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Hollywood MythBusters - TASER Edition

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It should come as no surprise that Hollywood doesn’t always nail their portrayals of real-life scenarios. In fact, reality is normally cast aside to create the exaggerated, action-packed movie scenes that viewers have come to adore. Let’s look at some of the WORST Hollywood depictions of a TASER weapon’s capabilities:

The Hangover (2009)

Though absolutely hysterical in its delivery, the scene in which Zach Galifianakis’s character is exposed to a TASER device is inaccurate in its portrayal. First, the dispersion of the TASER X26C’s probes doesn't correspond with the firing distance - the spread should be much larger than is depicted. 

Furthermore, aiming for the face with a follow-up contact stun to take down one of the “big boys” – while hilarious – would not be effective at knocking down a subject due to the lack of major skeletal muscles in the area. Basically, he would have been in a world of hurt but wouldn’t have been knocked over like a piñata as seen in the film. 

As far as needing a little extra juice to take down “some of the big boys,” TASER devices have actually been shown to be effective on bears, moose, and deer with proper spread – assuming you’re crazy enough to want to get that close to a bear.

Cop Out (2010)

This instance of inconsistency doesn’t direct involve a TASER product - however, Cop Out perpetuates the common misconception that a stun gun can fully incapacitate a target just as a TASER weapon would. 

In the film, Bruce Willis’s character is jabbed in the ribs by a contact only stun gun and subsequently drops to the floor unable to move. A stun gun, unlike a TASER, delivers ONLY pain to a target, meaning the bodily reaction from Willis’s character was tremendously exaggerated. Though in the film Willis’s character struggles on the floor to even unholster his sidearm, in actuality, he should have been able to overcome the brief pain to subdue his attackers.

Battleship (2012)

Battleship isn’t exactly praised as a film. The motion picture was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards (including worst picture, worst director, and worst screenplay) and the film’s portrayal of a TASER exposure probably should have earned the film its seventh "worst” nomination. 

In the movie, Taylor Kitsch’s character can be seen breaking into a convenience store to acquire ONE chicken burrito and, as he flees the crime scene, Kitsch is hit by a responding officer’s TASER weapon. As the hero – instead of a creepy drunk guy who just broke into and destroyed a convenience store – Kitsch uses the power of love to fight through the effects of the TASER device and deliver his token of love – ONE chicken burrito – to the leading lady. 

In the real world, a nice shot to the back – which is where a good amount of skeletal muscles resides – on a fit man would more probably lead to a high-pitched scream before falling to the ground, without the perfectly-timed smile to the camera. 

Additionally, the following scene depicts large welts on the back of Kitsch’s character, presumably left by the officer’s TASER device - this, once again, isn’t true. TASER probes leave small wounds similar in size to vaccine shots or IVs.

That wraps up our list of inaccurate TASER device cameos on the big screen. Do you have any box-office favorites showcasing a TASER device that we missed? Be sure to let us know on Twitter or Facebook! (@tasercivilian)

Also, stay tuned for a follow-up blog post covering TASER device appearances in film that DO accurately portray the effects of an exposure!

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