I had a lot of theories in High School, most based on movie cliches that I planned on living my life in order to avoid, just in case. Many of them were time-travel related, and at least a couple of them I think ended up appearing as my HS yearbook quote, one of the many reasons why I haven’t looked through that thing since I got to college. Nonetheless, the one that perhaps best caught on with my group of friends, and the one which seemed the most urgent and logical at the time, was one summarized in two simple words;
I never understood why action stars and other potential auto victims in movies never responded to the threat of oncoming cars like this. They’d either try to run away (which unless you’re the Flash, rarely works out advantageously), try to return fire (better, but still risky–bulletproof glass, lack of bullets, or they could just duck) or simply stand there and scream (the most popular option, albeit the one with the least potential upside). But why didn’t they just jump up? Most cars aren’t that tall. Plan for it, get a good running start, and boom–you’re still running away, and with momentum on your side, but your assailant has to go through the trouble of turning his car around and gearing up for round two (if the frustration of missing in his first attempt hasn’t already completely dissuaded him from his mission).
Long had I searched for confirmation that this was indeed a viable action film strategem in the making.
And indeed, I essentially received such confirmation in the form of the Steven Seagal and DMX classic star vehicle Exit Wounds, in which Mr. Seagal essentially just Jumps Up to evade a looming auto attack. But it wasn’t quite perfect–the car had already had its top stripped off earlier in the scene, making Steven’s still-Herculean jump seem not quite so impressive, and it was filmed and edited in such a way that you don’t actually quite see him attempt, clear and land the jump beyond a shadow of a doubt (though, believe me, I don’t question for a second that Mr. Seagal could perform such a stunt, and that he even does it regularly off-camera just for kicks).
Nonetheless, it was not until Kobe Bryant decided to film some of his extra-curricular activities that my theory was proven beyond question. Against the advice and better judgment of teammate and confidante Ronny Turiaf (and when one of the NBA’s All-Big-Goofy-Backup First Team is acting as your voice of reason, you know you’re about to act a damn fool), Kobe laces up his Nikes and Jumps Up–from a standstill, no less–over a driving Aston Martin. And he clears it beautifully, even sticking the landing.
Most amazing to me here is the fact that Kobe was clearly as big a proponent of this theory as I was, because there’s simply no other explanation as to why he would attempt such a stunt. I guess you could say it’s the beginning of a burgeoning cross-promotion with Nike, but honestly, how much more money, publicity and air-time could they possibly give to Kobe without him qualifying as a shareholder? Plus, could you imagine the consequences if Kobe had mistimed his jump only slighlty? “Sorry, Coach Jackson (Phil?), won’t be up for playing in the post-season this year, YouTube was calling me.” Kevin Brown and Joel Zumaya’s lame DL trips would suddenly make them seem like amputees by comparison. Let it never be said that Kobe Bryant was a man who feared tempting fate.
Anyway, this clip alone should make the race for the NBA MVP a total moot point. Let’s see Chris Paul try to jump a motorcycle onto a moving train or LeBron James deflect a rocket with a lunch tray before we re-open discussions on that one.