Created By: SonofRojBlake on January 21, 2012 Last Edited By: DAN004 on January 5, 2016
Troped

Bringing Running Shoes To A Car Chase

Character in a car is pursued by character on foot

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Trope
DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


The expected usual ingredients for a car chase are at least one chaser, at least one fugitive, and at least two cars. Not this time. For one reason or another, the chaser is on foot. In Real Life, this would likely lead to quite a short chase and a cheery wave in the rear view mirror from the fugitive (unless they got in a traffic jam). In the movies, however, count on terrible gridlock, the chaser either knowing the streets really well and thus able to take shortcuts (expect some Le Parkour), being able to hitch (temporary) rides on other passing vehicles (may involve Hood Hopping and Outside Ride), or even having a Super Speed.

Sometimes just the lead in to a normal car chase - this trope is in play until averted by the chaser getting hold of a car of their own. May sometimes be inverted: someone on a vehicle chasing someone else on foot. In this case you may expect the chased to use shortcuts or going through crowds; Le Parkour may also be in play.

(Trope title from Sean Connery in The Untouchables - "Isn't that just like a wop. Brings a knife to a gunfight.")

Compare Racing the Train and Unconventional Vehicle Chase. Related is Pedestrian Crushes Car.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Roberta of Black Lagoon does this to the Lagoon crew, overtaking their vehicle at a dead run and leaping right on the rear with a trench knife. There's a reason she's often compared to the Terminator.
  • Once in Skip Beat!, Kyoko managed to catch up to a manager's car on foot due to her quasi supernatural abilities.

Comics
  • In two separate Sin City stories, main characters rush after cars on foot. In Family Values, Miho uses rollerblades to achieve this goal and in Just another Saturday Night, Marv runs after the car but quickly leaps on soon after.
  • The Golden Age Flash discovered his powers by doing this successfully. Being specific, he was trying to catch the bus, starting to catch up... and one blink of an eye later, he was next county over.

Comic Strip
  • One The Far Side comic depicts "Every dog's dream". The dog in question successfully caught the car he was chasing, and stands atop its corpse to howl in triumph.

Film
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The T-1000 does a pretty good job of chasing the heroes despite being on foot. Robert Patrick makes it look like he really could keep up with a speeding car.
  • The climactic battle on the first Lethal Weapon movie has Riggs chasing after Mr. Joshua on foot while the latter is running away on a car (and managing to intercept him, but Joshua still manages to run away for a very short time). The second movie starts with a car chase that Riggs spends a short part of running on foot.
  • In The Return of The Pink Panther, the cabbie responds to Inspector Clouseau's command to Follow That Car by climbing out of the cab and chasing the car on foot.
  • As soon as he gets his new physique in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers takes off after a bad guy. Bad guy steals a car and Steve runs after him and catches up. Then, Up to Eleven, the bad guy climbs into a submarine and Steve swims after him and catches him.
  • Men in Black. When the Bug escapes from J and K in a cab, J runs after the cab on foot. K sensibly goes to get their car and picks up J.
  • Woody attempts to chase after a train on foot at the beginning of Toy Story 3. It works as well as one would expect a toy cowboy to. He's not truly able to catch up to the train until he gets access to Barbie's car.
  • In the film Watermelon Man - about a white man who turns black overnight for no discernable reason - Jeff's morning workout is running along with a bus on the way to work (instead of just taking the bus). After he turns black he gets stopped by the cops for Running While Black. They assume he stole something - why else would he be running?
  • The teenage Clark Kent from Superman races on foot at super speed to outrun a passenger train, and narrowly beats it to a crossing. Clark is in a hurry to arrive home ahead of a Jerk Jock driving a Carload of Cool Kids, since the jock thinks Clark is still on the practice field folding football uniforms.
  • In the opening scene of The One, the antagonist outruns a police car on foot.

Jokes
  • Old joke: "I'm not so concerned about my dog chasing cars, it's when he brings 'em home and buries 'em in the yard that I start to get worried."

Live-Action TV
  • In Alphas, Bill channels his Super Strength into his legs in order to chase down a car.
  • In an episode of TheX-Files, entitled Unruhe, the antagonist of the week steals the pair's car and kidnaps Scully. Mulder manages to keep up on foot for about two blocks.
  • Top Gear did a challenge in which Clarkson had to drive a car around the course of the London Marathon, while a runner did it on foot. The runner won.
    • In a series 8 challenge, James May in a Peugeot 207 raced two parkour practitioners across Liverpool. Captain Slow lost.
  • In an episode of Get Smart Max wants to catch a KAOS agent who has driven off so he tells a CONTROL agent extra leaning on an auto to "Follow That Car!" - which he does by taking off running. This was the birth of Larrabee, the agent so dumb that he's able to force CONTROL to keep Max on the payroll (because if Max was fired, Larrabee would have to be promoted to Max's job).
  • In an episode of Scandal, Jake races after a car that supposedly had a kidnapped Olivia inside of it on foot. And in his underwear. Scott Foley, his actor, even got a cast on his foot after getting hurt during one of the takes.
  • In Sherlock: A Study in Pink, Sherlock manages to catch up to a taxi traveling on relatively clear roads by anticipating its route, knowing where he can take shortcuts and being a decent runner.

Video Games
  • Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends frequently have to chase vehicles down. Examples include a red car speeding down Metal City carrying treasure in Sonic Riders, the Egg Hammer Mark II in Sonic Advance 2 (essentially a convertible with a giant hammer in the back), a train with a bomb strapped to it in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Frigate Orcan and the Skullian blimp in Sonic Colors, and a modified race car out of curiosity in Sonic X. The most famous example is an inversion though: In Sonic Adventure 2 (and Sonic Generations), a paramilitary force sends a gigantic truck after Sonic, who then has to run for his life until the truck crashes into something and incapacitates itself.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, the flavor text for the Boots of Speed says that the original pair was used by an assassin who would chase down horseback riders with them, shouting a battlecry of "You can hide, but you can't run!"

Western Animation
  • In the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One, Bruce Wayne (not as Batman) chases a car on foot, going as far as to run on rooftops and jump down onto another truck.
  • One episode of Cow and Chicken ends with The Red Guy chasing after a car and some bicyclists on foot. Inverted as well, as some cops are pursuing him in a car for exceeding the speed limit (somehow). All four parties are traveling at the exact same speed.
  • Extreme example: One episode of The Simpsons has Sideshow Bob steal a replica of the Wright brothers' flyer, only for an Air Force base to send two jets after it. However, as the jets go too fast, one pilot suggest getting out and walking, with the scene cutting to them doing just that, jogging alongside the flyer with one hand reaching up.
    • Homer has become friends with Ned Flanders, but the Flanders family doesn't want him being so friendly. Ned bursts out of his garage with his family and starts speeding down the road, with Homer chasing after him, able to keep up until Ned pulls an escape by train. The scene is a direct Shout-Out to terminator 2: Judgement Day.
    Maude: Come on, Ned! Move this thing!
    Ned: I can't! IT'S A GEO!
  • Cow and Chicken.
    • In "The King and Queen of Cheese", Chicken notices Cow has dropped her Crabs the Warthog doll on the platform at the train station after she has already boarded the train and it has left; he chases after the train on foot - all the way to Arkansas - to give her her doll.
    • In "Cow and Chicken Recycling", a pair of art thieves rob Red Guy's museum under the cover of darkness, but after they take off in their getaway truck, Red chases after them on foot - and can surprisingly run as fast as they drive.
  • An episode of Freakazoid! has Freakazoid chasing on foot after the Lobe, who's escaping in a limousine. Freakazoid manages to catch up to the limousine and get into a ramming duel with it before the writing staff bulls up beside him in another limousine and suggests that he should use the Freakmobile.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Split Personality", Busting!Candace goes on foot to catch up to the car Linda and Romantic!Candace are in.

Real Life
  • The first recorded automobile chase in America took place in the 1860s. The police officer was on foot. Of course, automobiles of that time were far slower than today's.
  • Le Parkour came about because some urban areas in France have such congested traffic problems that running, hopping, and bouncing across places would be faster than driving. Le Parkour experts have put this to a test by chasing or racing someone in an automobile. This happened in Casino Royale where a man on foot was able to keep up with James Bond in a car because Bond had to take longer paths on asphalt roads.

Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • January 21, 2012
    FuriouslySleepingIdea
    Traffic and road patterns matter. This is not unrealistic with bad enough traffic jams. If the driver can't actually use the car's speed.
  • January 21, 2012
    nman
    I like this trope, but think it needs a better name - don't want Fast Eddie cutting it because it sounds like dialogue, do ya? Also, Follow That Car has at least two examples of this listed as subversions of that trope, so you could probably move them here and just make a reference to that one. Live Action Television
  • January 21, 2012
    darkapothem2000
    What about just Bringing Running Shoes To A Car Chase? Also, the Captain America movie has this after Jeff Rogers first becomes a supersoldier.
  • January 21, 2012
    animeg3282
    Is there a bicycle version of this trope?
  • January 21, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
  • January 21, 2012
    surgoshan
    • As soon as he gets his new physique in Captain America The First Avenger, Steve Rogers takes off after a bad guy. Bad guy steals a car and Steve runs after him and catches up. Then, Up To Eleven, the bad guy climbs into a submarine and Steve swims after him and catches him.
  • January 21, 2012
    AFP
    Pedestrian Car Chase?

    In modern works, expect the pursuer to be skilled in Le Parkour.
  • January 21, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Roberta of Black Lagoon does this to the Lagoon crew, overtaking their vehicle at a dead run and leaping right on the rear with a trench knife. There's a reason she's often compared to the Terminator.
  • January 22, 2012
    nman
    Thought of another one:
    • In the animated adaptation of Batman Year One, Bruce Wayne (not as Batman) chases a car on foot, going as far as to run on rooftops and jump down onto another truck.
  • January 22, 2012
    Koveras
    Compare/contrast Hood Hopping.
  • January 24, 2012
    Premonition45
    Pedestrian Car Chase sounds good.
  • January 24, 2012
    animeg3282
    Once in Skip Beat, Kyoko managed to catch up to a manager's car on foot due to her quasi supernatural abilities.
  • January 24, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    • The 40 Year Old Virgin - In the climax, Andy chases Trish's car on a bike, taking a shortcut and eventually crashing through a moving advertisement, landing right in front of Trish's car.
  • January 25, 2012
    vynsane
    LiveActionTV

    • In an episode of TheX-Files, entitled Unruhe, the antagonist of the week steals the pair's car and kidnaps Scully. Mulder manages to keep up on foot for about two blocks.
  • January 25, 2012
    TooBah
    Somehow related, at least in spirit, to Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight. Uses the proposed quote, even.
  • January 25, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Men In Black. When the Bug escapes from J and K in a cab, J runs after the cab on foot. K sensibly goes to get their car and picks up J.
  • January 25, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    Western Animation: One episode of Cow And Chicken ends with The Red Guy chasing after a car and some bicyclists on foot. Inverted as well, as some cops are pursuing him in a car for exceeding the speed limit (somehow). All four parties are traveling at the exact same speed.

    Video Games: Sonic The Hedgehog and his friends frequently have to chase vehicles down. Examples include a red car speeding down Metal City carrying treasure in Sonic Riders, the Egg Hammer Mark II in Sonic Advance 2 (essentially a convertible with a giant hammer in the back), a train with a bomb strapped to it in Sonic The Hedgehog 2006, the Frigate Orcan and the Skullian blimp in Sonic Colors, and a modified race car out of curiosity in Sonic X. The most famous example is an inversion though: In Sonic Adventure 2 (and Sonic Generations), a paramilitary force sends a gigantic truck after Sonic, who then has to run for his life until the truck crashes into something and incapacitates itself.

    Film: Woody attempts to chase after a train on foot at the beginning of Toy Story 3. It works as well as one would expect a cowboy to. He's not truly able to catch up to the train until he gets access to Barbie's car.

    Real Life: Le Parkour came about because some urban areas in France have such congested traffic problems that running, hopping, and bouncing across places would be faster than driving. Le Parkour experts have put this to a test by chasing or racing someone in an automobile. This happened in Casino Royale where a man on foot was able to keep up with James Bond in a car because Bond had to take longer paths on asphalt roads.
  • January 25, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    No one's mentioned the first episode of Sherlock, wherein he demonstrates that he's memorised the local traffic patterns and deduces where he can intercept a cab which he can't see for most of the chase?
  • January 26, 2012
    luislucas
    Perhaps this troupe should be expanded to include, for example, a bicycle chasing a car? In the sense that it is unlikely it would be able to keep up with said car. Also, add the example of BeyBlade V-Force, in which Tyson (The Hero) keeps up and actually leaves behind a car due to having limited time to get to a telephone booth (die hard style), as well as due to some dogs chasing him.
  • January 26, 2012
    AP
    Comics
    • In two separate Sin City stories, main characters rush after cars on foot. In Family Values, Miho uses rollerblades to achieve this goal and in Just another Saturday Night, Marv runs after the car but quickly leaps on soon after.

    Film:

    • The main character in Taken runs after a car on foot and follows it to a harbor.
    • In Super Fly, not only does the eponymous character run after a car but he leaps over it as well.
  • January 26, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    Top Gear did a challenge in which Clarkson had to drive a car around the course of the London Marathon, while a runner did it on foot. The runner won.
  • January 26, 2012
    AP
    This trope often overlaps with Outside Ride and Hood Hopping.
  • January 27, 2012
    Chabal2
    Extreme example: One episode of The Simpsons has Sideshow Bob steal a replica of the Wright brothers' flyer, only for an Air Force base to send two jets after it. However, as the jets go too fast, one pilot suggest getting out and walking, with the scene cutting to them doing just that, jogging alongside the flyer with one hand reaching up.
  • January 27, 2012
    JoeG
  • January 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In the film Watermelon Man - about a white man who turns black overnight for no discernable reason - Jeff's morning workout is running along with a bus on the way to work (instead of just taking the bus). After he turns black he gets stopped by the cops for Running While Black. They assume he stole something - why else would he be running?
    • In the film Superman teenage Clark Kent races a train.
  • January 28, 2012
    Bruxist
    I think Pedestrian Car Chase is a better name, especially since Bringing Running Shoes To A Car Chase falls into the snowclone territory...
  • January 29, 2012
    Rognik
    Another Simpsons' example: Homer has become friends with Ned Flanders, but the Flanders family doesn't want him being so friendly. Ned bursts out of his garage with his family and starts speeding down the road, with Homer chasing after him. He's able to keep up until Ned pulls an escape by train (is there a trope for that?). Also used as a Take That to the Kia Geo.

    What about the inverse of this? I can think of a few cases where someone is running away on foot but is chased by a car. The escape for this one is more obvious, though, as people are smaller than cars and just need to cut into a narrow alley to escape/buy time.
  • July 18, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    Any more hats?

  • July 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Old joke. "I'm not so concerned about my dog chasing cars, it's when he brings 'em home and buries 'em in the yard that I start to get worried."
  • March 16, 2015
    DAN004
  • March 16, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • Cow And Chicken.
      • In "The King and Queen of Cheese", Chicken notices Cow has dropped her Crabs the Warthog doll on the platform at the train station after she has already boarded the train and it has left; he chases after the train on foot - all the way to Arkansas - to give her her doll.
      • In "Cow and Chicken Recycling", a pair of art thieves rob Red Guy's museum under the cover of darkness, but after they take off in their getaway truck, Red chases after them on foot - and can surprisingly run as fast as they drive.
  • March 16, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Get Smart Max wants to catch a KAOS agent who has driven off so he tells a CONTROL agent extra leaning on an auto to "Follow That Car!" - which he does by taking off running. This was the birth of Larrabee, the agent so dumb that he's able to force CONTROL to keep Max on the payroll (because if Max was fired, Larrabee would have to be promoted to Max's job).
  • March 17, 2015
    Arivne
    • Changed "shapeshifting" to Shape Shifter.
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Changed "makes" to "does".
      • Namespaced and italicized work names.

    Lethal Weapon and The Matrix are Zero Context Examples and need specific information that show how they're this trope.

    I don't recall Agents chasing cars while on foot in any of the three The Matrix films.
  • March 17, 2015
    Koveras
    • Inverted in the opening scene of The One, where the antagonist outruns a police car on foot.
  • March 17, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ it isn't inverted, it's played straight.
  • March 17, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Needs a better name - there could well be barefoot examples. I vote for Pedestrian Car Chase or Pedestrian Vs Car
  • March 17, 2015
    dalek955
    Pedestrian Vs Car sounds like a hit-and-run.

    • In Neverwinter Nights, the flavor text for the Boots of Speed says that the original pair was used by an assassin who would chase down horseback riders with them, shouting a battlecry of "You can hide, but you can't run!"
  • March 17, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^ Confusable with Pedestrian Crushes Car
  • April 25, 2015
    DAN004
    Compare the Unconventional Vehicle Chase for bringing a "laughable" vehicle against a normal vehicle.
  • April 26, 2015
    MetaFour
    • One The Far Side comic depicts "Every dog's dream". The dog in question successfully caught the car he was chasing, and stands atop its corpse to howl in triumph.
  • December 31, 2015
    DAN004
    Inverted case would be a car chasing a guy on foot. The chased may fool the car driver by using parkour as well.
  • December 31, 2015
    eroock
    This trope needs some better contrasting against Racing The Train. If a fast-moving vehicle is used as a foil to show off the speed powers of a running person, that's Racing The Train. It's a characterization trope. This trope, as I understand it, is a story trope for chase scenes where an Implacable Man is able to catch up with a fast-moving vehicle in order to hijack it (or in the inverted version, to escape from it). Some example don't have this and should hence be moved to Racing The Train:

    Anime:
    • The Golden Age Flash (or add context to justify its listing here)

    Film:
    • Superman (or add context to justify its listing here)

    Video Games:
    • Mega Man X4 (debatable, seems to be both characterization and story trope)

    Western Animation:
    • First example of The Simpsons (a characterization of the slow jets)

  • December 31, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ I know for X4 and, well, maybe it fits more into Racing The Train. Dunno for the rest.
  • December 31, 2015
    tandra88
    Live Action TV
    • In an episode of Scandal, Jake races after a car that supposedly had a kidnapped Olivia inside of it on foot. And in his underwear. Scott Foley, his actor, even got a cast on his foot after getting hurt during one of the takes.
  • December 31, 2015
    foxley
    Another Top Gear example. In a series 8 challenge, James May in a Peugeot 207 raced two parkour practitioners across Liverpool. Captain Slow lost.
  • March 1, 2016
    TBTabby
    An episode of Freakazoid has Freakazoid chasing on foot after the Lobe, who's escaping in a limousine. Freakazoid manages to catch up to the limousine and get into a ramming duel with it before the writing staff pulls up beside him in another limousine and suggests that he should use the Freakmobile.
  • January 1, 2016
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^^Watermelon Man doesn't fit per your description. Notwithstanding Jeff's unexplained color change, he has no "superpowers." He's a normal human being. He's just running. (He also takes a shortcut that the bus can't take.) See it here - some language and very brief butt nudity, so a little NSFW.
  • January 1, 2016
    eroock
    ^ Watching that scene from Watermelon Man, it looks like it could fit in here, as played for laughs.
  • January 1, 2016
    DAN004
    Him being able to... turn black seems like irrelevant context here. I'm more concerned at him running at the pace of the bus.
  • January 1, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Permit me to expand upon the Superman example:

    • The teenage Clark Kent from Superman races on foot at super speed to outrun a passenger train, and narrowly beats it to a crossing. Clark is in a hurry to arrive home ahead of a Jerk Jock driving a Carload Of Cool Kids, since the jock thinks Clark is still on the practice field folding football uniforms.
  • January 1, 2016
    dalek955
    • In Sherlock: A Study in Pink, Sherlock manages to catch up to a taxi traveling on relatively clear roads by anticipating its route, knowing where he can take shortcuts and being a decent runner.
  • January 5, 2016
    DAN004
    Anything else this needs?
  • January 5, 2016
    shimaspawn
    There are a few examples that need more context. Remember to remove or comment them out on launch.
  • January 5, 2016
    marcoasalazarm
    ^Fixed the couple that had the bolded-out "Needs More Context".
  • January 5, 2016
    shimaspawn
    You're good to go then.
  • January 5, 2016
    Kartoonkid95
    • Phineas And Ferb: In "Split Personality", Busting!Candace goes on foot to catch up to the car Linda and Romantic!Candace are in.
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