We all know that movie physics are not real physics. This goes double when it comes to motorcycles.
Think about every movie you’ve ever seen that has motorcycles in it. None of it is real, and it rarely makes any sense at all. We all know the Bat Cycle was an absolute bear to ride. The Mission Impossible motorcycle scenes were just crazy. Remember the Matrix? Okay maybe that doesn’t count because they were all demonstrably outside reality.
This movie, the latest in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, is “Hobbs and Shaw.” Generally speaking, the F&F movies have been seriously outside the bounds of physics, and if you get caught up in the Hollywood impossibilities, well, the movies can be pretty stupid. Suspend your disbelief and they’re just fun with fast cars and motorcycles, and lots of explosions. This one has a motorcycle that, bafflingly, rotates in the middle just to… +checks notes+... ride underneath a tractor-trailer? If you think about that for longer than the scene takes, the entire concept makes no sense at all! So we are trained not to think about it.
I wonder if Hollywood is doing us motorcyclists a disservice, and has been forever? First it was Marlon Brando in “The Wild One,” where they painted us all as criminals. Life imitates art, and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Motorcyclists are portrayed in movies as criminals, and people who want to convey that image dress like the bikers in the movies, and buy the bikes the badasses in the movies ride.
Let’s also look at the way motorcycle crashes happen in movies. Have you ever thought about that? I have, probably too much. Because injury is a bummer, the movie stars who crash motorcycles on screen do so with relative impunity. We don’t see the real result of a motorcycle crash, and haven’t since the original “Mad Max.” Everyone slides a bike down the road while wearing street clothes and then hops up, brushes themselves off, and continues on with their lives.
You and I both know, that that is never how it really goes. But does the general non-motorcyclist movie-going public know that? You know, the ones who threaten to knock us off our bikes, or door us in traffic? All they’ve ever seen, when it comes to motorcycle crashes, is movies in which the protagonist gets tossed off his motorcycle consequence-free. They don’t stop to consider that dooring us in traffic is going to have some seriously injurious consequences, both to our bodies, our bikes, and their doors. In my experience, very few people stop to really think through the consequences of any kind of motorcycle crash, sometimes even those of us who ride the things.
Is it because in every movie we ever see, motorcycle crashes don’t hurt people? I bet you can think of a ton of movies where sliding or crashing a motorcycle doesn’t even bloody the hero, even when he’s wearing a business suit and no gloves. And that’s the only place most people on this planet ever see a motorcycle crash.
Of course, this does not mean I'm not going to go see "Hobbs & Shaw" when it comes out, because I so am.