This is my third time watching MI3 but the first time I have seen it in a new light, from a more physics oriented point of view. Throughout the viewing, I was watching scenes as if for the first time, analyzing each and every aspect to form questions based around physics and if the physics of the film were plausible or standard Hollywood flare. I would like to start off with the scene during the second heist of the movie, the Shanghai sky-rise. Ethan Hunt must procure the mysterious item known only as "The Rabbit's Foot", if he does not acquire this item in the next two hours his wife will be killed by the film's antagonist, Owen Davian. "The Rabbit's Foot" is being held in a 162 meter tall building with armed guards on the roof, Ethan's only solution is to swing from the neighboring building, which is 226 meters tall, using a fulcrum. The buildings are 47.55 meters apart and against his team's warnings, Ethan plans to attempt this swing. My question to this scene is, "Would he actually make the swing or fall to his death after bouncing off of the building?" To analyze this scene we must look at the different quantities in play, luckily the movie provides us with the heights of the buildings and the distance between them. More information that would be helpful is the length of the rope, how high Ethan was from the top of the target building, and how far he fell before the swing took place. To find the length of the rope I subtracted the two building's heights to get a rope with a length of 64 meters at least but with enough extra rope to swing with so I say about 69 meters long. Next is how far Ethan fell before the swing began can be seen in the planning of the jump, he jumps at an angle equal to the height of the target building, putting the distance at 64 meters. As for finding the height of Ethan at the end of the swing I analyzed the movie scene multiple times looking at the distance he fell and how long it took him to hit the glass, from what I could surmise he fell approximately 3 meters.
The next stunt scene in question for me is the infamous bridge scene. I chose to question 2 specific stunts from this high octane action oriented scene. It opens up with Ethan and his team escorting Owen Davian to custody when they are ambushed by an unmanned drone armed with rockets. Many cars are destroyed and even a portion of the bridge. Tactical teams come in by helicopter to get Owen Davian out of C.I.A. custody. After their S.U.V. is flipped Ethan must scramble to retrieve the automatic weapon in the back. As he is getting the gun the drone fires a rocket at him, without a second to lose he grabs the gun and flees from the truck only seconds before it is destroyed, he is close enough to the blast that it knocks him sideways into a nearby car. My question is, would it be possible for him to be knocked to the side of the blast instead of forward towards the camera? Quantities needed to answer would be as follows, how far was he away from the exploding truck, how far was Ethan from the car, and the angle at which the missile hit. To find out how far he was I took his height (5'7 or 1.72 meters) and multiplied it by 1.35 (average runner's stride) to get 2.32 meters per stride, multiply that by 8 (the number of strides he took and you get 18.56 meters away from the truck. After analyzing the film clip further I can estimate that Ethan was about 2 meters away from the car that he slammed into, I came to this conclusion when looking at Ethan's height and using it for measurement between his initial position and the car. As for the angle that the missile struck the S.U.V. I rewound the clip to when Ethan spotted the missile then watched the impact in slow motion. The missile was heading straight on towards the drivers front door at about a 55 degree angle judging from the base of the bridge. Taking all this into account, Ethan should not have been thrown sideways into the car but instead forward, this can also be concluded by watching the debris surrounding him going in a completely different direction.
The final action clip I will be questioning is contained in the same scene as the previous, Ethan is now chasing after Davian's helicopter with the automatic weapon but there is a large hole in the bridge that he must cross, he tosses his gun, sprints and then takes a daring leap across the gap just barely making it across. My question is, could he have really made that jump? A quantity to take into consideration would be the distance of the gap. To find out how wide the gap was I used the overturned car in the background as reference. from what we see in the clip the gap is about as wide as the vehicle, the vehicle appears to be another S.U.V. from this we can say that the gap that Ethan nearly cleared was about 5 meters. This distance of a jump can be done by the average male if in pique physical condition. I believe this jump could have been completed by Ethan Hunt.