High Speed Hijack

Boosting a car from a parking lot isn't that hard, when you get right down to it. You open the door, start the ignition, and as long as no one takes note of you, you can just drive off in your shiny new stolen wheels. If you've somehow managed to nab the keys to said car, then it's even easier. And as we all know, Rule of Drama dictates that easy things are boring.

You know what's cooler? Stealing a vehicle while someone's driving it, preferably at breakneck speed.

Depending on what kind of vehicle you're taking over, there are many ways you could pull off that stunt. A favorite of action movie heroes is to jump from one moving car to another (or from a motorcycle to a car, or a train to a car), taking down the driver (preferably by throwing him from the vehicle), and grabbing the wheel. For bonus points, let vehicles without drivers drift off, crash, and explode.

Don't let the limitations of your vehicle (or lack thereof) limit what you can steal. Jumping from one speedboat to another is child's play. Stealing a helicopter when you're on foot with nothing but a Grappling-Hook Pistol is better. Ramping a boat into the air and jumping from your flying boat into a helicopter? Crazy Awesome.

This trick has long been a staple of action movies of all types, and not just ones where gas-powered vehicles are common. Horse-jacking or carriage-jacking are fair game for action movie period pieces, and stealing a Phlebotinum-fueled Flying Car is remarkably similar to stealing a rolling one.

Compare Outside Ride and Hood Hopping, which frequently precede a High Speed Hijack. In space it may be accomplished by means of a Boarding Party that may use Boarding Pods. And please, don't try this at home.


Examples

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    Anime 
  • The Berserker of Fate/Zero does this on a still-airborne F-15 Jet in order to engage a dogfight with Gilgamesh in his nuclear-powered Babylonian spaceship. And by hijacking, we mean "climbing on top of the jet and piloting it from there without even getting into the cockpit."

    Film 
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy hijacks the truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant from horseback, then uses it to bust up the rest of the convoy.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid jumps down from a nearby hill onto the top of a moving train, then runs along the top to the engine and makes the train crew stop it at gunpoint. Watch it here.
  • Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew. After using a ploy to slow it down, eight of Count Contini's men climb aboard a moving train, kill the guards and hijack its cargo: a billion dollars in gold. Check it out.
  • Terminator 2:
    • One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 (the evil one) rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back of the pickup to the front of the tanker, shoots the T-1000 through the glass, grabs the wheel from the outside and makes it turn on its side and then rides the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop.
    • A bit earlier, the T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air. Watch it here.
  • In Back to the Future III, Doc and Marty hijack a passenger train from horseback with the intent of using the locomotive to push the out-of-gas DeLorean to the requisite 88 mph.
    Engineer: Is this a holdup?
    Doc: ...It's a science experiment!
  • The Fast and the Furious:
  • The fourth movie has Dom and crew separating tanker trailers from a truck, hitching up to them, and driving off.
  • Fast Five one-ups that when the gang steal DEA-seized cars right off a train.
  • Although not a hijack, Fast 6's runway scene does this with an Antonov AN-220.
  • James Bond does this when he hijacks one of Sanchez's tankers in the climactic chase in Licence to Kill: He drops onto the back of the tanker from a light plane before climbing into the cab where he gets into a knife fight with the driver before finally forcing him out and taking control of the truck.
  • Joy does this to stop the truck getting away at the end of Bangkok Knockout: climbing along the top of the truck, and swinging through the cab window to knockout the driver, so she can bring the truck to a stop.
  • Film/theGoodTheBadTheWeird: During the battle with the Japanese troops, Tae-goo leaps from his motorcycle into a jeep which he immediately commandeers. the soldier who jumps from the jeep to the motorcycle is less lucky, as the bike immediately crashes.

     Literature 
  • More of "cruising speed" than "high speed", but honorable mention nonetheless to Voort saBinring's single-handed capture of the corvette Night Caller in Wraith Squadron. Trapped in an out-of-the-way system by mines, his allies hit on a brilliantly absurd plan for escape — by improvising a Boarding Pod, stuffing their biggest, toughest member inside with an X-Wing laser cannon for a gun, and launching it at the enemy's minelayer when it shows up. It works.

     Tabletop Games 
  • This is covered under the Stunt rules for Feng Shui.
  • While not explicitly given rules in the sourcebook, lots of promotional art and related fiction for Eberron describes hijacking airships, or the Lightning Rail. It's also one of the encounters in the published adventure, "Voyage of the Golden Dragon."

     Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas tried experimenting with the new engine to create some unusual hijacks. The first Mike Toreno mission involved speeding alongside a fuel truck so your sidekick, Caesar, can leap into the cab and yank out the driver. Ouch. A later mission involves flying beside a private jet and then bailing out of the plane, whereupon CJ grabs hold of the entry hatch and hijacks the jet in mid-air.
  • Mercenaries 2 gives a how-to demonstration for beginners. Don't think you're limited to jumping onto the backs of trucks though — it's certainly possible to do the same to attack helicopters in the air.
  • Action Hijacking is an oft-used mechanic in Sleeping Dogs. Wei Shen can jump from his vehicle (except scooters) to any other 4-wheeled vehicle that's on the driver's side and moving in the same general direction.
  • The Assassin's Creed games, starting with Brotherhood, allow Horse-jacking, either when you're leaping from above or from a horse of your own. Cart-jacking is done too, in a few sequences.
  • Just Cause runs wild with this, because Rico's Grappling-Hook Pistol lets him get onto pretty much any vehicle with ease and then steal it with equal ease. Stealing helicopters is a favorite trick for many players, partly because it's less dangerous than trying to fight them from the ground and partly for the many benefits of having a flying gunship.
  • This is possible in the Halo series starting in the second game. Enemies can hijack your vehicles in single-player, and there's a medal for doing it to another player during a multiplayer game. Spartan-2s can also hijack enemy vehicles in Halo Wars.
  • Boarding operations to capture enemy ships in the X-Universe series typically take place while the other ship is not only still maneuvering, but still shooting as well; it's important to fire decoy missiles to prevent them from attacking your Boarding Pods or spacewalking mercenaries.
  • This is a bonus-point granting activity in Saints Row: The Third.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, while being chased on horseback by werewolves riding giant boars (It Makes Sense in Context) Gabriel can leap from his horse to the back of the boar and kill the werewolf, then kill the boar and hop right back onto his horse without missing a beat.
  • Par for the course in Prototype. Once Alex Mercer eats enough tankers and pilots he gains their skills in driving tanks and flying helicopters, whereupon he can fling himself at high speed onto a tank or a helicopter even if they're in the middle of traveling by or attacking him, instantly and gruesomely consume everyone inside, and then turn the vehicle on its former owners.
  • Among other additions of Far Cry 4, one of the available takedowns that the player can purchase is the "vehicular takedown", which is this.