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Feb 20th 2018 at 4:09:41 PM •••

The wording on Clint Eastwood’s entry seems to imply that old school American western are superior to spaghetti western. This is a debatable opinion. The very use of the “Improbable Aiming Skills” trope is a feature of spaghetti western and not a flaw. Remember that tropes are not a negative thing.

Jun 22nd 2017 at 6:21:27 PM •••

Why is Lars Andersen considered a "Real Life" example? His trick shots are entertaining, sure, but there's nothing to suggest that his archery skills are anywhere good; in fact, those familiar with the sport will soon recognize the flaws on his claims, which are dishonest to the uninitiated because his moves are flashy and pompous, and may seem impressive for those without a grasp of techniques and forms.

Andersen’s quick-shooting technique is obviously effective (if speed is the goal), in that he is able to fire a lot of arrows at a very rapid pace. However, his gimmick is speed, not accuracy, and it’s obvious to those with some background on archery that he completely lacks any kind of consistent form, which in turn is going to require camera tricks and a lot of luck, which is exactly what’s on display there. He may in fact be the fastest archer in the world - he just shouldn’t pretend to be accurate.

The Myth Busters revisited the whole “a wooden arrow can be split in half through a direct hit in the tail by another arrow”, too. The conclusion? Even after multiple direct hits on a solid wood arrow with the bone nock removed, a tail-to-tip split could not be achieved. It took an arrow made of hollow bamboo to create the splitting effect seen in movies. With a normal arrow, the second one will follow the grain, which will lead to the side before it makes it to the end. Their test also revealed that an arrow fired from a traditional bow wobbles in the air enough that it won’t hit the end of the arrow straight. Likewise, in order to shoot an already-in-midair arrow and split it in half, a series of preparations must be met: 1) the arrow being shot at would necessarily have to be pointless, which would require shooting from a distance of about 10 feet or less (an arrow without a point will decelerate quickly, and has no practical use unless this exact “trick shot”); 2) as stated above, in order to get the arrow to split, it has to be a custom one, made from bamboo and hollow, explicitly for this purpose; 3) all of Andersen’s tricks require equipment modifications, careful camerawork and editing.

Careful observation will reveal a camera cut between Andersen’s firing and the close-up of the arrow supposedly splitting. The second arrow was obviously shot from only a few feet away and was prepped to split. As for the supposed shooting at an oncoming arrow, he may have eventually hit an arrow fired over his head (not at him), but again, it wouldn’t have split, and in fact it probably didn’t. It looks like the arrow was deflected, then he picked up broken pieces already on the floor.

Here is the reason why I’m directly citing the video that was responsible for his fame: the fact that after I saw his other video a couple years ago, I could find nothing on him on the net. No live shows, no people talking about seeing him do things, none of him explaining his methods, ANYTHING. Kind of like the guys on You Tube that do all kinds of basketball trick shots that are insane, but admit it takes thousands of shots and don’t go around saying they reinvented the lost art of basketball and that this way of basketball is more practical. Everyone thinks what he does is pretty neat but when he goes around saying its better, more practical, and all this junk there’s no other reasonable answer than to call BS.

I'm not even going to discuss the historical claims on his videos, because that's a whole different discussion altogether.

TL;DR: Lars Andersen is an impressively fast shooter, but there’s no reason to list him under Real Life examples of Improbable Aiming Skills because there’s zero evidence to even suggest that he actually does possess them at any degree.

Edited by LordJokester Hide/Show Replies
Aug 7th 2017 at 1:59:50 AM •••

While all the above are certainly valid, there is slow-motion video of him hitting one of those things on soda cans that are designed to open it (I forget the name of them).

Throwing it into the air, loading and firing his bow, and hitting a less-than-coin-sized target before it hits the ground is more than qualification for improbable aiming skills and Quick Draw. Moreover, he does this while the target is freefall, whereas most archers shooting at small targets either have said target being stationary, or at the apex of its arc and thus not travelling especially fast.

He definitely qualifies for Improbable Aiming Skills as a result. He probably also falls under Artistic License – History, but that should not detract from his moving and moving-target accuracy feats.

Lastly, let me direct you to 5:37 to 5:40 of the video. Slow it down to 0.25 speed. There's no cut here. You see the arrow being shot, and impact sideways against the wall. After impacting you can make out two individual pieces of arrow falling towards the floor, and when it comes to a rest there are two pieces lying on the ground near each other.

Was the arrow prepared to split? Very definitely probably per Mythbusters proof. Was the arrow fired above his head and not directly at him? Definitely. Is it still impressive to hit an arrow mid-flight? Also definitely.

TL:DR: For all the dubious claims and controlled-environment liberties taken in the video, Lars Andersen is definitely amongst the best trick/fast shooters. As such, he fits on the trope page.

Edited by Theharbo
Dec 1st 2015 at 6:59:37 AM •••

Is there a reason why Wanted movie is not considered Exaggeration? these stunts they pull of in this movie are ridiculous even by hollywood standards, if that wasn't exaggerated trope, then i don't know what is.

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Dec 1st 2015 at 7:52:22 AM •••

Errrr... why do you say it's not an exaggeration, if I may ask?

Oct 5th 2014 at 6:53:01 AM •••

Not sure how many of these are actually "improbable". For example, the Golgo 13 example mentions the shot from room 909; honestly, there's no way he couldn't have made that shot. Hell, I probably could have. All he had to do was some simple math to calculate the basic adjustments, then last minute calculate the windage. I calculated it myself, with nothing more than the information provided in the show (and an approximate formula for the height of the floors in the buildings). In the show they even mention that until the evening, the wind was steady in the same direction and speed. I've never shot a .30-06, but I've shot an M16 and M4, and with an ACOG (4x magnification), I could take your hat off at 300 meters. You can't tell me a pro sniper with a 16x (maybe 10x if he's that good) scope couldn't pull off a 500 meter shot. Adjust the scope for a 60in drop and about 30in to the shooter's left, aim between the eyes, and he's done. The claim on the page is that it was statistically impossible; looks to me like a statistical cake-walk. Sure, in practice *I* may have needed a second shot, but a professional sniper would have hit that shot in his sleep.

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Oct 5th 2014 at 11:37:25 AM •••

I suspect that some people have incorrect ideas on the aiming ability of firearms. I don't know anything about that example, though.

Feb 20th 2018 at 4:04:57 PM •••

An accuracy of 5cm at 500m is a good performance for a professional with proper set-up shooting in wind. There is no statistic anomaly. Maybe the trope refers to the characters’ talk and not to the shooting itself?

Feb 14th 2014 at 11:49:08 PM •••

Lampshaded in David Weber and John Ringo's "Empire of Man" series when Prince Roger reveals he has an assassin program in his "toot", the computer embedded in his skull.

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Dec 1st 2015 at 6:56:02 AM •••

First of all, how is that a lampshade? Lampshade means some character points out a trope, that's it, this example seems more like justified(after all there is logical in-universe reason for it) Second of all, is there a reason you put it here instead of just adding example?

Oct 26th 2011 at 12:11:23 PM •••

In the ending of The Odyssey when Odysseus successfully gets an arrow through 12 axes, is that an example of this trope? I've never been clear on whether he shot through the actual axe blades, or rings attached to them, and I can't figure out what the distance was.

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Jun 27th 2012 at 1:00:39 AM •••

Most visual interpretations are that he shot through the small rings on the ax handles; the axes were positioned such that all the rings were in air making a straight path for an very long distance. Odysseus apparently shot straight through all of them at range with a giant-ass bow and a giant-ass arrow that would barely fit through the rings.

Jul 6th 2010 at 2:03:31 PM •••

How about we find out how much of this trope is truth in television and how much is just rule of cool.

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Dec 1st 2015 at 6:54:08 AM •••

There is a real-life section specifically to tell how much of it is Truth in Television. As for Rule of Cool, that as well.

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