In The Rock (1996), Nicolas Cage used an injection to stop himself from being infected by the deadly virus. Is that a real drug in real life or just some fictional creation? How does it stop virus infection in the movie?

1 Answer 1


There is no 'deadly virus' in The Rock. The weapon that is stolen by Frank Hummel's team is VX, a so-called nerve agent, a chemical that (amongst other things) interferes with your muscles and causes you to asphyxiate through a lack of ability to breathe.

The antidote that they use in the movie is Atropine which is a real chemical used to counteract the effects of nerve agents such as VX.

The effects of VX are not entirely realistically shown in the movie, but the agent itself and the antidote Atropine are real-life and not a fictional creation.

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    @user1589188 On those SE sites it would be more appropriate to ask about specific chemical and neurological action mechanisms of the chemicals or their effects. I wouldn't suggest asking about "how close to reality" something in a movie is on either of them.
    – Booga Roo
    Feb 10, 2020 at 11:40
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    Note that Atropine itself is a pretty nasty poison. The reason you're supposed to use it in cases like that is because the outcome of VX is /worse/, but even if you survive you'll never be well again. Feb 10, 2020 at 19:53
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    Indeed @Shadur .... looking it up, its LD50 is less than 500mg. I guess this is one of the reasons why Goodspeed refuses a preventative Atropine injection in one of the opening scenes.
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 10, 2020 at 23:35
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    @Dallium That LD50 is for oral ingestion. Atropine injection risks appear to be much higher. However, this reference says the typical dosage 0.8-2mg, or 6mg in extreme cases. Potential side effects like dilated pupils, blurred vision, bright light causing pain, nausea, loss of balance, and heart palpitations are more likely to be a reason to refuse a preventative dose. I haven't seen the movie, so I'm partly guessing about that character's motivation.
    – Booga Roo
    Feb 11, 2020 at 10:27
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    Fun fact: The VX delivery system based on "glass balls" used in the movie is entirely made up by Hollyweird, but was later used by "Iraqi informants" when they claimed that Saddam "had nerve gas in storage". Sold to the public! Feb 11, 2020 at 11:03

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