Boy Meets Reel: Human Target, Street Fighter, and Fantasy Physics

To the joy of many gamers such as myself, Super Street Fighter IV came out this week. I've spent the last couple days indulging my gaming habit, to the exclusion of most other TV activities. The only show I've really watched (I haven't even seen the latest Chuck yet, though I swear I'll catch up on this weekend) in the past week is Human Target, which is the perfect television complement to a video game about grossly violating the laws of physics for entertainment value.

This isn't a knock against Human Target at all - I enjoy every minute of that show. Each week is a testament to the show's ability to make you stop thinking about how something worked, and just think "That was so awesome!" Hollywood logic is on display everywhere in the show, from man-sized ventilation shafts in trains (who would ever need that?) to Christopher Chance's magical ability to fire a handgun underwater and still hit something without the gun jamming, the bullet disintegrating in the water, or the water deflecting his shot.

When you think about it, the fanciful feats of Human Target aren't that far removed from martial artists shooting fireballs from their hands and jumping 10 feet straight in the air. It's all silly fun, far removed from the mundane world of physics and logistics we live in. What makes Human Target's version of a fantasy universe even more fun is Mark Valley's deadpan performance as Christopher Chance, which really sells you on the idea that one man can pull off all of the reality-defying feats that get pulled off with regularity on the show.

Next time you watch Human Target - and I dearly hope that we get to see a second season of this action-packed series - try and spot the points where the action takes a hard left from reality. It won't detract from your enjoyment of the show at all - it'll just make you think "Wow, that was so much cooler than what would really happen there."


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