When you have an evil empire to run, you’re going to want the best soldiers on your side. Men, sometimes women and soulless automatons who will carry out your orders without batting an eyelid. But here’s the thing. No matter how many soldiers you have, no matter how much they train or survive, they always find themselves to be about as useful as a midget in a basketball game.
So then why are henchmen so spectacularly outgunned by heroes and even the damsels in distress? Why do they find themselves unable to hit the space-broadside of a space-barn? There’s a theory to that very question, after the jump.Quite simply put, it’s called the Stormtrooper Effect;
In movies and film, the tendency of the hero’s shots to hit more, and the enemy’s to hit less. Summarized as:
1. The more outnumbered the heroes are, the more the enemies will miss.
2. The more impossible and desperate the shot, the more likely it will hit.
It’s been seen everywhere in television and film. Most notably, Star Wars;
And the Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy, where despite outnumbering our heroes at hundred to one, the Vogons can barely muster enough firepower to destroy a caravan or a suicidal robot that is directly in front of them.
And it’s something that only affects people with an evil streak, according to The Principle of Evil Marksmanship. Just look at film and television for more examples. Luke Skywalker, who has never held a blaster rifle in his life, mowing down stormtroopers left and right. Tom Cruise’s wife in Mission Impossible 3, managing to take down a highly trained agent despite the fact that she can barely even lift a gun.
But the catch here, is that this all relies on numbers. The more bad guys that die, the more exponentially dangerous they become. While a hundred foes might go down quicker than free lunch buffet at an ANC event, leaving a mere five or less of them alive is more dangerous than attempting to neuter a timber wolf without putting it under.In effect, they evolve from cannon fodder into worthy adversaries, in a bizarre form of survival of the fittest real-time updating.
And here’s the kicker: This theory has real life roots in reality. During World War 2, it was estimated that around 200 bullets were needed to take down just one soldier, but the moment that the enemy switched from guns to bladed weapons when the odds were against them, it was a whole new ball game.
So the next time you wonder why the mercenaries on the screen happen to be about as accurate as a 9/11 conspiracy theory, you’ll know why. It’s because human nature makes us weaker in groups, and stronger when our military herd gets thinned out.
Last Updated: January 25, 2013