Created By: justanid on March 6, 2013 Last Edited By: DennisDunjinman on February 4, 2014
Troped

Pedestrian Crushes Car

When a fictional character damages or destroys a vehicle that in real life would harm them.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

"Red means STOP!"
Hellboy

In real life, when a pedestrian is hit by a car, they suffer physical trauma; as a result, automobiles cause more deaths than any other machine on the planet. While that statistic still applies to drivers, you can expect a number of pedestrians in fiction to hold their own.

A martial artist may punch through a door without breaking their hand and if a super hero can stop a locomotive by standing in front of it, don't expect lighter vehicle to survive. Motorcycles? Not a chance. Automobiles? Straight to the junkyard. Aircraft? Not if there's a flying brick. Metal siding crumples like tinfoil, engines get tossed aside, frames crumple, and passengers will be stunned.

Often requires Nigh-Invulnerability for straight examples or The Alleged Car for comedy. Bonus Points if the vehicle in question has a recognizable Impact Silhouette left behind.

Overlaps with Trainstopping, which is more about stopping a train than damaging it. Opposite of Car Fu.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

Comic Book
  • Planetary #3 has a guy attempt Car Fu on Jakita Wagner, she kicks the engine out of his vehicle (pictured).
  • In one Richie Rich comic book story, Irona the robot maid (female design) is on a date with Steelo, a male-design robot when a car tries to run the red light while they are crossing and in the way. No effect on the robots. The car is comprehensively totalled. This being a kid's comic book, the driver is merely stunned.
  • The first volume of Preacher has Cassidy attempt Car Fu on The Saint of Killers. It doesn't work.
  • In several Bamse episodes, Vargen has tried to run over Bamse with his car. One example is in the movie Vargen šter dunderhonung, after Vargen had robbed Katta Lo's candy shop. It usually ends badly for the car. Picture
  • Superman has more variations on this than can be counted.
  • The Hulk is a giant green behemoth, yet people seem to think he can be taken out by cars that are smaller than him! The opposite tends to happen.

Literature
  • In The War Against the Chtorr, don't expect you or your car to survive ramming a Chtorran gastropede.
  • In Jack Blank, Allegra falls off the outside of a car during a high-speed chase and lands on top of another car. Because she's Made of Iron, she's perfectly fine, but the car she lands on isn't.

Live Action Films
  • Superman II. When Clark Kent walks across a street he's hit by an oncoming car. He strolls on unconcerned, but the car has extensive front end damage.
  • The first Fantastic Four film has The Thing clobber a semi-truck to save someone.
  • Hellboy punches a oncoming car with his stone fist to save a man lying on the road, causing it to flip over them both.
  • Constantine: At the beginning, when the Mexican man finds the Spear of Destiny he walks onto a road and a car runs into him. The car is totaled, the man is unscathed.
  • Iron Man 2 has the revenge-seeking Ivan Vanko ripping apart Formula One cars during a race to get at Tony Stark.
  • In Race to Witch Mountain, Human Alien Seth increases his density just before a car hits him, causing it to smash against his body with no harm to him.
  • Hancock provides an example of Pedestrian Crushes Train. Hancock then spends a couple minutes extricating himself from its crumpled front end.

Live-Action TV
  • The X-Files has the episode "Salvage", which starts out with a car being almost cleaved in half after running into someone.
  • A recurring bit on Smallville when young Clark Kent saves a pedestrian from being hit by a car or bus, which crumples around Clark.
  • In the first episode of Lois and Clark a pre-Suprman Clark stops a city bus from hitting a pedestrian. After the event, the bus driver gets out to check on the bus and sees Clark's handprint in the metal of the bus.
  • In one episode of The 10th Kingdom, a troll wandering around New York city is hit by a car; he suffers no injury, but the car is badly damaged.
  • One Tosh0 episode had a Web Redemption for a man who got hit by an ice cream truck while dancing in the middle of a street. It ended with the man starring in a music video where an ice cream truck hits him again only to get demolished instead.

Music
  • The music video for "Rabbit In Your Headlights" by UNKLE featuring Thom Yorke. In it, a homeless and seemingly crazy man in a thick jacket is walking in the middle of a road through a busy tunnel. He gets hit a few times by passing cars but always gets right back up and continues walking and ranting to himself. Eventually he begins shedding his clothes. At the climax of the song he suddenly stops, shirtless, and holds out his arms as a car barrels towards him. It crashes into him as if he's immovable.

Video Games
  • The first Final Fight game has a minigame where characters can beat up a car with their bare fists and there's a time limit. Later used for Street Fighter II, where it's probably more well-known — though it doesn't have the hapless owner showing up and breaking down in despair.
  • The opening cinematic of Crysis shows off the rapid improvisation the series' nanosuits are intended to make possible. At one point a mook tries to run Nomad down with a Humvee, but Nomad switches suit modes to Super Strength and destroys the vehicle by punching it.
  • [PROTOTYPE] and its sequel treat cars as little more than rolling ammo and even tanks can be literally tossed aside. And forget about them running over the player character, he's a lot heavier than he looks.

Western Animation Films

Western Animation TV
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Dough Ray Me-ow", a parrot tries to kill a cat by having him play in the railroad track as the train is coming. The train is totaled in the collision, but the cat steps out with nary a scratch.
  • In one Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoon, Wile E. is hit so hard by a truck that he leaves a hole through it.


Indexes: Fight Scene, Motor Vehicle Tropes, Superhero Tropes
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • March 7, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Superman II. When Clark Kent walks across a street he's hit by an oncoming car. He strolls on unconcerned, but the car has extensive front end damage.
  • March 7, 2013
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

  • March 7, 2013
    Chernoskill
    I believe this happens in the first Fantastic Four movie (The Thing).
  • March 7, 2013
    TonyG
    Western Animation
    • In the Looney Tunes short "Dough Ray Me-ow", a parrot tries to kill a cat by having him play in the railroad track as the train is coming. The train is totaled in the collision, but the cat steps out with nary a scratch.
    • In one Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoon, Wile E. is hit so hard by a truck that he leaves a hole through it.
    • On his very first animated cartoon, Popeye The Sailor punches out a train.
  • March 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    A recurring bit on Smallville when young Clark Kent saves a pedestrian from being hit by a car or bus, which crumples around Clark.
  • March 7, 2013
    justanid
    Yay, examples. :) Thanks.
  • March 7, 2013
    thewriter
    For the Smallville example that's also how Lex and Clark originally met. Lex accidentally swerved into Clark and takes them both over the edge of q bridge into water.

    • Hancock takes this Up To Eleven when the titular superhero stops an oncoming train just by standing in front of it.
  • March 7, 2013
    thewriter
    Oh wait, that's Trainstopping nevermind
  • March 8, 2013
    Chernoskill
    The first Hellboy movie has HB punch a oncoming car with his stone fist to save a man lying on the road, causing it to flip over them both.
  • March 8, 2013
    TonyG
    In The Triplets Of Belleville, one of the gangster cars flips after hitting a Baby Carriage; the baby was just that big.
  • March 8, 2013
    Tiiba
    Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z had some fun with a car during an early appearance.
  • March 8, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the first episode of Lois And Clark a pre-Suprman Clark stops a city bus from hitting a pedestrian. After the event, the bus driver gets out to check on the bus and sees a handprint where the metal of the bus folded around Clark's hand.
  • March 9, 2013
    BOFH
    Live Action TV
    • In one episode of The Tenth Kingdom, a troll wandering around New York city is hit by a car; he suffers no injury, but the car is badly damaged.
  • March 10, 2013
    Arivne
    Film- Live Action
    • Constantine. At the beginning, when the Mexican man finds the Spear of Destiny he walks onto a road and a car runs into him. The car is totaled, the man is unscathed.
  • March 10, 2013
    Terrane
    Live Action TV:
    • One Tosh0 episode had a Web Redemption for a man who got hit by an ice cream truck while dancing in the middle of a street. It ended with the man starring in a music video where an ice cream truck hits him again only to get demolished instead.
  • March 10, 2013
    McKathlin
    Does this trope apply to all vehicular collisions that defy physics by harming the larger, tougher object more than the smaller, softer one? Or is it just pedestrian-vehicle collisions? Here are some examples that fit the broader definition:
    • Minecraft lily pads, when hit by a boat, used to stay in place and break the boat. This was changed in 2012 so that the lily pad is knocked loose instead.
    • In Cruis'n USA, running into one of the trees or lamp posts lining the side of the road causes it to fall forward like a cardboard cutout. The car proceeds undamaged.

  • March 11, 2013
    MiinU
    The Majin Buu example could use a bit more context, since it hardly tells us anything, except he had fun with a car. Was it trying to run him over as per the trope, or was it parked? And why did it happen?
  • March 12, 2013
    justanid
    @McKathlin: This is just for people smashing vehicles. I don't think there's a Super Trope that includes this and Trainstopping, got me trying to think of more examples of like those two though. Not sure if there's a Krappy Kinetics trope under Video Game Physics.

    @MiinU: Updated. Haven't seen the whole thing as I don't like the show beyond the abdridged version.
  • March 12, 2013
    DorianMode
    Related: in Top Secret!, two men are having a train-top battle. One sees that the train is about to go under a bridge, and ducks-and-covers. When the other guy hits the bridge with his mid-back, he plows right through the bricks, dusts himself off, then motions for the other guy to get up and start fighting again.
  • March 17, 2013
    justanid
    ^ Offhand I'd say that's a different trope, applying to buildings; I can think of a ton of those... is there something like "Human Wrecking Ball"? A cursory search doesn't turn anything up.
  • March 17, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
  • March 18, 2013
    StarSword
    Page quote:
    "Red means STOP!"
    -- Hellboy, Hellboy

    Video Games:
  • August 2, 2013
    Melkior
    Does it count if the pedestrian is a robot?

    Comic Books
    • In one Richie Rich comic book story, Irona the robot maid (female design) is on a date with Steelo, a male-design robot when a car tries to run the red light while they are crossing and in the way. No effect on the robots. The car is comprehensively totalled. This being a kid's comic book, the driver is merely stunned.
  • November 15, 2013
    justanid
    ^ Sure.
  • November 15, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Many, many, many jokes about Eastern European (and British) cars manufactured during the Cold War involved this. If it was mentioned on The Alleged Car's real life section, it probably had this joke made about it.
  • November 15, 2013
    kjnoren
    • In several Bamse episodes, Vargen has tried to run over Bamse with his car. One example is in the movie Vargen äter dunderhonung, after Vargen had robbed Katta Lo's candy shop. It usually ends badly for the car. Picture
  • November 15, 2013
    Shnakepup
    • The music video for "Rabbit In Your Headlights" by UNKLE featuring Thom Yorke. In it, a homeless and seemingly crazy man in a thick jacket is walking in the middle of a road through a busy tunnel. He gets hit a few times by passing cars but always gets right back up and continues walking and ranting to himself. Eventually he begins shedding his clothes. At the climax of the song he suddenly stops, shirtless, and holds out his arms as a car barrels towards him. It crashes into him as if he's immovable.
  • November 18, 2013
    justanid
    Added a couple more examples.
  • January 31, 2014
    justanid
    Rewrote description and laconic.
  • January 31, 2014
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Expanded the Street Fighter II example with its predecessor from Final Fight.
  • February 1, 2014
    Green5
  • February 4, 2014
    justanid
    Launching it, now that it has 5 hats.
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