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