We all know that if you have toothache, you go to the dentist. If you get a compound fracture, deep cut or concussion – most likely the hospital. But if there is one thing that movies have taught me, it’s that the most intense surgeries take place far from civilization or in desperate situations. So let’s celebrate some manly men from their top action films and hope these desperate measure never have to be taken.
5) Shoulder Dislocation/Relocation – Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon series is the master of this method. You see, he can do so at will (though, of course, in great pain). A good thing too – as without this party trick he would have drowned. Of course he has to live with the fact the woman he loved wasn’t so lucky – but, hey, revenge and all that. While you can pop your should back into place in real life, I would still recommend seeing someone in with a medical background before trying to be all cool and do it yourself.
4) Let It Sew – Those who think sewing is for women only obviously have never had a deep cut that needed immediate attention. From Leon (aka The Professional) to Rambo (again) – nothing proves you’re a action star like stitching yourself up. So hone those needle and thread skills – you never know when you’re going to have to tend to your own wound or another person. Just make sure you sterilize that needle first – nothing like gangrene to ruin your carefully planned minor surgery.
3) Cauterization – Say you are injured – gravely. You’ve lost an arm or leg, you have a gaping hole in your side and need to staunch the flow of blood. You have to act quick or you’re going to bleed out – what do you do? If you have a gun – fire it rapidly and quickly put the hot barrel to your wound (as seen in Ultraviolet). If the wound it deeper, take that same gun, open a bullet and use the gunpowder to do the same – as John Rambo so eloquently shows in Rambo III. Or, if push comes to shove, just use whatever handy fire-producing tool you have: lighter, blow torch, iron. Cauterization will staunch the flow of the blood – provided you don’t pass out first.
2) The Tooth Hurts – There is really only one movie that fits here, but I dare you to watch the scene in question and not feel at least some phantom pain or just sheer horror. No one likes going to the dentist, but just remember, if you keep skipping your annual appointment, especially if something is bothering you, you too could end up like Tom Hank’s Chuck Noland character in Cast Away. You see, after dealing with the pain, it eventually gets so bad that he can barely eat or drink. Luckily he has an ice skate, a rock and balls of pure steel. Because despite the fact he gives it just a little tap, the pain knocks him clear out and I, for one, felt that pain. It’s also why I don’t mind going to the dentist twice a year that much after all.
1) Amputation – Sometimes the sacrifice you make involves a difficult decision. Your arm (or leg) or your life. In Saw, Cary Elwes’ Dr. Lawrence Gordon has to sacrifice his foot in order to escape the deadly trap set by Jigsaw (and several sequels later, we finally learn he actually survived). But why choose a horror franchise with diminishing returns when you can turn to real life? In 127 Hours James Franco portrays the real story of Aron Ralston who sets off alone and becomes trapped in a canyon in Moab, Utah. The scene is question is quite tough to get through – moreso when you realize this is exactly what happened. Though you can fault Ralston for setting off alone, the fact he survived is an inspiration for survivors everywhere.
While movies aren’t shy about bending the truth when it comes to self-surgery and medical knowledge in general, when portraying yourself as the manliest of men, nothing says “I’m Manly!” like treating yourself for various wounds. The more insane the circumstances, the better chance you have at presenting yourself as the ultimate badass. I still recommend seeking medical attention should you need it – but it’s nice to know that in desperate situations, you can survive – and have quite the story to tell… provided, you know, you don’t die.
Chris Kavan is the Community Manager of FilmCrave.com and he hopes there are no amputations in his future.