The bad guys are on your tail! There's nowhere to hide, nowhere to go... but if you're anywhere near a body of water, don't worry: Guaranteed, there's a boat about to leave the dock. Just run a bit faster, hit the edge of the wharf, and jump onto that bad boy! You'll be safe at last, and if you're lucky, your pursuers will try and follow— and end up swimming back to shore, shaking their fists all the while.
This also counts if you drive off a bridge and a barge shows up below. Very rarely is the subject of how the escapee gets off the boat addressed— they
might end up swimming back to shore, too. Sometimes justified by having the pursuers cuss about how their quarry not only got away, but stole their boat as well.
Often subverted by having the jumper land on the boat, only to discover that the boat is pulling in
, not out. Closely related to its action-movie brethren Roofhopping
, Trash Landing
, and Train Escape
. Car examples may include a Ramp Jump
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Anime and Manga
- Pokémon 4Ever used this at the beginning when Ash tried to catch a ferry.
- Greenback Jane arc of Black Lagoon features such an emergency escape. Only some of the pursuers manage to follow.
- This happens to Ethan and Skink the first time they escape the Raven castle in Scion.
- In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin jumps into a convenient motorboat to escape the police. The police use a faster motorboat to chase him down.
- What About Witch Queen? does it twice:
- Villainous example with Hans, who manages to hitch a ride on Lucky Zephyr, the last ship to leave the port before Friedrich closes it to prevent Hans' escape.
- Heroic example with Anna and Ferdinand, who don't have to wait in the smugglers' cave for long before smugglers arrive with a boat. Princess and prince hide under the plank smugglers use to protect ship from the rain and get a free transport to the city.
- Remy the rat in Ratatouille escapes from an evil chef by jumping on a boat. The chef manages to catch the first one, but he doesn't make the second.
- This happens in White Lightning, and inspired a similar act in The Simpsons (see below)
- Happens in In Bruges when Colin Farrell's character is attempting to outrun Ralph Fiennes, the boss of his crime syndicate.
- Dawn of the Dead (2004) does this... though It Doesn't End Well
- This is done somewhat in the movie The Lord of the Rings, when the Nazgűl are chasing the hobbits— and the hobbits pull off in the ferry, before Frodo even gets there. Naturally, Frodo has to jump for it— and makes it... just in time. (In the book, it was nowhere this dramatic; the Nazgűl follows them to the river, but is unseen until long after they've pulled off).
- This is also done in the movie Some Likeit Hot, where Jack Lemmon's "Fiance" just happens to be there waiting for him in a boat.
- This is how Sun Yat Sen escapes the authorities at the end of one of the Wang Fei Hong movies.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Subverted while Indiana and Dr. Schneider are fleeing members of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. They find a boat and try to escape, but the Brotherhood members also find boats, pursue and catch up to them.
- Invoked when Indy and his dad are trying to escape Castle Brunwald. They find several boats and Indy acts like he's going to use one of them to escape, fooling even his father. However, he's really trying to trick the Nazis into thinking they used the boat: he actually plans to escape using a motorcycle with attached sidecar.
- Parodied in 50 First Dates when Adam Sandler's character pretends to be a CIA agent, he leaps off the dock and onto some guy's jet ski. He bribes the guy to just keep driving as if this was normal.
- Subverted and inverted in The Ghost Writer. The main character is being tailed and manages to get on board the only ferry off the island. His pursuers are prevented from boarding at first, until he looks back and the guard reluctantly lets them on. He still manages to give them the slip, and leaps off back onto the island.
- The bridge version turns up in the Action Prologue of The Mechanic (2011), though it's clear the barge passing beneath the bridge is a regular event that the hitman has planned for.
- Used in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The hijackers send the subway train down a line leading to the harbour so the police will think they're escaping via boat, when they've actually got off the train already.
- In The Navigator, Buster Keaton and his girl are out in the water off the coast of an island, about to be captured and eaten by the cannibals that inhabit said island—when a submarine surfaces completly at random beneath them, saving them from the cannibals.
Live Action TV
- Psych: In "You Can't Handle This Episode" Juliet's secret-agent brother Ewen is introduced by having him jump obstacles and dodge bullet fire while being chased. He runs onto a public beach, jumps into the water, knocks a civilian off of a Jet Ski and zooms off to safety. All while having a conversation Juliet on the phone.
- In Left 4 Dead it happens in the second scenario after the characters find the town that you spend the first couple of chapters trying to flee to has already been overrun and they decide to head to the river.
- In Grand Theft Auto, you can often rely on a boat being near water to help you make an easy escape:
- An example is The Snow Storm in Grand Theft Auto IV, where after you fight your way out of the hospital you can continue to push through the police on land, or take the easy route and jump in a nearby boat.
- The same game has a mob boss pull this stunt, forcing you to chase him along the coast on a bike (good thing he didn't think to travel out to sea...)
- Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had the problem of 'instant drowning', which made leaving the boat problematic. The hero of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas could swim (and nobody else could) so often just leaping out into open water was a viable escape strategy. And funny, if anyone tried to follow.
- In the first level of Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and The Flame, the Prince has to make his escape by jumping to catch a departing ship.
- Somewhat inverted in Time Crisis, as it's one of the Bad Guys who escapes this way, and you have to give chase on your own motorboat.
- In The Dreamer, Alan and Beatrice escape Gen. Howe's ship by boat.
- The Simpsons did it several times. On one occasion, Homer is trying to escape his guilt at not giving his dad a kidney, so he hops onto a departing ship full of "lost souls."
- They also did it in "Homer the Heretic": The Flanders family is chasing Homer in their car, so Homer heads to Springfield Harbor. He drives off a pier, landing on a garbage barge. The Flanders' hit the brakes, almost falling into the water. Homer waves back at them, then asks the captain where the barge is headed. "To Garbage Island," he replies. This is apparently a reference to the film White Lightning.
- They also invert is with the Show Within a Show Knightboat. The boat always has a canal or inlet that it can follow when enemies try to escape by going inland.