Created By: SemiCasualObserver on October 26, 2012 Last Edited By: StarSword on November 18, 2012
Troped

High Speed Hijack

Taking over a vehicle while it's still in motion.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Boosting a car from a parking lot isn't that hard, when you get right down to it. You open the door, start the ignition, and as long as no one takes note of you, you can just drive off in your shiny new stolen wheels. If you've somehow managed to nab the keys to said car, then it's even easier. And as we all know, Rule of Drama dictates that easy things are boring.

You know what's cooler? Stealing a vehicle while someone's driving it, preferably at breakneck speed.

Depending on what kind of vehicle you're taking over, there are many ways you could pull off that stunt. A favorite of action movie heroes is to jump from one moving car to another (or from a motorcycle to a car, or a train to a car), taking down the driver (preferably by throwing him from the vehicle), and grabbing the wheel. For bonus points, let vehicles without drivers drift off, crash, and explode.

Don't let the limitations of your vehicle (or lack thereof) limit what you can steal. Jumping from one speedboat to another is child's play. Stealing a helicopter when you're on foot with nothing but a Grappling-Hook Pistol is a better. Ramping a boat into the air and jumping from your flying boat into a helicopter? Crazy Awesome.

This trick has long been a staple of action movies of all types, and not just ones where gas-powered vehicles are common. Horse-jacking or carriage-jacking are fair game for action movie period pieces, and stealing a Phlebotinum-fueled Flying Car is remarkably similar to stealing a rolling one.

Compare Outside Ride and Roof Hopping, which frequently precede a High-Speed Hijack. And please, don't try this at home.


Examples

Film
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy hijacks the truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant from horseback, then uses it to bust up the rest of the convoy.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid jumps down from a nearby hill onto the top of a moving train, then runs along the top to the engine and makes the train crew stop it at gunpoint. Watch it here.
  • Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew. After using a ploy to slow it down, eight of Count Contini's men climb aboard a moving train, kill the guards and hijack its cargo: a billion dollars in gold. Check it out.
  • Terminator 2: One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 (the evil one) rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back up the pickup to the front of the tanker, shoots the T-1000 through the glass, grabs the wheel from the outside and makes it turn on its side and then rides the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop. Later The T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air. Watch it here.
  • In Back to the Future III, Doc and Marty hijack a passenger train from horseback with the intent of using the locomotive to push the out-of-gas DeLorean to the requisite 88 mph.
    Engineer: Is this a holdup?
    Doc: It's a science experiment!

Tabletop Games
  • This is covered under the Stunt rules for Feng Shui.
  • While not explicitly given rules in the sourcebook, lots of promotional art and related fiction for Eberron describes hijacking airships, or the Lightning Rail. It's also one of the encounters in the published adventure, "Voyage of the Golden Dragon."

Videogames
  • Mercenaries 2 gives a how-to demonstration for beginners. Don't think you're limited to jumping onto the backs of trucks though - it's certainly possible to do the same to attack helicopters in the air.
  • Action Hijacking is an oft-used mechanic in Sleeping Dogs. Wei Shen can jump from his vehicle to any other that's on the driver's side and moving in the same general direction.
  • The Assassin's Creed games, starting with Brotherhood, allow Horse-jacking, either when you're leaping from above or from a horse of your own. Cart-jacking is done too, in a few sequences.
  • Just Cause runs wild with this, because Rico's Grappling-Hook Pistol lets him get onto pretty much any vehicle with ease and then steal it with equal ease. Stealing helicopters is a favorite trick for many players, partly because it's less dangerous than trying to fight them from the ground and partly for the many benefits of having a flying gunship.
  • This is possible in the Halo series. Enemies can hijack your vehicles in single-player, and there's a medal for doing it to another player during a multiplayer game. Spartan-2s can also hijack enemy vehicles in Halo Wars.
  • Boarding operations to capture enemy ships in the X-Universe series typically take place while the other ship is not only still maneuvering, but still shooting as well.
  • This is a bonus-point granting activity in Saints Row: The Third.
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • October 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I think this is Gundam Jack.
  • October 26, 2012
    alphabetagamma
    Gundam jack applies to mainly to military vehicles not mundane ones
  • October 26, 2012
    SemiCasualObserver
    Gundam Jacking is only for military super prototypes, and can be done while the military super prototype is at rest. High Speed Hijacking can be done with anything people ride on, while it's moving. It's a specific kind of cool stunt that usually happen in high speed chases.

    Hmm... I'm remembering a Simpsons episode where this got parodied. Two movie stars and Ron Howard were chasing Homer Simpson, who had a truck full of their stuff. Both stars successfully jumped onto the truck, but got stuck when they were trying to actually stop the vehicle and/or get into the cabin. Then Ron Howard tried to jump onto the truck, missed, and rolled down the highway. I'd like to present this example with better details than that, though. Does anyone know the episode I'm talking about?
  • October 26, 2012
    KTera
    • This is possible in the Franchise/Halo series. Enemies can hijack your vehicles in single-player, and there's a medal for doing it to another player during a multiplayer game. Spartan-2s can also hijack enemy vehicles in Halo Wars.
  • October 28, 2012
    Koveras
    May be preceded by Hood Hopping.
  • October 28, 2012
    Chernoskill
    I've never played it myself, but I'm fairly sure that the Mercenaries games allow you to hijack, among other vehicles, attack helicopters... While they are airborne.
  • October 28, 2012
    StarSword
    Film

    Video Games
    • Boarding operations to capture enemy ships in the X-Universe series typically take place while the other ship is not only still maneuvering, but still shooting as well.
  • October 28, 2012
    StarSword
    Forgot one.

    Film
    • In Return Of The Jedi, Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off.
  • October 28, 2012
    Chernoskill
    "In Return Of The Jedi, Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off. "

    By the way, this could lead to another missing Trope, namely when two opponents a driving alongside in fast vehicles and fight hand-to-hand (or even have a friend jump over to the enemies' motorcycle/speeer bike).
  • October 28, 2012
    Lophotrochozoa
    In Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Holly brings herself, Artemis, Root and Butler aboard a passing train. However, they don't take over the train, so they don't fit the proposed trope definition. It appears the definition should be broadened.
  • November 1, 2012
    SemiCasualObserver
    @Chernoskill: I think that's covered by Traintop Battle, despite the name.

    @Lophotrochozoa: So, they get on the train... and then ride the train. I don't see how that relates to hijacking. I'm also not sure how people riding trains, or any other normal vehicle, is tropeworthy.

  • November 1, 2012
    StarSword
    I agree that train example doesn't count, but this one does:

    Film
    • In Back To The Future III, Doc and Marty hijack a passenger train from horseback with the intent of using the locomotive to push the out-of-gas DeLorean to the requisite 88 mph.
      Engineer: Is this a holdup?
      Doc: It's a science experiment!
  • November 2, 2012
    Arivne
    A couple of "train robbery" examples.

    Film
    • Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid jumps down from a nearby hill onto the top of a moving train, then runs along the top to the engine and makes the train crew stop it at gunpoint.
    • Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew. After using a ploy to slow it down, eight of Count Contini's men climb aboard a moving train, kill the guards and hijack its cargo: a billion dollars in gold.

    Watch the Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid example here.

    Watch the The Wrecking Crew example here.
  • November 2, 2012
    Chernoskill
    "@Chernoskill: I think that's covered by Traintop Battle, despite the name. "

    Actually it's not listed there, and it doesn't really fit anyway. As I said, I've never played it, but from what I understand there's no fight on a viehicle involved in Mercenaries, you just jump onto the Helicopter or whatever while it's flying/driving and jump into the cockpit (probably throwing the pilot out in the process). Maybe someone who has played it can chime in? :)
  • November 2, 2012
    mew4ever23
    You can do this in Saints Row The Third. And you get bonus points for it.
  • November 2, 2012
    Lophotrochozoa
    @Semi Casual Observer: Do you mean that breaking and entering into a moving train is PSOC or didnt I explain clearly enough?
  • November 2, 2012
    SemiCasualObserver
    @Lophotrochozoa: I think I misunderstood. Let me try a different tack: between Outside Ride and Underside Ride, we've got plenty of examples of people who mount and ride vehicles in motion. High Speed Hijack just adds more to the pile. What I think you're proposing is High Speed Boarding, in which people get on a vehicle in motion and then just ride it in a normal manner. I'm feeling ambivalent about whether or not that's tropeworthy - I can imagine some examples of it that aren't in the penumbra of either High Speed Hijack or other existing tropes, but I can't think of enough of them to make recording the trope worthwhile.

    Plus, a hijack is usually flashy and violent. A free ride may be neither. People don't generally remember free rides, but they remember that crazy dude who was train-surfing for a while before he jumped into a passing convertible and threw the driver out.
  • November 6, 2012
    SemiCasualObserver
    Mmm. Does anyone know how to remove tags from a YKTTW?
  • November 6, 2012
    StarSword
    I think the original poster can remove them by clicking the tag icon next to the tag type.
  • November 7, 2012
    KingZeal
    • Terminator 2: One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 (the evil one) rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back up the pickup to the front of the tanker, shoots the T-1000 through the glass, grabs the wheel from the outside and makes it turn on its side and then rides the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop.
  • November 7, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ Actually, I am pretty sure that only the original tagger can remove their own tags.

    But anyhow, OP, Just Launch It Already. Five hats is all the approval you need.
  • November 7, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ Another example from Terminator 2. The T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air.

    Watch it here.
  • November 17, 2012
    StarSword
  • November 18, 2012
    pixelScientist
  • November 18, 2012
    StarSword
    Got the OP's permission to do it. He got busy. Adding the Terminator examples and launching in five.
  • November 18, 2012
    StarSword
    Added remaining examples and namespaces. Launched.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=26326zrkh13cg9ablm8beb4t&trope=HighSpeedHijack