Minor changes for stunts can lead to grave injuries

ACTION films are some of the hardest to make due to the sheer amount of technical know-how and background work that go into them.

Every aspect of these films needs to be in sync with each other, from rehearsals, stuntmen and the camera crew to the people making sure everything works so that sequences look good and no one gets injured or worse.

Action scenes such as car chases and death-defying stunts are essential for films like the Fast and Furious franchise, but what happens when someone screws up in the chain of command and logistics?

According to the BBC, the filmmakers behind the franchise’s ninth entry, F9, found the answer last week, when a UK court fined a subsidiary of Universal Pictures £800,000 (RM4,735,373) for an on-set injury suffered by stuntman Joe Watts.

During F9’s filming in 2019, Watts faced an accident after falling 25 feet, head first, onto the ground, causing him to suffer a broken skull and brain damage.

The stunt Watts rehearsed before filming had him being thrown over another performer’s right shoulder, but during filming, the stunt was changed to him being thrown over the left shoulder instead.

It may seem like a small thing, but according to the BBC, the wiring and crash mats were not adjusted according to the change, which led to Watts’ crippling injuries.

“Watts’ injuries were life-changing, and he could have easily been killed,” Roxanne Barker, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that brought the suit, said in court.

The subsidiary, FF9 Pictures, admitted to the failings. Injuries involving stuntmen are no joke and only seem to ramp up as action films continue the escalation of action sequences while being negligent about safety.

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