"Traditional rappelling requires holding a rope with both hands. Which is inconvenient if you're being shot at. That's why special forces are trained to rappel in unconventional ways."
So you have The Squad
, commandos from the Badass Army
, or just some Elite Mooks
. What's a great way to have them join the action in a dramatic or badass
manner? Why, have them rappel down into the scene from above! Shattering windows or skylights
on the way is optional (though it may seem obligatory) and adds great effect
Named after the real military tactic of fast-roping, making this Truth in Television
. Although, it can be a case of Awesome but Impractical
considering that the fast-roper is exposed to enemy fire the moment he draws attention. Fast-roping is normally used to insert soldiers in places helicopters cannot land, as opposed to making a grand entrance in front of a machine gun nest
. Note that there is a difference between fast-roping and rappelling.
A type of Dynamic Entry
that invokes Death from Above
. It's the faster-paced, tactical-level Sister Trope
of It's Raining Men
. Related to Super Window Jump
, which does not require a rope and does require a window or skylight.
Tends to be a case of Big Damn Heroes
. See also "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop
when it's done in stealth, not action. Grappling-Hook Pistol
is the (literal) inversion of this trope, when you use the rope to go up
rather than down. Compare Building Swing
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Anime and Manga
- The eponymous girls perform a raid on a terrorist mountain hideout like this in the twelfth episode of Gunslinger Girl.
- The Self-Defense Force breaks into Rin's office this way in episode 4 of Mnemosyne.
- Great Teacher Onizuka: Onizuka and some of his students play paintball, and two of them decide to drop in via the window.
- Gojo Shiouji in Excel Saga swings through the window in his first appearance, holding a small girl under his arm.
- All continuities of Ghost in the Shell use this repeatedly, befitting a series with a strong spec-ops theme. In the 1995 film, Major Kusanagi is in fact introduced in the act of fast-roping to an assassination target's window; several homages to the scene can be spotted in later media.
- Used by Train Heartnet in his first on-panel encounter with Creed in the Manga version of Black Cat.
- Used by the Amestrian military in episode 49 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to get the jump on Roy and his group.
- Done by Touma and Gaomon in Episode 8 of Digimon Savers when raiding a suspect's hideout. True to form, they shattered the windows using Gaomon's punch attack.
- The entire plot of the Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! anime starts with this, with Rikka and Yuuta's Meet Cute started by Rikka's trying to leave her apartment this way. Throughout the anime she enters and leaves Yuuta's room this way as well.
- In Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo Misaki installs a rope from her window, which she uses to drop into Sorata's room quickly.
- This is how Youhei and the rest of Sakuragi's friends get into the Shohoku gym in Slam Dunk, since the door's locked from the inside to hide how Mitsui and his gang are beating up the basketball club members (because if a sports club gets into a fight, they'll be banned from going to the Nationals... which is what Mitsui and Co. want to do in the first place.
- ODST's performed this tactic during the Battle of Cleveland in the comic Halo: Uprising.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, ARC Troopers are shown doing this in one panel of the comic depicting the Battle of Kamino.
- A rookie Ranger missing the rope (an RPG was fired at his helicopter and it had to dodge it, shaking things up) and falling to the ground was the first incident in the mess that was the Battle of Mogadishu. Said ranger was played by Orlando Bloom in Black Hawk Down. In the book the film's based on, there's no RPG and no swerve, he just has a hand/eye coordination moment.
- Predator. Dutch's rescue team is carried into enemy territory by helicopter. At the landing zone they descend to the ground on lines because there isn't enough room in the jungle for the copters to set down.
- I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. John Slade rappels down the side of a building from the roof with the intent of throwing a stick of dynamite through a window. Unfortunately, he misjudges the length of the fuse.
- In The Relic, commandos enter the Museum of Natural History in this way in order to deal with the monster threat. Possibly a subversion, since it doesn't work out so well for the commandos.
- Resident Evil. The soldiers do this while entering the mansion (smashing through the windows as they do so). It's in the trailer here, at about 0:40. Why they decided to go up on the roof first is never explained, but it was clearly Rule of Cool.
- The opening action scene of Minority Report shows the pre crime operatives rappelling down through a man's skylight after John Anderton has already subdued the suspect.
- Near the end of The Blues Brothers, a number of SWAT officers are seen rappelling down the side of a building. Watch it here, starting at 3:55.
- Used several times in James Bond films, sometimes with gadgets and sometimes improvised but nearly always fast roping.
- Tiger Tanaka's ninjas descend into Blofeld's volcano this way in You Only Live Twice. Played with since the ninjas have special roller apparatus on their belts to get down really fast, but given the crossfire by the SPECTRE goons, multiple ninjas are shot up and dead by the time they reach the floor.
- Xenia in Golden Eye rappels down from an helicopter.
- In The World Is Not Enough he improvises a rope using the blind in a banker's office.
- Never Say Never Again. During the Unwinnable Training Simulation at the beginning Bond uses a rope to swing down from the roof of a building and break in through a window.
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Clone troopers come down on ziplines, guns blazing.
- Done much more epically in the novelization in which they do this from extreme altitude as the Star Wars version of an airborne assault.
- Lampshaded in The Boondock Saints. While stocking up on weapons/gear Connor and Murphy argue:
Connor: Do ya know what we need, man? Some rope.
Murphy: Absolutely. What are ya, insane?
Connor: No I ain't. Charlie Bronson's always got rope.
Connor: Yeah. He's got a lot of rope strapped around him in the movies, and they always end up using it."
- Then later they accidentally become entwined in the rope, fall through a ceiling vent, hang upside down and shoot all the heavily armed gangsters.
- They do it AGAIN, and do it right, in The Boondock Saints All Saints Day, this time busting through a skyscraper window and blasting off with Desert Eagles akimbo. And they proceed to have another rope argument just before this.
- Shows up in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (yes, really) towards the end. Robin Hood uses a long pennant to do this.
- In Hudson Hawk, Kit Kat first appears by sliding down a rope in front of Eddie. Starting at 2:15.
- The Avengers (1998). Bailey rappels down from above to fight Mrs. Peel.
- A couple of the SWAT teams do this in the climax of The Dark Knight as they storm the Joker's building. As Batman is trying to stop them, he ends up using their still-attached cables to his advantage.
- Would the awesome instance when Batman pulls Lau out of his office building count as a reversal of this trope?
- Brazil The Ministry Of Information troops crash into Mr. Buttle's living room through the windows on ropes, through the door and through a hole sliced through the roof.
- The Reavers do this during their attack on a small town in Serenity.
- Water (1985). The mercenaries do this when mining the cliffs, sending the mineral water gushing into the ocean. Serves as a Book End to wannabe communist rebel Delgado's less-then-professional Improvised Zipline at the start of the movie.
- In The Negotiator, the police attempt to ambush former hostage negotiator Danny Roman with a pair of fast-roping SWAT members entering through the windows. However, being an ex-cop, Roman is prepared for this and the whole operation backfires when Roman manages to add both SWAT cops to his collection of hostages.
- In Battle: Los Angeles, fast roping is used by the Marines twice. The first is to get off of an exposed freeway, and the second is when Nantz discovers the location of the alien command center, but his helicopter can't afford to land. There's also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when after Nantz reaches the ground, more ropes suddenly drop from the sky as his squadmates loyally follow him on what could realistically be considered a suicide mission.
- In Universal Soldier, the assault on a team of hostage taking terrorists involves several UniSols rappelling down a dam facing down. This is not Rule of Cool, surprisingly: It's a real rappelling technique invented by the Australian Army in the 1960s.
- The A-Team: The team does this when trying to capture someone involved with the plates. We get to see it from the outside; the roper doesn't just smash through the window, his teammate blows it out with a BFG just before he gets there.
- Spoofed in Machete when the title character uses a mooks' intestines to rappel out the window and crash through the window below.
- Act of Valor features Fast Roping used several times to transfer SEALs from helicopter to boat. In the first instance, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen fast rope out of Chinooks into their boats. In mid-flight.
- Umbrella soldiers in the Action Prologue of Resident Evil: Retribution rappel out of Osprey tilt-rotors onto the deck of the Aurora, looking especially cool as they're wearing Badass Longcoats and are led by Jill Valentine firing Guns Akimbo machine-pistols. Which means she doesn't have a hand free to control her descent or release her harness...
- In Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Ethan has to free-climb up the side of the tallest building in the world to get to its well-secured server room. He uses adhesive gloves which stop working, so to get out of the room he improvises a line and does an Australian rappel down the side...stopping ten metres short of the window he climbed out of.
Ethan: No shit!
- A bunch of Klingons do this in Star Trek Into Darkness. Unfortunately for them, they're up against a One-Man Army.
- The Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Guns of Tanith has the Ghosts taking part in an airborne assault on a mountain city, deploying from their dropships via rope. It's a shame they're all light infantry, not drop troops...
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six has the anti-terrorist group that's the focus of the novel, made up of members from the various elite forces for NATO, do this from time to time.
- If you're a White Court Vampire in the The Dresden Files, you don't need a bunch of lines to rappel from a helicopter. Or lines at all. While wearing heels. From above trees. Jim Butcher knows how to write a good entrance.
- The Specialist by Gayle Rivers, the protagonist is teaching this technique to an Iraqi special forces unit in the 1980's. An Iraqi sergeant takes offense as he'd become the unit champion using an older rappelling system, so after the protagonist demonstrates a Super Window Jump decides to repeat the trick using the old system. He gets his breaking technique wrong and plummets all the way to the ground, breaking several bones.
Live Action TV
- In the Cities of Death expansion for Warhammer 40,000, one of the stratagems you can use is rappelling lines, which allows troops to disembark from skimmers directly ontop of buildings.
- GURPS: High-Tech has rules not just for rappelling but for using the climbing equipment to run straight down the side of a building.
- The Chinook transport helicopter from Command & Conquer: Generals has this as a special ability, known as "Combat Drop", which allows you to commandeer buildings garrisoned by enemy infantry. Alternatively, you can just use it to drop rangers onto the battlefield in a badass way, though it's a lot slower than just landing the helicopter and unloading them the regular way, leaving both parties vulnerable to enemy fire.
- Landing however exposed the Chinook to enemy groundfire for a short time, meaning that, with no AA around, fastroping could be the better choice. With AA around, you probably don't even want to use the Chinook at all, so it has it's uses.
- In Renegade it seems to be the standard method for disembarking from Chinooks, be it for the enemies or for Havoc himself in the intro cutscene.
- Reversed? Inverted? Certainly played with in the first Metal Gear Solid. Rather than a roping into a scene, it's a roping out of one. Snake rappels down the side of a communication tower to escape a Hind-D attack helicopter.
- Played more or less straight in the Rainbow Six series, most notably in the two Vegas games. If there is a window below a ledge, chances are you can rappel down and breach it. In fact, the architects were often nice enough to attach inexplicable "rappel-hooks" above such windows. On the other hand, it's pretty much as useless for entering a firefight as it is in RealLife, which makes its use of the trope less straight.
- Done by Lacroix SWAT teams in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines game.
- In Half-Life and its expansions, enemy soldiers can be seen doing this once in a while.
- Civil Protection officers indulge in this in Half-Life 2, usually just in time to get run over.
- Overwatch Soldiers can be seen doing this as well.
- Clone soldiers do it in FEAR.
- Rescue: The Embassy Mission on the NES had four phases, of which the third was rappelling from the roof into the windows of the embassy.
- Both campaigns in Modern Warfare begin with your character doing this, at the beginning of the missions "Crew Expendable" and "Charlie Don't Surf". Enemies also do it from helicopters throughout the game.
- There's also same moment as in MGS example above - Lt.Price and Cpt. MacMillan use fast-roping to evade helicopter's rocket attack.
- Although, technically speaking, they are rappelling, the level of action justifies its being a fast-rope scene.
- Modern Warfare 2 has an achievement for killing enemies who are doing it.
- Similarly, Modern Warfare has an achievement for knocking down one of the helos when they're offloading troops.
- This is one way stormtroopers can enter a stage in LEGO Star Wars.
- In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, there are a couple of moments in the "Breaking and Entering" level in which security guards ambush you by swinging in through skyscraper windows.
- In Empire at War, this is how AT-AT's deploy Stormtroopers. While it is only possible to have two squads of stormtroopers deployed from an AT-AT at any given time, they can deploy an unlimited number of them to replace fallen squads.
- Used in Perfect Dark at the beginning of the first mission.
- For only a four/five-story descent, Battlefield 3 manages to be pretty scary with its first-person Australian rappel.
- Contra and the sequel Super C start with our One-Hit Wonder roping out of a helicopter. Due to graphical limitations it looks more like he's jumping 30 feet to the ground when there was a perfectly good rope to shimmy down.
- The ACE mod for ARMA 2 adds realistic fast roping to the game.
- In Xenonauts, employed in the form of a personal teleporter of sorts for human troops, once Valkyrie goes into action.
- The SWAT units will frequently rappel down from their helicopters in Payday 2—and are ridiculously easy to dispatch before they even touch the ground, if you have a clear line of sight and enough ammo.
- While not an actual game mechanic in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a cutscene shows your squad rappelling down into the depths of the alien's underground base in a story mission. While the Rule of Cool was most likely involved at some point, it is justified by the fact that their usual means of deployment, the Skyranger dropship, cannot get that close to the base.
- A few abduction missions also feature fast roping, usually when there isn't any space for the Skyranger to land. Except for MECs. They don't need the rope.
- The Delta Squad in Star Wars: Republic Commando rappels down to somewhere at least twice per chapter: once at the start of their deployment and at some point during it.
- On Ninja Gaiden's Skies of Vengeance stage, MSAT soldiers make their entrance onto the zeppelin this way.
- Girl Genius had Wooster using this method to enter and exit the Jaegergenerals' conference with Boris, though as the window's open there's no breaking glass. He does get a little mechanical help slowing his descent on the exit, but 1. this is Steampunk, after all, and 2. this is entering and exiting an airship. It's a long, long way down.
- Later, Wulfenbach troops pursuing a runaway airship downed over Mechanicsburg.4 They even use some sort of rappel brakes. Too bad for them, their commander made a common mistake and drops right on a bunch of Jäger generals and Tarvek. Of course, the local air defenses didn't stop this reckless maneuver even more spectacularly long before city walls only because there was an order to not attack Wulfenbach forces... so far.
- In The Order of the Stick , Elan gets a prestige class that excels at this, to the point that he becomes immune to damage from broken glass.
- Various militaries with air assault troops have been using this technique since its debut in The Falklands War. Specific examples of units that use fast-roping include:
- The US Army's 101st Air Assault Division (sometimes referred to by ordinary soldiers as "dope on a rope").
- The US Marine Corps
- The British Army's 16th Air Assault Brigade
- Coast Guard MSSTs and TACLETs and other such fun acronyms. Usually law enforcement rather than military.
- The US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.
- Various American special forces units.
- The page image was created based on the events of the 2010 boarding of the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos, where they fast-roped into a mob...with predictable results.
- The SAS' attack during the Iranian Embassy Siege of 1980 was not an example of fast-roping, but was important in the development of the technique. One trooper got tangled in his abseil gear on descent and suffered 60% burns when a fire caused by the detonation of a stun grenade reached him. He continued with the operation anyway. It was in part this specific incident that led to the development of fast-roping, where no abseil gear is used and this kind of tangle can't happen.
- A similar and equally spectacular technique was developed by the Gurkha Rifles, the last remnant of the British Indian Army of colonial days, who dispensed with the rope altogether. In a situation where the Gurkhas had to de-bus from a moving softskin lorry very, very, quickly, let us say if the lorry was under fire and it would be dangerous to stop altogether so as to present a sitting target, the Gurkhas trained themselves in bailing out of a moving truck going up to 30mph and hitting the ground running. Observers have incredulously said it looks bloody dangerous and they are frankly surprised the tough little sods get up and dust themselves down as if nothing out of the ordinary has just happened.