By: Riccardo M
Around the world, different types of stunts are performed, and each with a high level of danger. Unimaginable heights, mind-blowing speed and a whole lot of adrenaline are the highlights of such risky endeavours. These incredible events range from flying around tall mountains, to racing down some of the steepest, natural slopes with a pair of skis on. Of course, none of them are safe.
Let’s take a look at skiing and how it has experienced a revolution, making it regarded as an extreme sport. Nowadays, many stuntmen challenge the rocky and snowy walls of some of the most frightening mountains in the world. It was a Slovenian ski instructor that was the first to ski without interruption on Mount Everest. It took this man 5 hours to ski from the 29,035-foot point where he initially was to the base camp, located at 17,500 feet, therefore, being able to speed down 11,535 feet without ever being swept away by the vicious snow. This, as a reminder, all occurred on the completely untouched and undiscovered slopes of Mount Everest.
As well as this, wingsuit flying is another practiced sport around the world, probably one of the most dangerous to exist. This extreme sport generally consists of jumping off of a steep cliff and gliding down towards the hill tops with nothing more than a suit with artificial wings on it. A Chilean wingsuit pilot was able to jump out of a plane and hit his desired objective in flight: a 2-meter-wide Chilean flag. The flag was attached to the top of an extinct volcano in Chile but Sebastian Alvarez was able to make it. The stunt was filmed by many cameras including the one attached to his helmet the entire time.
Seeing how stunts have become increasingly popular, it is evident how they have developed a commercial purpose in action movies. Many modern-day action films include mind-blowing stunts, one of the most famous examples being Mission: Impossible. Tom Cruise goes against an overwhelming challenge by climbing a part of the 830-meter-tall Burj Khalifa. This gives us an explicit idea of how much the creators of such films might spend, and risk, when making their actors perform these incredible stunts. Stunts have almost become franchises that always raise the expectations of new action movies that come out continually.
But we mustn’t forget to consider wheels when touching such a vast topic. Both motorbikes and cars fall under the category of stunts and, although they might not include unimaginable heights, they still do produce a considerable sense of danger. Hot Wheels for example, in 2011, wanted to break the world record for longest jump with a 4-wheel vehicle. It ended up flying a distance of 332 feet to then land in the pride of glory. Rhys Millen also attempted to make stunt history by trying to achieve success for the second time after having broken his vertebrae in a car stunt. In his vehicle, he was able to rotate 360 degrees in the air, even though it cost him another hazardous landing, but, fortunately for him, without any broken bones.
We can clearly see how “extreme” stunts vary and how each one of them, in one way or another, does present a risk for the stuntman. Yet, stunts have become so internationally popular that they are now being portrayed in action or science-fiction movies in different forms. With technology progressing each day, there will surely be other amazing, future stunts that we will be able to see, maybe even more dangerous than the ones we already know of.