Created By: Luigifan on June 21, 2012 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on February 2, 2013
Troped

Strapped To A Bomb

A character gets tied up and fastened to some sort of explosive device.

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Trope
A favorite execution method of Dastardly Whiplash types, this trope involves the villain tying a captured character to an armed explosive device. Cue frantic searches for the Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing and attempts to disarm the device while still tied up (for example, a memorable scene in a Scooby-Doo episode where Shaggy and Scooby attempt to put out a bomb fuse with their butts). Generally, though, disaster gets averted by the Big Damn Heroes showing up to get their pal out of dodge before he/she gets blasted to a pile of thin gruel. Bonus points if the rescue team cuts it so close that they and their rescuee wind up Outrunning the Fireball afterwards.

It operates on a similar principle to Chained to a Railway, in that it's essentially a timed Death Trap. However, the myriad ways to trigger a bomb means that villains can have lots of fun with this... for instance, rigging the bomb to go off when somebody tries to rescue the victim (this is sure to mess with the victim's psyche a lot, and can also subvert a Big Damn Heroes moment by turning it into a Senseless Sacrifice.)

See also Death Trap and Bound and Gagged, as this is a Sub-Trope of both, and Explosive Leash and Why Am I Ticking?, which are SisterTropes. Riding the Bomb is also closely related.

Comics
  • Captain America and Bucky Barnes were strapped to an experimental plane laden with explosives by Baron Zemo. They managed to untie themselves, but while trying to defuse it Cap fell off and landed in the Arctic Ocean where he was frozen solid. Bucky was presumed blown up for many many years.
  • This happened at least once to Wonder Woman. She wasn't just tied to the bomb, the bomb was dropped on a city. It was on the cover of a comic. This one, in fact.

Film
  • Spy Hard plays this for laughs, as the film was a spoof type film. The villain ties up the captured lady agent to the bomb, and after Leslie Nielsen's character arrives, the villain ends up going up with the rocket.
  • Toy Story. Sid duct tapes Buzz Lightyear to a model rocket and plans to launch him (the rocket will explode when it reaches its maximum height). Luckily, Woody saves him from this horrible fate, but later uses the rocket (with Buzz still attached to it) as part of a cunning plan.
    • There was one earlier example where Andy's Toys spy on Sid in his backyard. They spot a toy soldier tied to a bomb. When Buzz sees this, he freaks out. Possibly used as Character Development when Buzz maintains his cool (if not his sanity) when Sid does the same to him later.
  • Happens to MacClane and Zeus in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
  • Goldfinger. James Bond is handcuffed to an atomic bomb and left inside Fort Knox. When the bomb detonates, it will destroy and/or radioactively contaminate the gold supply of the U.S., thus causing gold prices to rise and increasing the value of Goldfinger's gold stockpile by ten times.
  • In the climax of What About Bob?, Dr. Leo Marvin snaps and tries to kill Bob Wiley by tying him up in the woods and hanging 20 pounds of black powder around Bob's neck. Leo jokingly refers to this as "Death therapy, a guaranteed cure!"; Bob is completely oblivious to how much Leo hates him, so he immediately accepts that this really is some kind of therapy. Bob effortlessly unties himself, but assumes the still-ticking bomb is a prop and takes it with him back to Leo's house.
  • In New Police Story Jackie Chan's girlfriend gets strapped to a bomb. In an attempted Heroic Sacrifice, she removes the bomb to set it off while Jackie leaves the room to spare him... and nothing happens. The real trigger was hidden and the bomb went off when she got up later.
  • The movie 30MinutesOrLess. Plot being... well, being Strapped to a Bomb. And then being ordered to rob a bank or else be allowed to explode.
  • At the climax of Rush Hour, Soo Yung's kidnappers outfit her with a vest covered in C4 charges, rigged to go off if triggered via remote or if the vest is removed.
  • The Captain America (1990) film has the hero tied to a rocket at the end of the first act, setting him up to be frozen and appear in modern day.

Live-Action TV
  • In Anson's first appearance in Burn Notice, he claims he is being forced to work with Larry because Larry has strapped a bomb to his wife. There is a woman with a bomb strapped to her, but exactly who she is becomes less clear as the episode goes on.
  • In an episode of The Goodies, the Goodies fall foul of a mad scientist who ties them to a bomb (after they escape his first inescapable death trap, which involved rising water, an alligator, a candle burning through a rope, and an acid bath).
  • This happens to Swan in an episode of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. When the episode was adapted for Power Rangers S.P.D., the same thing happened to Kat (Swan's counterpart) only now it was some sort of device that would scramble her DNA or something.
  • In a classic episode of Dad's Army, the over-age Walmington platoon are tasked with guarding the captured crew of a U-Boat. The Germans try to escape and take Corporal Jones as a hostage, rigging a hand-grenade down his trousers that will explode if the Captain's wishes are not complied with. Fortunately, Sergeant Wilson has seen to it that there is no detonator in the grenade... but only he knows this...
  • In one episode of Blue Bloods, an ex-con Danny put away takes his partner Jackie hostage and ties her to a bomb in order to draw Danny out.
  • Red Dwarf episode Entangled has Lister attached to a machine that will blow up his groin if he does not pay the debt he owes a group of aliens after losing a poker game to them.
  • It happens to Sledge Hammer!, allowing him the chance to speak his catch-phrase one last time before the series definitively ends...
    'Trust me. I know what I'm doing.''
  • The Sherlock episode "The Great Game" is based around having this trope as the conflict.

Music
  • One of the characters in the music video for the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" gets taped and tied to a bomb.
  • The song "Super Breez" by Breez Evahflowin:
    We stop to have discussion, as custom is the type
    Of a hero and the villain at the peak of a fight
    He speaks of a pipe, adjacent to the gas main in mom's basement
    His heart stop, start detonation
    I said 'It's on!'
    Bit the end from the movie Spawn
    Grabbed him by the hands, wrapped his arms around an atom bomb

Video Games
  • One game in the Tekken series has an ending where three of the fighters are strapped to a rocket at it launches.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Will's friend Eric is kidnapped and tied to a bomb, from which you have to rescue him in a frustrating Dual Boss fight with a time limit.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • As a reference to the Captain America example, The Super Hero Squad Show has an episode where the Scarlet Witch is sent back in time to WWII, caught by the Red Skull and then tied to a rocket, only to be saved by Captain America and the Invaders (Bucky, The Jim Hammond Human Torch, and Toro).
  • Space Ghost episode "Zorak". The title villain ties Jan and Jace to the seats of his Flying Time Bomb (a spaceship with a Time Bomb inside) and sends it away. Space Ghost rescues them Just in Time.
Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • June 21, 2012
    Luigifan
    Spy Hard plays this for laughs, as the film was a spoof-type film. The villain ties up the captured lady agent to the bomb, and after Leslie Nielsen's character arrives, the villain ends up going up with the rocket.
  • June 22, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Captain America and Bucky Barnes were strapped to an experimental plane laden with explosives by Baron Zemo. They managed to untie themselves, but while trying to defuse it Cap fell off and landed in the Arctic Ocean where he was frozen solid. Bucky was presumed blown up for many many years.
  • June 22, 2012
    Connorses
    Film
    • Toy Story. Sid duct tapes Buzz Lightyear to a model rocket and plans to launch him (the rocket will explode when it reaches its maximum height). Luckily Woody saves him from this horrible fate, but later uses the rocket (with Buzz still attached to it) as part of a cunning plan.
    (edit for spoilers??)
  • June 22, 2012
    Jir
  • July 5, 2012
    Luigifan
    And I'm gonna bump this, simply because I want to see more examples and feedback.
  • July 5, 2012
    Luigifan
    In Anson's first appearance in Burn Notice, he claims he is being forced to work with Larry because Larry has strapped a bomb to his wife. There is a woman with a bomb strapped to her, but exactly who she is becomes less clear as the episode goes on.
  • July 5, 2012
    JonnyB
    Happens to MacClane and Zeus in Die Hard With A Vengeance.

    One of the characters in the music video for the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" gets taped and tied to a bomb.
  • July 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • July 5, 2012
    PaulA
    • In an episode of The Goodies, the Goodies fall foul of a mad scientist who ties them to a bomb (after they escape his first inescapable death trap, which involved rising water, an alligator, a candle burning through a rope, and an acid bath).
  • July 6, 2012
    triassicranger
    This happens to Swan in an episode of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. When the episode was adapted for Power Rangers SPD, the same thing happened to Kat (Swan's counterpart) only now it was some sort of device that would scramble her DNA or something.
  • July 6, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Goldfinger. James Bond is handcuffed to an atomic bomb and left inside Fort Knox. When the bomb detonates it will destroy and/or radioactively contaminate the gold supply of the U.S., thus causing gold prices to rise and increasing the value of Goldfinger's gold stockpile by ten times.
  • July 6, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Music
    • The song "Super Breez" by Breez Evahflowin:
      We stop to have discussion, as custom is the type
      Of a hero and the villain at the peak of a fight
      He speaks of a pipe, adjacent to the gas main in mom's basement
      His heart stop, start detonation
      I said 'It's on!'
      Bit the end from the movie Spawn
      Grabbed him by the hands, wrapped his arms around an atom bomb
  • July 6, 2012
    Luigifan
    "Why Am I Ticking" is probably more of a Sister Trope to this one. In this trope, the character is very much aware of the bomb, and is strapped to it in a way that immobilizes them (making this trope a subtrope of Bound And Gagged). In Why Am I Ticking, the character may very well be unaware of the bomb until it goes off, and is also possibly allowed to go out and live his/her life like normal until it goes off (usually the villain's hoping to make sure that the bomb goes off in a crowded area when he/she does this. Strapped To A Bomb also involves, well, being strapped to the bomb, while Why Am I Ticking often involves the bomb somehow being implanted into the victim's body or attached in a tick-like fashion (in a discreet location, of course!)

    "Strapped To A Bomb" could also probably be considered a Sister Trope to Explosive Leash, in that both are invoked to at least attempt or threaten to kill a character in a extremely messy fashion. However, "Strapped To A Bomb" tends to be used as an outright murder [attempt], while Explosive Leash is used as a way to make and back up a death threat; a character using an Explosive Leash tends to promise to disarm and remove it in exchange for some sort of service. (Whether or not that promise is actually kept depends on the specific instance.)
  • July 7, 2012
    MetaFour
    • In the climax of What About Bob, Dr. Leo Marvin snaps and tries to kill Bob Wiley by tying him up in the woods and hanging 20 pounds of black powder around Bob's neck. Leo jokingly refers to this as "Death therapy, a guaranteed cure!"; Bob is completely oblivious to how much Leo hates him, so he immediately accepts that this really is some kind of therapy. Bob effortlessly unties himself, but assumes the still-ticking bomb is a prop and takes it with him back to Leo's house.
  • July 10, 2012
    Luigifan
    ^ Ha ha ha, I remember that one! Leo's house went BOOM!

    Oh, what should I classify the "Burn Notice", "The Goodies", and "Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger" examples under?
  • July 11, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ All are Live Action TV.
  • July 19, 2012
    Luigifan
    ^ Thanks.

    By the way, what was the name of the episode of Scooby-Doo where this happened to Scooby and Shaggy?
  • July 19, 2012
    KinaKalamari
    • The Sherlock episode "The Great Game" is based around having this trope as the conflict.
  • July 20, 2012
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • Space Ghost episode "Zorak". The title villain ties Jan and Jace to the seats of his Flying Time Bomb (a spaceship with a Time Bomb inside) and sends it away. Space Ghost rescues them Just In Time.

    And have a hat. :)
  • July 20, 2012
    AP
    • The Captain America 1990 film has the hero tied to a rocket at the end of the first act, setting him up to be frozen and appear in modern day.
  • July 25, 2012
    TBeholder
    Didn't this happen to Wonder Woman in every other issue or so? I remember there were at least three images floating around da Intertubes.
  • July 25, 2012
    captainsandwich
  • July 25, 2012
    AgProv
    It happens to Sledge Hammer, allowing him the chance to speak his catch-phrase one last time before the series definitively ends...

    'Trust me. I know what i'm doing.''
  • July 25, 2012
    elwoz
    Riding The Bomb is also closely related.
  • July 25, 2012
    surgoshan
    • This happened at least once to Wonder Woman. She wasn't just tied to the bomb, the bomb was dropped on a city. It was on the cover of a comic. This one, in fact.
  • July 27, 2012
    MrRuano
    • As a reference to the Captain America example, The Super Hero Squad Show has an episode where the Scarlet Witch is sent back in time to WWII, caught by the Red Skull and then tied to a rocket, only to be saved by Captain America and the Invaders (Bucky, The Jim Hammond Human Torch, and Toro).
  • November 12, 2012
    triassicranger
    Live Action Television

    • Red Dwarf episode Entangled has Lister attached to a machine that will blow up his groin if he does not pay the debt he owes a group of aliens after losing a poker game to them.
  • November 12, 2012
    StarSword
    TV:

    • In one episode of Blue Bloods, an ex-con Danny put away takes his partner Jackie hostage and ties her to a bomb in order to draw Danny out.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump for hats; seems done to me.
  • January 18, 2013
    ZombieAladdin
    I see the later '"Toy Story'' example is already there, but there was one earlier where Andy's Toys spy on Sid in his backyard. They spot a toy soldier tied to a bomb. When Buzz sees this, he freaks out. Possibly used as Character Development when Buzz maintains his cool (if not his sanity) when Sid does the same to him later.

    That example may provide a page quote: "That's a soldier strapped to an explovide device!"
  • January 18, 2013
    Desertopa
    • In Illusion Of Gaia, Will's friend Eric is kidnapped and tied to a bomb, from which you have to rescue him in a frustrating Dual Boss fight with a time limit.
  • January 18, 2013
    CrystalGamma
    Do sticky grenades like in Halo or Gears Of War count?
  • January 18, 2013
    Karalora
    At the climax of Rush Hour, Soo Yung's kidnappers outfit her with a vest covered in C4 charges, rigged to go off if triggered via remote or if the vest is removed.
  • January 18, 2013
    morenohijazo
    Deleted.
  • January 19, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Would the movie '30 Minutes Or Less' fit here?

    Plot being... well, being Strapped To A Bomb. And then being ordered to rob a bank or else be allowed to explode.
  • January 19, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Explosive Leash is a subtrope.
  • January 19, 2013
    Chabal2
    One game in the Tekken series has an ending where three of the fighters are strapped to a rocket at it launches.
  • January 31, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • In New Police Story Jackie Chan's girlfriend gets strapped to a bomb. In an attempted Heroic Sacrifice, she removes the bomb to set it off while Jackie leaves the room to spare him... and nothing happens. The real trigger was hidden and the bomb went off when she got up later.
  • January 31, 2013
    KZN02
    May want to mention Bomb Disposal in there.
  • February 1, 2013
    morenohijazo
    Does it count if it's not tied to, but near the bomb? It should be specified, I know of some examples that would depend of that.
  • February 1, 2013
    AgProv
    Television: In a classic episode of Dad's Army, the over-age Walmington platoon are tasked with guarding the captured crew of a U-Boat. The Germans try to escape and take Corporal Jones as a hostage, rigging a hand-grenade down his trousers that will explode if the Captain's wishes are not complied with. Fortunately, Sergeant Wilson has seen to it that there is no detonator in the grenade... but only he knows this...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0c9utzbmcffe8g8hwwfl6wv6&trope=StrappedToABomb