Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mission Impossible III Homework


In the film Mission Impossible III, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with the mission to retrieve a supposed biological weapon of great power named the "Rabbit's Foot." Agent Hunt then proceeds to perform many humanly impossible stunts, but also some that are quite possible. We were tasked as a class to look at three of these scenes and use the laws of physics as we know them to determine whether or not these stunts would be possible in the real world, where the laws of movie physics do not apply.

The first scene I decided to take a look at is the scene where the villain, Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has been captured by Agent Hunt and the rest of his team and is currently being transported back to their base of operations when a drone attacks with missiles and a helicopter to evacuate Davian after the attack. The drone misses a target and hits the edge of the bridge instead, blowing a hole in it. Agent Hunt later leaps across this hole, just barely making it by the skin of his teeth.

The SUV that Ethan Hunt and his partner Luther are riding in is flipped and slides right to the edge of the hole, allowing for a loose measurement of the opening. The camera pans out below the hole, showing the front half of the SUV and the entire width of the opening. It appears that the circumference of the hole is roughly the same as the width of the SUV. An average Sports Utility Vehicle has a length of 5060 millimeters or 5.06 meters. Assuming the hole is roughly 5.06 meters across, we can then look at the world record for the long jump, which is held by Mike Powell at a length of 8.95 meters or 29 feet 4.25 inches. This means there is a difference of 3.89 meters or 12.8 feet between the world record and the jump that Agent Hunt made. The average long jump distance is around 16-17 feet for males or 5.02 meters. Realistically, it's easy to see how Ethan Hunt could have made this jump with his extensive physical training and conditioning as a special agent.  In conclusion, Ethan Hunt would most likely have the ability to leap across a gap 5.06 meters wide.

The second scene I've chosen to take a look at is the scene where Ethan Hunt is sprinting through the city streets to his destination. By my best count (which may or may not be wrong. I could not find a proper clip of the scene online anywhere), Tom Cruise is running for a total of 63 seconds. Taking into account that his destination was at least two miles away, this would mean that Ethan Hunt has to run 3200 meters in 63 seconds. Tom Cruise claims he can run at a top speed of 17 mph, or 7.6 m/s. At this rate over 63 seconds, Tom Cruise will only have run 478.8 meters, and not 3.2 km. It is highly unlikely, for all of Ethan Hunt's skills that he can run that fast in that little amount of time.

The third scene is one of the most recognizable of the movie. The scene where Tom Cruise jumps from one building to the next on a rope swing. In this scene, it is stated that the height of the target building is 162 meters, the second building is 226 meters tall, and the distance between them is 46.55 meters. In the scene, Ethan Hunt leaps off the roof of the 226 meter tall building until a rope snaps taut and swings him across to the 162 meter building. Through the distance formula and the Pythagorean theorem, the rope ends up being about 75 meters in length.

1 comment:

  1. Good first entry. A few things to consider: on the bridge jump, what factors affect how far a person can jump? Running speed? Angle at launch? For your last scene (the building swing in Shanghai), you didn't really pose a question, and you simply ended by providing the length of the rope. Was that your question? If not, what was? And what else would you need to know?

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