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. In the movies, however, count on terrible gridlock, the chaser either knowing the streets really well and thus able to take shortcuts, being able to hitch (temporary) rides on other passing vehicles, or even just being an implacable shapeshifting cyborg from the future.
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.
(Trope title from Sean Connery in The Untouchables
- "Isn't that just like a wop. Brings a knife to a gunfight.")
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The T-1000 makes 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.
- I have a vague memory of Mel Gibson doing this, possibly in the first Lethal Weapon movie?
- Agents in The Matrix will pursue by any means available, including this if there's nothing more efficient.
- 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.
- 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.
- The first recorded automobile chase in America took place in the 1860s. The police officer was on foot.