Debunking Famous Movie Car Scenes: Are they real?

Movies have always pushed the boundaries of what is real and what isn’t, and action movies are one of the leaders in that field. Action movies are known for their thrilling scenes and buildup, and one of the most iconic parts of this genre of movies is the car scenes. From high-speed chases to impossible stunts, Hollywood has done it all. With that being said, not all of these scenes are based on reality. Many of them are just myths created by the directors of Hollywood. So, what is real and what isn’t? We will be breaking down just that!

Drifting Makes You Faster

Drifting is popular in rally racing and the like and involves intentionally oversteering the car to cause the rear wheels to lose traction and slide sideways through corners. It has become a staple of action movies, with characters often using drifting to gain an edge in high-speed chases. However, the reality is that drifting does not make you faster. It slows you down! When you drift, you lose traction, and your car's speed decreases. While it may look cool on screen, in real life, it's not a practical driving technique and can put you in great danger if you are not a professional driver.

One famous movie involving drifting is Initial D, where the main character Takumi drives a Mazda RX-7. The movie makes it seem like Takumi's drifting was what made him the fastest driver on the mountain pass, but in reality, his superior driving skills and knowledge of the course were what gave him the edge. While drifting may be useful in certain situations, it is not a reliable (or safe) way to gain speed.

AI Cars

The 2020s have seen a rise in the use of voice assistants in cars. These help with ease of access, allowing you to control your vehicle with different voice commands. Hollywood arguably came up with this idea but in a different light. These cars in movies have artificial intelligence, which can learn and react on its own. (Hypothetically) That means in Hollywood, AI cars can do much, much more than their real-life counterparts, such as performing incredible stunts or cracking funny jokes. Some cars in the real world may be able to drive themselves, but they are not yet capable of performing crazy jumps or driving at high speeds without a human driver behind the wheel.

The favorite among most AI cars in cinema is KITT from the Knight Rider series. KITT was portrayed as a highly intelligent car that could perform stunts and even talk to its driver. While KITT may have been game-changing for its time, it was still limited by the technology available during that period. In reality, AI cars are still in the early stages of development, and while they may be able to drive themselves, they are not even close to the same level that KITT was on.

Hot-Wiring Cars

In movies, we often see characters hot-wiring cars to get them started quickly and get them out of sticky situations. While this may seem like a useful skill to have, it is not as easy as it looks. Most modern cars have sophisticated anti-theft systems that make hot-wiring nearly impossible. Attempting to hot-wire a car can damage the vehicle's electrical system, making it even harder to start. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to start a car quickly, your best bet is to use a spare key or call a locksmith.

One of my favorite movie hot-wiring scenes has to be in Dante’s Peak. Played by Pierce Brosnan, Harry Dalton, a scientist is actively trying to escape an active volcano with his girlfriend’s family. The group stumbles upon an old utility truck as a heavy lava flow is headed down the mountain, and Harry is able to hot-wire the car in about 30 seconds. This is just another example of the magic of Hollywood.

Bulletproof Cars

Bulletproof cars are a common trope in action movies. We often see characters driving around in indestructible vehicles that can withstand a wide array of bullets. While bulletproof cars do exist, they are not as invincible as Hollywood makes them out to be. Most bulletproof cars are designed to withstand small-arm fire, but they are not indestructible. In fact, even the most heavily armored cars can be penetrated by high-powered weapons.

Arguably one of the most famous bulletproof cars in movie history is the one used by James Bond. In the movie, No Time to Die Bond's car was equipped with all sorts of gadgets, including bulletproof glass and reinforced body panels protecting him from just about everything. While it may have been impressive on screen, in reality, even the most advanced bulletproof cars have their limits.


Exploding Gas Tanks

In movies, we sometimes see cars exploding into fireballs after being shot or crashing. While this may look cool and dangerous on screen, it is not based on reality. This often occurs when a bullet hits a gas tank, igniting the gasoline in the tank on fire. However, this is strictly fiction. Gas tanks are designed to be safe in the event of an accident. Most are made of high-strength materials that are designed to withstand impact and prevent leaks. Even if a gas tank were to leak, it would not explode into a fireball as we see in movies.

One of the most famous exploding gas tank scenes in movie history is from the movie Die Hard 2. John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, shoots the fuel trail of a jet plane, causing it to explode into a massive fireball. This is one of the cooler scenes in movie history, but sadly it is rooted in fiction. With that being said, it does not take away from the badassness of John McClane one bit.