Friday, June 26, 2009

PALATE CLEANSER 1: Zorro and Ankle Fracture

I never thought I'd be able to write a post that mentions Terminator Salvation and Zorro, The Gay Blade in the same sentence, but here we are. What could these two movies possibly have in common? Ankle fracture, sort of.

As was discussed in a previous post, in Terminator Salvation, giant robots are manually dumping humans into "transport vehicles" (who talks like that?). Once released from the grip of the robot, those people are falling from a height significant enough(1) to cause one of two types of fracture-dislocation of the foot; either Pott's fracture, Dupuytren's fracture, or any variation thereof.

Here's an x-ray of Dupuytren's fracture a.k.a Paratrooper's fracture. You can see the way the foot bones have been driven up, between the two bones of the lower leg. As a point of interest, any dislocation is also going to involve sprain because ligaments will be torn.

Terminator Salvation's relationship to ankle fracture is that of missed opportunity. A little hobbling and deformity on the part of a minor character would have given this film about machines and cybernetic organisms taking over the world a lot more credibility. Too bad. It's really the little things in explosive, apocalyptic, science fiction movies that can make or break them.

How does this relate to Zorro, the Gay Blade? Here's the quick plot synopsis from Anonymous at the IMDb site: "In 1840's Mexico, wealthy landowner Don Diego Vega adopts the persona of his late father's secret identity as Zorro, the masked folk hero. But when Vega is incapacitated by an injury, he asks Ramon, his very gay, long lost twin brother (now calling himself 'Bunny'), to replace him as the caped hero, who makes some drastic changes his Zorro persona." That Anonymous sure can write. For a more complete story, see Wikipedia.

The key phrase here is "incapacitated by an injury." Diego(George Hamilton), disguised as Zorro, attends a costume ball, flirts with the ladies, angers the bad guy, gets in a fight and (through a little slapstick comedy) stumbles backward off of a balcony, to land on his feet, at the edge of a fountain, injuring his ankle. He hops to his horse and rides home.

Zorro, before the fall.

At home, Diego accurately cares for his acute injury with R.I.C.E. therapy(2). We see a shot of his foot. It is puffy and bruised. Now I'm no doctor (I watch one on TV), but for that amount of swelling and ecchymosis, I'm willing to bet Diego has at least a 2nd degree ankle sprain(3), or possible 3rd degree sprain, perhaps with fracture of the fibula or medial malleolus (lateral and medial ankle bones).

I couldn't find an image from the film of Diego's injured foot, but it looked quite like this.

In one of his finest acting moments, George Hamilton, who has been hobbling about and wincing in a most convincing way, is confronted Captain Esteban (Ron Leibman) who suspects his identity. Esteban tells Diego that Zorro escaped, but his ankle is "sprained, possibly fractured." Diego, to prove that he is not Zorro, dances and hops about on his injured foot, trying to disguise his acute pain from Diego. The ruse works and Diego leaves. It's actually funny if you think about the additional damage he would be doing to an injury like that. He would probably pass out from the pain.

I don't know if it was Hal Dresner, Johnston McCulley, or one of the other writers who decided to use this device, but it works well. Orthopedists watching the film probably pee their pants with laughter.

I am putting together cyborg research. If anyone would like to suggest any films featuring cyborgs (not androids, clones, or robots) beyond the usual suspects of the Terminator series, Robocop (a misnamed film if ever there was one), Star Trek: First Contact, Cyborg, Universal Soldier, or I, Robot(4), please do.

1. In the movie it seems that they are being dropped into these cages from a height of 12-15 feet onto a solid floor.
2. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
3. A sprain is the over-stretching, or tearing of a ligament. In a 2nd degree sprain, as much as 99% of a ligaments fibers can be torn. For more on sprains and R.I.C.E. therapy visit the Merck Manual Online.
4. Will Smith's character qualifies as a cyborg because of his prosthetic arm and its capabilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment