Whether accidentally or as an Improvised Weapon
, the nozzle of a pressurized gas cylinder is easily broken off in fiction. When this happens, the canister will go shooting away like a rocket, blasting itself into the air and smashing through any thing (or anyone) unfortunate enough to be in its way. Sometimes this serves as an attack or a battering ram; occasionally, a reckless character will actually ride the thing
Less credible, but still common, is a gas cylinder being ruptured by a gunshot and possibly shooting off like a missile. Whether this results in a Gas Cylinder Rocket
or merely Stuff Blowing Up
generally depends on whether the target it's being used against is right next to it or somewhere up ahead
Both variations are partially Truth in Television
. The valve is
the most fragile component of a pressurized gas cylinder, and the gas inside does
store more than enough energy to hurl the cylinder around the room. For just this reason, gas cylinders are supposed to have a protective cap screwed over the valve at all times when not actually in use. However, breaking the valve isn't exactly easy, and punching a hole in the cylinder itself is much, much harder. A gunshot may not even make a dent (depending, of course, on the tank, the gun, and the round).
Sister trope to Aerosol Flamethrower
. Subtrope of Improvised Weapon
and Explosive Propulsion
. Compare Recoil Boost
, which uses More Dakka
for propulsion instead of compressed gas.
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- In Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy launches a series of scuba tanks at Jason when they're battling at the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake.
- Bronson in Street Trash is killed when a gas cylinder is send flying his way, and it removes his head.
- There is a literal variation in SpaceCamp that is definitely not Played for Laughs. After Andie is successful in supplying the space shuttle Atlantis with an extra supply of oxygen, she forgets to turn off the oxygen tank when she takes the hose off, which results in the oxygen tank rocketing backwards with her holding on to it, until she gets knocked unconscious from running into the side of the ship.
- In Jumanji, Peter creates a rocket sled in a sporting goods store by strapping two scuba tanks to a canoe, and then breaking the ends off by dropping a barbell on them.
- In Chain Reaction, Eddie chops the valve off a tank of hydrogen gas to shove open a safety door so he and Dr. Sinclair can escape.
- In Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed, Scooby uses a fire extinguisher to freeze a monster and then ride it around on the frozen monster like a snowboard. He then kicks off the end of the extinguisher and rides it briefly like a rocket.
- Averted in Jaws, when the gas canister merely explodes rather than takes off (but see Mythbusters example below).
- An unlucky victim in the fourth Final Destination movie is struck by one of these and slammed into a chain-link fence with enough force to turn his back into chunks.
- In Transporter 2, Frank pushes a hospital cart with a gas cylinder on it into Lola's path, then throws a chemical carboy into the light fixture above it. The collapse of the fixture knocks the nozzle off the cylinder and sets its gas on fire, causing it to shoot down the hallway and blow up right next to Lola.
- In Chapter 40-2 of We're Alive, Victor shoots a scuba tank that a Little One had become entangled with, sending the tank and Little One skidding across the street at high velocity.
- Liquid nitrogen tanks have pressure relief valves for a reason, folks.
... the force of the explosion was directed upward and propelled the cylinder, sans bottom, through the concrete ceiling of the lab into the mechanical room above. It struck two 3 inch water mains and drove them and the electrical wiring above them into the concrete roof of the building, cracking it.
- There's a welding safety poster floating around out there showing a mostly demolished building, with Those Two Guys standing around outside remarking, "Looks like Bob forgot to secure his oxygen canister again."