Saturday, June 11, 2005

Various weapons BS in movies and tv

I'm not sure what got me thinking about this, but let's go.

You're probably familiar with this mess. A gun comes out and all kinds of noises happen. Think of the opening of The Matrix; the cops burst in on the girl(Trinity?) and you hear the clack-clack of slides working and clicks of safeties going off or hammers being cocked. Problem is they're carrying Glocks; no safety or hammer to make noises and nobody is working a slide.

Or somebody draws a revolver and you hear click-clack, but the hammer's not cocked, and that would only make one click anyway. Or someone raises a rifle and you hear a virtual chorus of metal crickets chirping, even though both hands are on the thing.

And of course we can't pass by on the volume levels. Some people have a close-range shootout in an office, firing about, oh, 30 to 50 rounds, and afterward none of them have a problem hearing.

And they have those miraculous shotguns and rifles that can be fired without any recoil or muzzle rise or any effect. Must be either some new way to manipulate physics, or magic.

The big one here is beating swords on each other. There were some swords, late period, made for sword-against-sword use; they generally left the bottom third of the blade- the area used for parrying- blunt. Parrying with a sharp edge will mess it up, nick and chip it, so leave that section thick. But broadswords?

Think about two things. First, a sword is primarily an offensive weapon, and if you're using it to block blows you can't use it to attack. The age-old answer to this is a shield; carry it on one arm and your sword in the other hand, and you can defend and attack at the same time. Second, a decent sword was expensive; we're talking premium battle-rifle price here. Every time you strike two swords together one or both of them is taking damage, often damage that can't be repaired. Small nicks can be polished out, same for a small chip, but a big, deep nick is there permanently, and if very deep weakens the blade; in extreme cases it can cause it to crack or break at the next hard shock. So you tried hard not do do that.

But in Hollywood? You can beat them against each other and everything is nice and shiny afterward. Must be some really special metal. Or magic again.

The firearms crap? They don't care about accuracy for the most part, they just want to throw in noises for dramatic effect.

With swords/axes? It's lots easier to set up a scene where only one piece is involved, as opposed to a weapon in one hand and shield on the other arm; it takes time to learn to work both properly, so to an extent I understand the problem. But it still irritates me that, at least for some things, they can't take the time to work it out properly.

Note: yes, I know there were cultures, Japan for instance, that specifically worked sword-on-sword combat; I'm not talking about them. I will also note that, from what I understand, Japanese styles emphasized deflecting parries, so as to keep the damage to the blade minimal. If other information is available, I'd be glad of it.


Ozarks Nick said...

And to add to your comments. Sounds with swords. The first time I became aware of this was in the second Matrix movie. They're having that major blade-weapons fight in the foyer of that mansion (after they rescued the keymaker) and all the blades are making this steely-whoosy sound. I've noticed that now every movie with a sword fight that I've seen after that has those same types sound effects. Annoying.

chaos said...

I would just like to add that if your sword is made by one of those elven people, might stand up to sword on sword battle and even glow blue when those orc things are around. =P

og said...

The gun sounds are an annoyance of mine as well.

yes, those sword-on-sword battles must be with swords made of Unobtainium.

TriggerFinger said...

A note on Japanese sword styles...

First, it's probably not accurate to say that Japanese styles emphasized sword-on-sword contact; without a shield it was certainly a factor, but you did not want to mess up your heirloom katana with unnecessary sword-on-sword contact. The ideal defense would be to move your own body out of the way of the attack just enough to avoid it, and simultaneously strike true with your own sword.

When a parry was necessary, minimal-force was again the guiding principle. Guide the attack away (deflection), step out of line of the attack physically so that you are not vulnerable when you remove your blade from the contact, and strike as your attacker exposes himself.

The metallurgy of the katana blade is a good match for this ideal. The blade is single-edged, and the edge itself is extremely hard. As you move back from the edge of the blade, the metal thickens and grows both softer and more flexible. A deflecting parry would use the flat or back of the blade, which was designed for this use, rather than the edge.

Firehand said...

Thanks, Trigger. That's about what I remembered, but it was a while back that I'd studied the matter so I was a bit fuzzy.

Firehand said...

And I would like a sword that glows blue. Except that would mean there are orcs around, and that would mean there were orcs to be around, and I'm not sure how much 00 buck I have handy.