Created By: doubledragons on August 3, 2009
Troped

Surprise Vehicle

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A character is, for example, standing on a cliff's edge when they are startled by a helicopter which rises, roaring, into view. It didn't make any noise until someone saw it. This happened on Thelma and Louise and about a dozen other more forgettable movies, like Charlie's Angels.

The original working title was Surprise Helicopter, but that limits the aircraft to just helicopters and now I can more easily put this in Vehicle Tropes.

I don't know how many times I've seen people get hit by a car that didn't make any noise until it hit them, for example: the second(?) episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Also, I remembered the Humongous Mecha from Terminator Salvation that was able to sneak up on people despite its earthquaking footsteps and the deafening Scare Chord noises that its gears made every time it moved.

Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • August 1, 2009
    random surfer
    I totally remember seeing Roger Ebert tear a movie a new one over this, but I don't remember the film. I think Gene Hackman was in it, and the scene in question took place in a house that overlooks a canyon.
  • August 1, 2009
    Arivne
    Anime
    • Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st Gig, first episode ("Section-9"). After the Major captures a terrorist on top of a building, a helicopter carrying Batou rises up from below the edge of the building.

    Film
    • Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann. A man is accidentally sent back in time to the Old West. Near the end, a helicopter (deliberately sent back to the past) appears to rescue him from criminals.
    • Blue Thunder. The title helicopter appears from below the side of a bridge to save a woman being (unjustly) pursued by the police.
    • Undercover Brother. As the title character is fighting Mr. Feather, The Man's helicopter rises up from behind a wall.

    Note that there have been other vehicles that have done this. If the trope is expanded to include them:

    Film
    • Star Trek V. On the planet where "God" was imprisoned, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey rose up over a hill to rescue Kirk.
    • Aliens. When Ripley and Newt are about to be attacked by the Alien Queen in the atmosphere processing plant, the dropship rises up from below the edge of the platform they're on.
  • August 1, 2009
    Koveras
    Often a case of Big Damn Gunship.
  • August 1, 2009
    Silent Hunter
    • Airwolf did this on more than one occasion.
  • August 1, 2009
    BlackMageJ
    It's a spaceship rather than a helicopter, but Serenity did this in the second (first, if you watched it's original run on Fox) episode of Firefly
  • August 1, 2009
    BlackDragon
    Happens frequently on Najica Blitz Tactics, thanks to Najica's ever-so-handy remote-controlled helicopter gunship. Might be partially justified by it being a low-noise Stealth Chopper specifically designed for the kind of secret missions she engages in, but still...
  • August 1, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
  • August 1, 2009
    MetaFour
    See also Rule Of Perception for the bit about helicopters being completely inaudible until they're on-screen.
  • August 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I think the first Alex Rider film did this.
  • August 2, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Real Life:
    • Many helicopters, perhaps most famously the UH-1, are so loud that you know there is a helicopter nearby, but due to echoes, etc. it is sometimes difficult to know where it is unless you see it, So Yeah....
    • The U.S. Military was working on a stealth helicopter, Or So I Heard, that would not only have a low radar cross section, but could also hide quietly behind terrain for minutes or maybe hours at a time, then pop up to fire antitank missiles when needed. I don't know how close existing craft might be to this
  • August 2, 2009
    dotchan
    In True Lies, Arnold's character manages to pull off a Surprise Harrier Jet.
  • August 2, 2009
    Fanra
    Blue Thunder. The title helicopter appears from below the side of a bridge to save a woman being (unjustly) pursued by the police.
    The helicopter actually had a "whisper" mode that could be turned on to make it quieter than normal. Apparently, it was not a good idea to use it all the time. It most likely reduced the performance in exchange for sound reduction.

  • August 3, 2009
    doubledragons
    "I totally remember seeing Roger Ebert tear a movie a new one over this, but I don't remember the film. I think Gene Hackman was in it, and the scene in question took place in a house that overlooks a canyon."
  • August 3, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I'm pretty sure there's a surprise helicopter in Down With Love at the very end
  • August 3, 2009
    Nomic
    The Felreaver patrolling Hellfire Peninsula in World Of Warcraft. It's a 50-foot tall demonic robot that shakes the ground with it's footsteps and makes a sound not unlike a locomotive from hell, yet it still manages to suprise (and crush) unwary players who weren't paying attention to their surroundings. The game also has the dreaded Suprise Devilsaurs, which are even worse because they are actually quite sneaky (as sneaky as a T-rex can be).
  • August 3, 2009
    LarryD
    I'm sure I've seen instances where a giant monster rises up behind (or in front), out of the ocean or up a clift. And IIRC, in Terminator 2 there was at least one scene where the T-1000 was getting up behind someone.

    I think there is a general trope here; maybe two, depending if the approach is in front (making it an Oh Crap moment) or from behind (building suspense).

    Rising Threat ?
  • August 4, 2009
    random surfer
    @doubledragons: Yep, I think that's it.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9rodnj8idookzwzgpd29etdu