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10 Movie Motorcycle Stunts That Are Impossible in Real Life
Hollywood is known for fiddling with the truth—in their defense, they are famous for telling stories. Be it the number of six-packs and flat butts on the beaches of America, the time it takes a person to work out their inner demons and develop into a good parent, or even the optional laws of physics—it is all relative in Tinseltown.
Ignoring the countless times that keys are left in the ignition or the monstrous mismatch of sounds used for certain motorcycle engines, here are ten of the most impossible motorcycle scenes you will find in films. And yes, I know it’s the movies and not meant to be accurate, but still…
Spoiler alert ahead!
10 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
John Wick, expertly portrayed by Keanu Reeves, has been gallantly slaying his foes since we were forced to sit through the burial of his beloved doggo Daisy. Although it is well known that Reeves is one of the most-liked stars who appear on the silver screen, not too many people know that he is a motorcycle enthusiast, even starting a motorcycle company as a passion project.
It is clear, however, that he left his experience of motorcycles in the hands of CGI stunt coordinators, hoping to thrill rather than nail the literal landing. The chase scene starts off as relatively believable, with John hounded by the world’s assassins. He punches and shoots his way through would-be attackers until his match pulls up next to him.
He then proceeds to stick his sword through the spokes of a speeding bike—an impossible move unless you are Spiderman who can shoot the wings off a fly—causing the bike to flip…backward? Even if it were possible to force a sword between the spokes, there is no logical explanation for the backflip. Almost as impossible as getting over the death of that dog. Why couldn’t it have just been his kid?
9 The Matrix Reloaded
In the second installment of the trilogy (I guess we should stop calling it a trilogy now?), the Wachowskis got to unleash the power of the One. Neo, the aptly named anagram, unleashes all hell on the agents of the matrix. However, it is the chase scene involving his love, Trinity, that bumps the film onto this list.
In a breathless chase through the streets of the matrix, Trinity attempts to save the Keymaker and keep the prophecy alive. At full tilt, she manages to drive a Ducati 996 off a moving truck with the Keymaker holding on for dear life, landing the bike in front of the moving truck with both driver and passenger safely on board before weaving her way through traffic.
This is impossible for three reasons: (1) Most people would have an anxiety attack and pass out. (2) A superbike would snap in half carrying two people if dropped from that height. And then there is (3)—a police car would never, in all the years of this planet, gain on a superbike on a highway.
8 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
After winning multiple Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia titles, Arnie went on to terminate the late eighties/early nineties and has not shown signs of letting up.
In one of his earlier renditions of the famed death machine, he chases down a truck in one of the most memorable motorcycle scenes in all of cinema history. It starts out with John Connor’s frustrating inability to lose an eighteen-wheeler on a scrambler. Then, enter the terminator and his Harley Davidson Fatboy. He follows the chase until he joins the fray by flying off the overpass, two stories high, before landing with nothing but a few sparks.
Considering the curb weight of the bike—around 322 kilograms (710 pounds)—and the combined weight of Schwarzenegger and little John, you have yourself one heavy mix of machinery likely to collapse like a poorly built Lego bridge from that height.
7 The Dark Knight
When Batman does something, he makes it look cool. That should be an excuse to do whatever he damn well pleases, shouldn’t it? We will allow Batman some artistic freedom (side-spinning wheels). However, some of the maneuvers defy Newton’s well-known theories.
Ignoring the thick tires that would make it almost impossible to turn, or the cape likely to be sucked under the wheels like dollar bills into a vending machine, turning Batman into, well, Splatman—the most unfeasible stunt would be the method used to bring the Batcycle to a halt. Driving up the wall, turning the motorcycle mid-air, and then landing it safely. It’s the great-looking, impossible stunt we deserve, not the one we need.
6 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Apart from James Spader making his Marvel debut as the voice of an all-knowing talking robot—not a far cry from his usual roles—Age of Ultron has gone down as the least successful Avengers movie in terms of box office returns. Yet it still managed a massive $1.4 billion global return.
It features a bike chase through the streets of Sokovia, the fictional European city within the MCU. The Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johannsen, makes an impression as a motorcycle expert, managing to do tricks with the two-wheeler no mortal human could. After being dropped from the sky onto her Project LiveWire Harley, which doesn’t shatter on impact—a superhero landing—she effortlessly glides her electric horse through the streets before dropping onto her side, bike clutched between her legs, skidding under a truck with no effort, no damage to the bike, and no chafed knees.
Shortly after that, she does what is called a “stoppie,” which involves pulling on the front brakes as hard as possible, lifting the back wheel of the bike, and putting it down safely. A stoppie is actually a less effective way of coming to a standstill as the brakes are in the air. It’s possible, but anybody who would know how to slide their motorcycle under a gasoline tanker should know not to show off when the chips are down. The fact that she also drops the clutch on an electric motorcycle might physically hurt some enthusiasts.
5 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Much like many child stars’ film careers, what starts out as a realistic showpiece turns into somewhat of a cinematic nightmare. A casual motocross race on a purpose-built track, where an array of stuntmen do unnecessary tricks considering they are racing, but heck, it’s all fun and games. Enter the bad man, loaded with a knife boot and gun prowess that would put any redneck to shame.
He launches into what’s called a kiss of death and then does what no sane (or living) person would do—he lets go of the handlebars. There is more. He somehow draws two guns mid-air, shoots, and regains the flying death bike before landing safely. Not happening in real life. Shortly after that, we also see a very soulful Diaz launching off her seat safely onto a stationary bike conveniently held upright and pointing in the right direction for no apparent reason, ready for round two.
The racers are surprisingly nonchalant about people dying and motorcycles exploding. You know, like it should be with any serious motocross race.
4 Tomorrow Never Dies
As evident in many Bond films, 007 is no slouch when it comes to riding a bike. He is, however, known for pushing the envelope slightly with regard to what is possible. Like many of the films on the list, the scene starts out somewhat believable. However, as evident from the sound engineers that deemed it fit to attach a noise resembling that of a 50cc lawnmower to a BMW R1200C Cruiser, as used in this film, there are many flaws. It kicks off with our heroes’ hands cuffed together, dashing their way through the crowd. Unable to steer, they devise a master plan to allow one to control the clutch and the other to control the throttle and brake—an implausible solution, but not impossible.
The big no-no happens after they manage to dodge hundreds of bullets and avoid hitting any pedestrians. They find themselves on top of a building being chased by a helicopter. They accelerate, bursting through the concrete balustrades and over the spinning death blade of the flying helicopter, only to fall straight through the roof on the opposite side in a still-standing straight-up position. No more forward momentum, no broken bones or shattered skulls, and most importantly, no damage to the bike. Not bad for the second-best Bond of all time.
3 Knight and Day
Tom Cruise is well known as one of the people in Hollywood who do most, if not all, of their stunts. He has defied death and broken bones, all in the name of realism. And a reputation for being a badass in an industry that isn’t known for churning out real-life badasses.
Knight and Day is a fast-paced film that plays out across the world. It is in Spain during the running of the bulls where our heroes achieve the impossible. On his Ducati, Cruise and Diaz whizz their way between trains, people, and stampeding bulls, until the grand face-off with the master of all bulls in a small alley not meant for bikes or bulls.
They manage to dodge the rampaging bull by turning the bike onto one wheel and spinning it around, only to repeat the move on the back wheel and then, you guessed it, another spin on the front. The football equivalent of what I can only assume is called a triple-lunge 360, all while managing impeccable clutch control and keeping his lass stuck to his back. Marvelous what you can do with CGI—Cruise Going Insane.
2 Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
The G.I. Joe who has been mute since 1964 has finally found his voice. In the scene, the one they call Snake Eyes had just angered a bunch of peeps hell-bent on taking him down. A few cars and three bikers chase him down a long straight then through a tunnel for cinematic effect.
He proceeds to do what every good biker should be able to do (*wink wink*), he releases the handlebars, essentially taking his hand off the throttle and brake, then turns in his seat to face backward. Two of the bikers close in on him as he draws his sword, ready to sting, and without breaking a sweat, he does a flip over their attack, landing safely on his bike and slashing his blade through the middle of the third driver’s machine. He quickly accelerates for a few seconds in time to avoid being smashed by the car behind him. Child’s play, right?
Oh, Snake, what would the Joes do without you?
1 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The Rock’s projects are the modern, slightly buffer variation of Touched by an Angel. Only, in his version, everything he touches turns to solid gold. Let’s face it, whether you love the movies or not, a franchise spanning 10 films and still raking in the big bucks need not change its recipe. Nor do they have to apply to realism school.
The scene goes: (1) dispute, (2) typical chase scene involving a few twists and turns, (3) ridiculous wall jump brought on by shooting wheel spokes, (4) driving over cars like they are opossums on their way to council the wise owl, and (5) turn bike into the world’s largest onyx vibrator and slither your way through the slightest of gaps ever seen on film, all the while not even remaining on the bike for the duration of the scene. Now that was exhausting. The most unrealistic form of bike cinema you will ever see, one that would make any motorhead’s motor head spin.
Now, if I can just get the Rock to touch a few things in and around my apartment, that would be dandy.