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Some Physics (Or lack thereof) in Fast and Furious 6


IVIR

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Fast and Furious, in my opinion, is one of the greatest film series of all time. This weekend, I decided to re-watch the 6th movie for probably the 4th time. Although the movie is highly entertaining, a lot of the stunts in the movie are clearly not possible in real life due to some basic physics concepts. 

For example, one of the biggest scenes in the movie is when Dom jumps from his car (moving at over 60 mph) and dives across the air to catch Letty in midair, and then the two of them land on a parked car's windshield on the other side of the road, yet the windshield does not shatter. On the bright side, the high momentum of Dom's leap from a high speed car does change the direction of Letty's fall in midair as they keep going in the direction Dom was originally going together, which makes sense in the physics world. The part that doesn't make sense (besides the perfect timing and impossible nature of the stunt) is that the windshield doesn't break, even though Dom was traveling at over 60 mph when he "hit" Letty in midair and then both of them landed on the windshield. The windshield should have definitely shattered from such a large impact force over a short period of time, especially since their momentum was completely perpendicular to the plane of the windshield. (See Scene 1 Below) Also, from an impact that large, both Letty and Dom would have sustained injuries, and probably a concussion (read Zach's post for more information).

In the same scene, Owen Shaw is driving a tank down the highway at speeds of over 60 mph (he is able to go a lot faster than normal highway traffic), but the fastest tank in real life cannot travel speeds over 60 mph. The physics behind this is that the treads on the tank would start to have too much friction with the ground, and not spin as fast as the motor is trying to spin them. Especially with such a heavy tank, the frictional force would be extremely large, causing the frictional force to overcome the motor's attempt to spin the tread. This would strip the tread off of the motor track, and essentially break the tank. 

Clearly, this wasn't the most realistic scene, not to mention the fact that the mustang colliding with the bridge supports caused the tank to flip over. 

Link to scene below

Fast & Furious 6 (Dom saves Letty).mp4

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