You’ve seen the movies. A protagonist shoots a shotgun or a rifle and his target goes flying back ten feet, careening through saloon doors or crashing out a glass window.

Sometimes it’s a stylistic choice — I don’t think Quentin Tarantino’s first priority is in adhering to the laws of physics, and his films are rooted in cinematic tropes that many of us have grown to love, when done right. However, it’s clear when filmmakers are trying to make a movie realistic, and yet they have gunshot victims flying all over the place, as if getting his by a bullet was the same as getting hit by a truck.

The problem is that this is simply not possible. And if you’re thinking of some LiveLeak video where you swear you saw this happen, then I have news for you — it was fake. Just because something looks real doesn’t mean it can go ahead and break the laws of physics.

When we’re talking physics, we’re more specifically referring to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which goes something like this: “If an object A exerts a force on object B, then object B must exert a force of equal magnitude and opposite direction back on object A” (pulled from Khan Academy). For example, in space, if an astronaut throws an object one way, the act of throwing it will exert an equal amount of force in the opposite direction, sending the astronaut floating backward away from what he threw (assuming he was still to begin with).