"Calculon, a fight scene has broken out at the special effects warehouse! Come quickly before a fiery explosion chases someone down a hallway!"
A Time Bomb
, superweapon, crashed car, etc. is about to explode. The heroes run as fast as they can and try to leap behind shelter, just as it explodes. Often features a cool shot of the heroes diving towards the camera.
Virtually every action series has had its share of Outrun the Fireball
moments. In fact, it is easy to imagine that some remote civilization studying Earth through its television transmissions
might conclude that Earthlings running causes Stuff Blowing Up
, not the other way around.
Can also be done with cars, airplanes, spaceships, snowmobiles, mine carts... anything that moves, or doesn't, for that matter.
Though all are related to Non Fatal Explosions
, there are also two more directly related tropes
. One is the Rocket Jump
: an extremely hard-ass character may exploit the power of the blast as it propels them through the air to reach places they wouldn't normally have been able to. The second is combining this with Out of the Inferno
: for a second it seems that the characters won't make it as the flames from the explosion reach and engulf them...Then a few second later they come out bursting through the flames, slightly parched but unharmed.
On rare occasion, the characters will be made to look like fools by there being no explosion after diving into the dust (toward the camera). This will be followed by a four-count beat, to share an embarrassed moment, which will be punctuated by an explosion.
The Badass Normal
often showcases just how cool he is by always calmly walking away
from the building or car, and perhaps casually putting on his Cool Shades
or lighting up a cigarette just as the explosion goes off. Badass characters don't have to run unless it's darned
important. Cool guys don't look at explosions
Examined exhaustively at the website The Reality of Running Away from Stuff
For when a character doesn't outrun the fireball and walks calmly out of and away from the fire anyway
, see Out of the Inferno
. See also Convection Schmonvection
. In Real Life
, the accepted reaction to an approaching fireball is to either jump down a deep hole and pull it in after you, or bend over and kiss your posterior goodbye. See also Bomb Disposal
when this is done intentionally.
is also very common thing to accompany the fireball.
Contrast Riding into the Sunset
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Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon: Zoicite fires a fireball at Usagi and Mamoru in an elevator. She has to transform to get them both out in time (though how she does so is left a mystery). In a previous episode, Tuxedo Mask saves Moon from a tennis ball fireball.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has the villains doing this. Quattro and Dieci manage to escape from Fate, only to run right into Hayate's sights. The next few seconds are accompanied by much screaming as they try to outrun a massive Sphere of Destruction.
- Viole from Tower Of God while dodging Ja Wagnan's grenades during their fight.
- Averted/Subverted in Naruto when Deidara is trying to escape from Team Guy, he sets off a suicide clone. Team Guy can't outrun the explosion and Team 7 is too close to avoid it. So Kakashi zaps the blast into another dimension.
- In Dragon Ball Z when Frieza traps Goku inside an impact-sensitive energy ball and then spikes him into the ground, most believe that the hero's death is imminent until it is discovered that he outran the explosion and the two were just toying with each other.
- Five minutes/thirty episodes later, Goku has to outrun the explosion of Namek, which Frieza had caused.
- Rather gruesomely subverted in one scene of Soukou No Strain, where a crewmember tries to outrun the fire chasing him down a hallway but one of the doors that is meant to contain such thing slams right in his face.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! uses this at the end of Noah's storyline. Gozaburo triggers the entire island to self-destruct, but Noah restrains the resulting fireball.
- This happens to the KNT and their G-Force incarnations every three or four episodes. Either they're delayed after setting their bombs, or the bad guys starts the timer on his.
- Subverted in the first issue of X-Men Unlimited. Things go boom and the group of X-Men outfly it all...helped by the fact Storm is controlling the wind.
- The Flash, of course, is fast enough to routinely outrun explosions and make it look easy. However, when he evacuates the population of an entire city in the time it takes a nuclear shock wave to destroy it, he breaks Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
- Someone did the math, he traveled roughly 2.5 Quintillion miles per second, or 13 trillion times the speed of light.
- Subverted in a very funny way in The Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos finally defeated, suggests the heroes to "put some distance between themselves and his person." Thor's reaction? Swing his hammer so hard that the fireball sort of outruns the heroes itself.
- 2012. Where do we start...
- Volcano. In order to save the city from a volcanic eruption it is decided that a precision demolition of a 20 story building must be planned and executed in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, a random child wanders into the street directly in the path of the soon to be demolished building. The child is saved by Tommy Lee Jones sprinting (quite fast for an old man), grabbing the boy, then jumping behind cover.
- At the end of Dante's Peak, Harry and the family are outrunning a pyroclastic flow, which moves at 120 miles an hour in real life and would be impossible to escape.
- Averted in the Made-for-TV Movie Super Volcano, where a scientist is trying to outrun the fireball, but it catches up and kills her. The film is known for actually doing their research, but allowing for some exaggeration for the Rule Of Cool.
- Independence Day:
- Jasmine the stripper with a heart of gold, her cute son and her dog are running from the fireball in Los Angeles. The dog barely jumps out of the way of the fireball which fills the tunnel, just in time. Conveniently enough, the fire also fails to consume all the oxygen available in the confined space they take shelter in. And the explosion big enough to destroy most of Los Angeles fails to blast through the door behind which our characters are hiding. In the novelization, Jasmine, the kid, and the dog are saved by the presence of a metal grate leading down into the city's subway system. The air rushing out of the grate into the fire saves them by both cooling them and giving them oxygen to breathe. The author specifically writes that Jasmine needs to cling to the grate to avoid being blown back out into the fire. Not that that's much more realistic.
- At the same moment, Air Force One flies like a bat out of Hell to escape the Washington fireball; at the last second, the flames touch the rear of the aircraft, but the pilot manages to escape.
- The pilot and the scientist guys out-flew an explosion at the end, when they were in a spaceship and had a 30 second head start they were overtaken by the explosion. They survived.
- Predator series.
- The end of Predator, which featured an alien countdown, a spooky, ominous laugh, and an explosion with the power of a tactical nuke.
- This becomes even more ridiculous in the sequel, when Gary Busey's character reveals that the self-destruct device is powerful enough to completely level a radius of 300 city blocks. Yet Schwarzenegger got away, despite only starting his run when the timer WAS ALMOST UP. Might be Fridge Brilliance when one realizes that the predator could purposely limit the power of explosion to give Arnold a sporting chance of survival for the last time.
- Predator 2. Harrigan somehow isn't burnt to a crisp by the fireball backwash of the departing Predator ship.
- In Predators the team has to outrun the blast caused by Nicholai's heroic sacrifice.
- In John Woo's Broken Arrow, Capn. Hale (Christian Slater) actually outruns an underground nuclear explosion. To be fair, though, the explosion didn't happen until he was above-ground and safe from the blast.
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi had an extended "outrun the fireball" scene as Wedge and Lando's crew blew up the Death Star core and had to escape the resulting blast.
- The Phantom Menace had the exact same scene, but scaled down. Anakin flies into the main droid control ship, then fires two proton torpedoes straight into the main reactor. The ship starts to blow up from the inside, and Anakin flies as fast as he can toward the exit with flames shooting all over the place, feeling it necessary to quip "now this is podracing!" as he does so. There is an additional shot of a squad of battle droids failing at this.
- Almost avoided in The Mummy Returns. There's a particularly credulity-stretching scene where our hero must outrun the sunrise to make it to a temple. It is, in fact, almost correct, scientifically. Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy page explains what's happening and why it's right and wrong (he even shows his work.) In short, the character is not outrunning the terminator line of the sunrise, he's outrunning the shadows cast by the mountains in the background. However, the moving edge of the shadow is moving away from the sun and toward the temple — that's the wrong direction; it should be moving down from the top of the temple and toward the rising sun.
- In the DVD commentary, director Steven Sommers states that they knew they were doing it wrong but kept it in because it looked cool.
- Interestingly, the "sunrise" example above appears in The Chronicles of Riddick, but cranked Up to Eleven - the planet our heroes are on is so close to the sun that the sunrise scorches the planet's surface on a regular basis.
- In Deep Rising, towards the end where Finnegan and Trillian escape on the jet ski out of the ski bay shortly after Finnegan's rigged boat dooms the cruise ship.
- In Chain Reaction, the main character, Eddie, is in a team that's working on achieving some sort of fusion through sonoluminescence (free clean power). One evening he arrives at the laboratory to find his boss murdered and the equipment rigged to blow up. Unable to stop the chain reaction, he straddles his bike and speeds away from the lab. When the equipment finally overloads, it explodes in a very large fireball, almost akin to a small nuclear blast. Eddie manages to Outrun the Fireball just barely; the back of his bike is actually lifted by the shockwave (but the forward wheel somehow remains on the ground).
- Die Hard
- In the first movie, John McClane, stuck in the Nakatomi Plaza tower, straps a fire hose around his waist and takes a running jump off the roof of the tower. The second John launches himself forward, the entire roof explodes into an enormous fireball.
- Subverted in Die Hard With A Vengeance: After being told that a bomb was in a garbage can by the phone booth, both Samuel L. Jackson and John McClane try to push people aside and then dive to the ground; when no one responds and no explosion happens, the terrorist's laughing reveals the joke.
- Played straight with the bomb on the ship. After they get out of the handcuffs strapping themselves to it, they run as fast as they can for the water. The bomb explodes just as they jump off the boat.
- Silk Spectre in Watchmen during the burning building rescue in Slow Motion.
- Parodied in Hot Fuzz, where Nick and Danny find a sea mine in some oldtimer's arsenal. He bangs it to prove it's harmless, and it starts ticking. Nick and Danny do the textbook running towards the camera and leaping over a hedge, followed by... nothing. Of course, the mine DOES blow up later in the film, but nobody got to run away from it that time.
- In The Incredibles, Dash outruns a fireball bursting through a tunnel, and barely escapes. Admittedly, he does have Super Speed.
- The Black Hole had the heroes trying to make it across a tunnel before a huge meteor going through the ship reached them. This was supposed to be an iconic shot for the movie; people usually remembered the robotic Dragon Maximillian cutting a hole in Anthony Perkins.
- A particularly ridiculous example can be found in Blade II, where Blade and the Vampire Action Girl outrun the "fireball" created by a big box of "light grenades." Quite aside from the question of how these light grenades caused an explosion in the first place (or indeed, how the "blast front" flows round a curve of a tunnel in spite of the fact that light beams travel in straight lines) one wonders how fast Wesley Snipes must have been running, considering that light travels at the speed of - well - light...
- If fire isn't bad enough, the trope is inverted in The Day After Tomorrow, when some characters out-run a "wave of cold", which then ices over the door they escape behind. It's particularly ludicrous given that the original scene had them running from digital wolves, which were scrapped. The end result means they're running away from something they should be able to see chasing them (and acted as such) but instead it is a "Run! It's the weather!" moment.
- Forrest Gump does this in Vietnam, when he rescues the wounded Bubba. The napalm strike that was announced minutes earlier to Lt Dan virtually takes place around him and still he runs away from it. Possibly justified as it's napalm, and is mostly just big balls of fire with minimal shockwaves.
- Subverted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A car full of Mooks tries to outrun a nuclear explosion and get smoked hard. Indy, on the other hand, survives by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator.
- John Cena's character outruns at least a half-dozen such explosions in The Marine.
- Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Omid Djalili wind up flat on their faces in the snow after an explosion in a uranium mine in Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow.
- In Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth, Mitchell sets some explosives off to kill a villain and jumps ahead of the fire just in time, complete with slo-mo goodness.
- Also subverted in that Mitchell is blown across the room by the explosion, and is badly injured by it.
- He's not just blown across the room. He only takes half a step before his leg gives out, probably from the brutal beat-down Replicator-Marrick just gave him.
- In Starship Troopers the three main characters outrun the fireball of a tactical nuke which was only detonated a few seconds before they left the room full of enormous locust-like creatures.
- This one's hard: the nukes in the movie aren't ever really described. In the book, the basically identical nuke rockets are described as using subcritical masses that use a lot of advanced tricks to get it to go off, and consequently, are really weak for a nuke.
- The main characters also outrun a fireball when they're launching an escape pod from their ship.
- Star Trek
- Happens about thirty-two times in Three Kings.
- James Bond franchise: James Bond faces fireballs at times.
- 'Tomorrow Never Dies, where he flies a jet through the fireball. The example is slightly more'' plausible than the usual fare - assuming that it was a (relatively cold) kerosene/gasoline fire from the trucks and aircraft that were in front of him, and he was flying fast enough, it is entirely possible that James could fly through with no or few ill-effects. It is the same principle as quickly moving one's hand through a (yellow!) bunsen or candle flame. So long as you do it fast enough, you'll be fine.
- In Skyfall, Bond outruns the fireball during the final battle when he blows Skyfall Lodge skyhigh in order to destroy Silva's helicopter and kill most of his men.
- Double Subverted in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen as Sam fails to outrun the explosion and is killed... but gets better.
- Subverted (like so many other things) in Tremors 2, when Earl sets a bomb to detonate the explosives in the back of Burt's truck. The other heroes duck behind cover, only to see Burt continue running right past them, yelling "It's gonna be big!"
- Mission Impossible III, when Hunt gets a weapon out of a vehicle, then attempts to run clear of the car. When the car explodes, he is blown sideways by the blast, directly into another car.
- In Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol when Hunt is running from the explosion of the Kremlin, only to be injured in the explosion and hospitalized.
- Overdone in Der Clown: Payday: The heroine is driving a BMW and chased by an aircraft. When the whole aircraft explodes in one big fireball with its nose still above the BMW's trunk, said fireball also almost completely engulfs the BMW, which, however, manages to drive out of the flames. Without the heroine inside, the car would most likely have been blown up, too. The heroine is affected by the explosion shockwave, but the car isn't. And she gets out of the car with close to no injuries at all despite the fact that the aircraft had crushed the rear window earlier and the fireball would have to have entered the car.
- In the first Shrek, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona use this trope as they reach the bridge leading away from the dragon's castle, and the dragon takes one last shot at them with her fiery breath.
- Subverted in the first scene of The Hurt Locker, when Sergeant Thompson attempts to run away from an active bomb. He gets clear of the visible explosion, but is killed by the shockwave.
- Possibly the lamest example on the page: In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samantha/Charly and Mitch try to Outrun The Fireball from a grenade in a hallway, which couldn't possibly create a fireball, and whose frags would be instantly lethal. But there's more! The scene combines a couple more examples of when poor research fails to be overrun by Rule Of Cool.
- Used twice in 9.
- The first time is when the Stitchpunks blow up the factory.
- The second is when the Fabrication Machine ignites a pile of ammunition.
- Lampshaded in Flyboys, a zeppelin bomber is going up, and a German airman previously seen manning an ack-ack emplacement runs across the top, just ahead of the exploding gas cells. This begs the question, "What's he gonna do when he runs out of blimp?"
- In the second part of Hooked. The main hero jumps of the boat a moment before the bomb explodes, however it turns out that the perfect timing wasn't his -it was's the bomb's one. Or rather the bad guys' who were secretly watching him and detonated the bomb at the precise moment, so that he'd believe in his miraculous save and went on with his part of their Batman Gambit.
- Eight Legged Freaks has Chris and Gladys escaping the mine on Bret's motorcycle as the methane in the mine was set off towards the end of the movie. Chris and Gladys are on a motorbike and trying to escape the ensuing blast. While they fail at completely outrunning the fireball and are temporarily engulfed they still manage to get out with only minor burns.
- Shows in in several animated Disney films:
- Happens at least once in Megamind.
- Double Team does this no fewer than three times. The first time subverts the trope, and the protagonist ends up bedridden for 6 months from his injuries.
- The Terminator has a rare, if not unique, theoretically realistic version of the trope. Sarah is able to get away from the exploding truck as it explodes because the truck doesn't go up in only one explosion but a progressive series of them from back to front. You still have to assume that for some odd reason the truck would do that in the first place but no laws of physics appear to be violated. It could be that fuel truck's tank usually comprises of many smaller compartments (to counter the effects of inertia during acceleration and braking) hence could explain the progressive explosions. Almost all fuel trucks do indeed have several compartments in the fuel tanks for safety.
- In Magical Legend of the Leprechauns the fire guardian of The Grand Banshee's hotel turns into a fireball and attacks Jack and Kathleen and Jessica and Mickey. Both pairs outrun him.
- Happens during Finn McMissile's introductory scene at the very beginning of Cars 2, when he is escaping the Lemons' oil rig.
- In The Fifth Element, Korben and the gang speed to outrun a giant explosion that engulfed everything around their spaceship, except the windshield, prompting Bruce Willis to dramatically scream and coax the craft ever so faster to suddenly outrun the blast into orbit.
- Judge Dredd. Getting back into the city requires Dredd and Fergie to infiltrate the city via an incinerator vent which spews out a fireball every thirty seconds. A bit of Fridge Logic comes when Herman falls and Dredd has to save him, the fireball is coming from the direction they were running from, when it should be coming from the direction they were running to.
- In The Relic, Dr. Green sets and escapes a fire in a slow-moving freight elevator. When the room filled with volatile chemicals finally explodes, it takes forty seconds of screen time for the fireball to catch up with her — plenty of time to run a good twenty yards, climb into a metal container the size of a dumpster, wait for the motorized lid to close, and hurl a final insult at the monster chasing her.
- Inverted in Tears of the Sun. When the F-18s are coming in for a bombing run the survivors have to scream for Red to hurry and make it out of the blast zone, as he won't be able to outrun the fireball.
- In the climax of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Collateral Damage, Gordy Brewer runs away from a massive explosion as the Big Bad and The Dragon take aim at him while chasing him on a motorcycle.
- Played for laughs in Moonrise Kingdom when Scoutmaster Ward saves Commander Pierce from an exploding tent.
- In Legion, when archangel Michael and some young girl escape the exploding gas station.
- In Deep Impact, the young man who was the co-discoverer of the asteroid that strikes earth, and is creating a tidal wave 3000 feet high striking near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, basically destroying the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and probably anything within 1,000 miles, and moving across land at 1100 miles per hour is trying to outrun the tidal wave on a motorbike! Did I mention that his his wife is also riding on the bike with him.
- The X-Files: Fight the Future: Mulder and Scully have to out-drive a fireball when a federal building in Dallas blows up.
- Inspecter Tequila has to outrun an exploding hospital at the end of Hard Boiled. Interestingly, there was a 'screw up' with the pyrotechnics that caused a bigger explosion than planned, meaning that Chow Yun Fat was really running for his life.
- Undercover Brother. At the end of the movie, Undercover Brother must outrun a series of explosions and jump over the edge of a cliff. And he doesn't have his parachute...
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Inverted somewhat — Duke runs toward a building to save Rex from an impending airstrike, but is blown backward by the explosion.
- Played straight during the escape by sub. Yes, underwater fireball.
- Happens to Jack in Oblivion 2013 during the final shootout with the drones inside of La Résistance's bunker-complete with visible Oh Crap moment as he starts to run away from the about-to-explode drone.
- In the original Artemis Fowl, Julius Root does this on an abandoned whaling vessel.
- The "run, nothing happens, relax, explosion" subversion occurs in the Discworld novel Hogfather, when the wizards react with horror to adding Wow-Wow Sauce to a magical hangover cure.
- Though there's no actual fireball, the spirit of this trope is made evident in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiels Scion. On a hunt in the Royal Forest, Imriel and Sidonie are alone together, having gotten separated from the group, when something starts charging through the underbrush. Imriel thinks it's a boar and knocks Sidonie to the ground to protect her. It's a deer.
- In White Night, this is played with. Harry Dresden doesn't so much outrun the fireball as ride it out in a force field, generated via magic that he is powering with the lust generated by a heated kiss he shares with a succubus. Since he knew he wouldn't be able to actually outrun it, he effectively turned himself (and said succubus) into a cannon ball.
- One of the traps that Katniss encounters in The Hunger Games is an artificial forest fire. Complete with literal fireballs that Katniss has to dodge.
- Part of the Francis Carsac's novel Terre en fuite (Fleeing Earth) involves the Second Civilization (a second evolution of humans after the next Ice Age) building enormous "space magnets" at the poles of Earth and Venus (fully terraformed) in order to move the planets out of the way of the Sun going nova. The idea is to outrun the solar fireball and hide behind Jupiter until the Sun returns to its yellow dwarf state. While building the "space magnets", the scientists realize that the Sun will turn into a white dwarf and will be unable to sustain life. Thus, the planets have to be moved to another star system. Since the maximum speed that can be achieved with a "space magnet" in space is 0.8c (i.e. 80% of the speed of light), the journey takes many years. And they have to do it again later, when Alpha Centauri turns out to be inhabited by a Lost Colony who doesn't want neighbors.
- In Song in the Silence, Lanen is in a cave while Akhor is dying painfully, heating up and smoking at the edges, and realizes that an explosion is imminent. She makes it just out of the entrance and trips, and the fireball gouts out above her head.
Live Action TV
- The Lemon Demon Song, "Action Movie Hero Boy", parodies this trope in its chorus.
- The cover of Damageplan's first and only album featured the band members doing this, but much more badass.
- Paranoia has nuclear hand grenades, which work perfectly... except that the blast radius is about 500 meters, whereas your average PC can only throw them about 50. For some reason, Friend Computer has yet to be informed of this design flaw.
- In FEAR, there is a point where the player must shoot the lock off a gate, but in doing so they ignite a a burst gas main, causing a massive fireball that they must then outrun. Irritatingly, the lock cannot be blown up with explosives or shot off from a distance, and the explosion cannot be triggered by firing a weapon close to the main.
- Earlier on in the game, your first encounter with Alma plays out like this: she slowly stalks you down a hallway as everything around her starts exploding or spontaneously catching fire. Run towards her or let her catch up to you, and you die. Run away from her and everything explodes anyway, but you get thrown out the window by the shockwave instead.
- In Half-Life, the player is climbing through a narrow pipe when a soldier throws a satchel in at one end — the player must then back quickly out of the pipe to avoid getting caught in the fireball.
- The fireball is only scripted to go in one direction, and the satchel charge that causes it does no actual damage on its own, so you can also avoid the blast by running towards it and getting on or behind the satchel charge before it goes off.
- In Episode One the ending sequence involves Gordon and Alyx taking a train out of City 17 before the Citadel reactor explodes. They don't quite make it far enough.
- In Renegade Ops, the renegades open a prison box, hoping to find Genawi. instead they find an armed LVA warhead with 10 seconds on the timer. time to step on that speeder across a rapidly crumbling bridge.
- Averted in The Darkness; fairly early on, Jackie encounters a time bomb about to go off. The player's first instinct will likely be to try to outrun the fireball; this doesn't work. A cutscene shows the blast flinging Jackie through a wall to the ground far below, and it's likely the only reason he survived is that The Darkness was beginning to awaken in him.
- Averted in Freelancer. When the archaeological site in Planet Sprague is blown away, you can see a Red Shirt trying to run away from the explosion that slowly approaches in slow-mo... however, he is also running in slow-mo, and thus he gets swallowed by the fireball.
- Star Fox 64 ends with you trying to escape Andross' underground base before being consumed by a fireball behind you in both the easy and normal/hard playthroughs. In the easy playthrough the chase is all part of a cutscene, but in the normal/hard playthroughs you have to navigate the narrow passages yourself while being led by the ghost/a hallucination of Fox's father.
- The Spider Man video game ends with you being chased by Monster Ock, the combination of the Carnage symbiote and Doctor Octopus. After the level, a fireball begins to chase the pair of you down a corridor, but Spidey manages to avoid it by spinning a web up an alcove in the ceiling, dodging the fireball. Monster Ock is not so lucky, but the symbiote manages to save Doctor Octopus and leaves him simply unconscious.
- At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic outruns the fireball caused by Robotnik's exploding mech. This is pretty standard stuff for Sonic, considering he can run at the speed of sound, but if one turns on the game's debug mode, stops the scene and then restarts it, the player can control Sonic and the fireball will follow Sonic wherever he goes.
- Sonic tries this again during the finale of Sonic Colors, this time up against a black hole. Seeing that nothing—not even light—can escape it once pulled in, Sonic (who can only normally break the sound barrier) actually fails... but the Wisps save him, so it's all good.
- This happens during Sonic Generations in Chemical Plant where the plant suffers a meltdown and the Sonics have to run away from the destruction.
- A very literal example of this happened in the first Baldur's Gate game. The original D&D spell "Fireball" is instantaneous; you can't run away from it once it goes off. The game, however, animated the spell slowly enough that running away from it was plausible. The expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast "fixed" this by letting characters run away from Fireball spells and not get damaged.
- Kingdom of Loathing concludes one pivotal battle with "a slow-motion bomb, magically enchanted to make the ensuing explosion happen so slowly that anyone could just barely outrun it and find shelter." Not only that, but "You even have time to pick up the adorable puppy who is staring at the explosion and whimpering."
- Resident Evil 4. Then game ends with Leon and Ashley on a Jet Ski outracing an incredibly large mass of water
- Subverted in the first mission in Jedi Outcast. You have to blow up a generator blocking your path in order to proceed with the mission, but any attempt to Outrun the Fireball will result in Kyle Katarn becoming a very crispy corpse. Instead, avert One-Dimensional Thinking by running into a room and letting the fireball pass you by.
- Another way to do it is to simply shut down the generator and casually stroll past it, though admittedly this makes for a less dramatic moment.
- It is also possible to JUST make it with a well aimed thermal detonator to get a head start.
- Again in Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, the final mission has you flying the Millenium Falcon, into and subsequently out of the Death Star. Which is exploding after you're done with it. Rogue Leader on Gamecube depicts the same battle from the movie and also features Outrun the Fireball.
- Once again in Shadows of the Empire, which had you trying to escape the Skyhook... Except subverted, in that you, unless you are extremely good or just plain cheat, won't be able to make it out, and the ending goes by normally. In reality, Dash actually survives thanks to a very precise hyper-space jump, as the medium mode reveals.
- The 3rd installment of Tomb Raider had this for one of the Area 51 levels. Lara has to launch a missile in order to move it out of the way so she can proceed, but by doing so, the flames from the missile's exhaust starts to fill the hallway she is in. You're forced to sprint awkwardly towards the camera to the very end of the hall so the flames don't touch you. Getting burnt here results in instant death compared to being on fire in the other parts of the game where you live only for a few seconds.
- The FMV scene at the end of 2nd Tomb Raider.
- In Final Fantasy X, Cid blows up the Al Bhed stronghold Home, and the resulting fireball actually catches his fleeing airship for a few seconds. No harm done, though. Not even the airship's "skirt" hanging from the aft is singed.
- In Descent, every level ends with you outrunning the blast from the exploding reactor at the heart of the mine, regardless of how much time there is actually left until said explosion.
- This brings up an interesting question or two when doing multiplayer, where each player will see themselves outrun the blast, even if someone else still has time remaining.
- The final mission in Freespace 2 starts out as the second half of an Escort Mission. Then Mission Control lets you know that the Shivans have made the local sun go supernova, and you only have a few minutes to get to the jump point where you can escape the explosion. Good luck.
- Jackson's squad does this with a nuke in Call of Duty 4, saving the pilot of a downed helicopter while they are at it. But the shockwave was faster.
- There's also the bit where you have to abseil out of the abandoned hotel before the attack helicopter blows up your sniper nest.
- The first Russian mission in Call of Duty: World at War has you escape an explosion TWICE. The first time the player jumps out a window as an armored car and flamethrowers attack your building, and while you make it out in time, your comrade is blown out the window by a massive explosion. At the end of the mission, the two of you are escaping a tank, and this time your positions are reversed where YOU narrowly avoid getting blown up by a tank by jumping out the window into the river.
- Deus Ex has this as one of the endings. The last you see of JC Denton is him running away after he blew up Area 51's bunker while still deep inside.
- At the end of the original Turok for the Nintendo 64, Turok had to escape from an exploding tower with a pillar of flame only a few inches from his backside. If you take sufficient damage by the end of the preceding boss fight, Turok's right leg is broken in the cutscene - and he still manages to get out safely.
- Pretty sure the leg thing is a glitch.
- The ending of Metal Slug 4 has you running for your life in a crate-littered tunnel as explosions chase you. Fail to shoot one of the crates and you end up smacking against it and being burnt to a crisp...
- Avernum 2 has an enemy fortress you escape by running across the roof while quickfire devastates everything right behind you. There are plenty of other times you have to outrun quickfire as well.
- Fleeing from quickfire wasn't retired from gameplay until Avernum 4. Before that it was featured in every game, and the Exile trilogy before that.
- Max Payne 2 has Max outrunning multiple fireballs in an exploding restaurant. Causing and dodging fireballs is also required in order to progress. Thankfully, bullet time helps.
- Same for Punchinello's restaurant in the first game.
- In Onimusha 3, there is a cutscene where the protagonists manage to (barely) outrun a fireball caused by an exploding Mont Saint-Michel by car.
- A regular feature as the final challenge of Metroid games. Upon felling the Final Boss-who is apparently a Load-Bearing Boss-with your Eleventh Hour Superpower type weapon, the whole place starts coming down around you and you have a running timer to get to your ship before the place explodes and you die.
- The escape from the Juda Central System in Raystorm after you defeat the last boss.
- In Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, there is a scene where you must contain a conduit explosion (which creates a fireball, naturally) with a force-field, while a redshirt is trying to outrun it. You can trap the redshirt behind the force-field and watch him being vaporized with no penalty.
- In Axelay, after defeating the stationary Final Boss, the Organic Engine that makes up the last stage explodes; the ship must then escape the destruction... and fend off the Final Boss one more time. Touching the boss or its projectiles is deadly, but backing into the explosion at the left edge of the screen is not.
- In Contra III: The Alien Wars, Red Falcon's base blows up after its defeat. And in the Hard Mode run, the Final Boss turns out to be Not Quite Dead. The player, hanging from the bottom of the extraction helicopter, has to shoot the boss down into the inferno. Konami loves this trope. This also occurs in Shattered Soldier during the True Final Boss fight and in the opening sequence of Neo Contra.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, one level has Anakin racing to escape from the Harvester before it consumes him.
- In the ending of Prototype, Alex dumps a nuclear bomb into the ocean and flies away in a helicopter, but isn't fast enough to get out of range of the explosion. Earlier in the game, Elizabeth Greene's One-Winged Angel form has the ability to shoot out a huge blast of fire from the base. The screen will go grayscale, time will slow down, and you'll run your ass off hoping to make it to high ground before it fries your health to critical no matter how much you have.
- In Soldier of Fortune, the protagonist John Mullins can't seem to end a mission without having to run away from an explosion (usually one of his own making).
- One of the built-in missions in the Elite remake Oolite is to outrun the fireball of the sun in your current system going nova.
- Another variation from the same: Properly deploying the Sphere of Destruction-generating Quirium mine relies on this tactic ("proper deployment" in this case involving dropping the mine, then running as fast as your witchfuel injector can take you).
- Basically the whole point of the online game Dino Run, where you play as a dinosaur outrunning the asteroid impact explosion. You can even get bonus points for 'surfing' the 'pyroclastic wall of doom' and surviving.
- In Mass Effect 2, the Normandy is forced to outrun the explosion that takes the Collector Base and kills the Human-Reaper for good. Partly averted as there are two choices; take the other and you're outrunning a timed radiation pulse instead.
- Also in the cutscene at the end of Jack's loyalty mission, when Jack detonates the bomb a bit prematurely.
- In Mass Effect 3, all endings have the Normandy trying to outrun the space magic wave, complete with the equipment in the cockpit beginning to overheat and explode.
- The Demoman does this in his Meet the Cast trailer for Team Fortress 2.
- In the end of the Axis Chemicals level in Batman Doom, you press the switch that causes a HUGE wall of explosions to chase you down a street all the way to the Batmobile while you're trying to avoid pesky landmines on the way.
- The "Final Run" level in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. You have to run from the encroaching fire and explosions behind you, while quickly taking down constant waves of Mooks in front of you.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 has most of the bosses exploding after being defeated, making Snake duck and cover, but The Fury's post-boss cinema gets a special mention for this trope: Being a specialist in using a flamethrower, his explosion manifests into a 'giant fiery face' that Snake literally has to outrun. The look on Snake's face is 'priceless'.
- Chris does this in the ending cutscene of Resident Evil Code Veronica.
- Shortly after authorizing the Wave Beam in Metroid: Other M, Samus is forced to outrun an avalanche after activating a lift. Since this happens after you get Speed Booster authorized (and you had to use it multiple times in that very room), you can guess how Samus gets out of the way.
- Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty has a mission where you must outrun a fire wave caused by a supernova, while building up your army to fight through the enemy and retrieve an artifact.
- In F-22 Lightning 3, you can equip your Cool Plane with tactical nukes, that, when fired, can take down your airplane if you don't outrun fast enough the shockwave/EMP Pulse.
- During a cutscene in the last mission of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, CJ does this to escape an explosion in Big Smoke's "Crack Palace", complete with Slow Motion.
- Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi follows the movie counterpart in the final level. After destroying the Death Star's main reactor, you have to pilot your ship through a labyrinth of tunnels without crashing into too many walls or the fireball will catch up and quickly drain your shields.
- Played straight in a cutscene of the Sid Meier's Pirates! remake during the siege of a city. After the player beats the guard captain, the cutscene shows the captain being pushed into a tower full of gunpowder barrels. The player character throws a lit torch into the tower, and both then try to outrun the explosion. The player character is seen diving off the fort wall just before the fireball reaches him.
- In R-Type 2 (also known as Super R-Type on the SNES) the player's R9 Arrowhead destroys the Bydo Core and then escapes the exploding base by flying through a narrow shaft. However, the ship slows down —the shaft led to a dead end! It's then that four allied R9s (previously kept captive by the boss) emerge from the fireball, Wave Cannons charged and ready, to blast an opening through the wall.
- The first Far Cry game Jack Carver and Valerie Constantine detonate a nuclear bomb and must fight their way out of the bunker to avoid being caught in the blast or mutated.
- They outrun the explosion, but are rendered unconscious. It is revealed the anti-mutagens they had taken were fake and the bomb had mutated them.
- Played interestingly straight in Neverwinter Nights (and similar D&D based games) when it's possible for Area Of Effect spells to hurt the caster. In particular with the Hellball spell which has to be cast from within its own blast radius, meaning the Player Character must run away immediately after casting in order to avoid being hit by the blast.
- Parodied in an episode of Futurama, when a movie the main characters were watching featured a fight in a special effects warehouse, causing one of the characters to say, "Hurry, Calculon, before a fireball chases someone down a hallway!"
- Spoofed in Family Guy in the episode "Peter's Daughter": Stewie and Brian jump out of the way from the blast of a house blowing up. Stewie and Brian, as well as the house exploding, are flashed on the screen numerous times at several different angles.
- Parodied in the Invader Zim episode "Walk For Your Lives", where the entire episode is focused on a bomb that explodes and creates an explosion that is incredibly slow. As the episode title suggests, civilians could literally outwalk the aforementioned explosion.
- Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons when Homer is running away from an angry mob at a candy convention he kicks a soda kiosk, catches an ejected soda can, grabs a bag of pop rocks out of his pocket, opens them with his teeth as if they were a grenade, combines them, shakes them, and after yelling "See you in hell, candy boys!" throws it at the angry mob. He leaps towards the camera as the convention center explodes in a huge fireball behind him.
- The producers claimed that scene was based on "every Bruce Willis movie ever made".
- Similarly, another episode features Homer hiring the mafia to protect Marge's pretzel business from competitors. They blow up the competitors' falafel wagon. Maude is talking to Chief Wiggum who guides her through the process for throwing herself on the floor in front of the fireball.
- Spoofed in other episode, in which just after Monty Burn's Casino is demolished Homer and his family get into his car to try to escape of the dust cloud caused by the demolition. However, Homer's car enters in reverse into the dust cloud.
- An episode of Xavier: Renegade Angel spoofed this in its usual manner; it featured a sentient explosion which actively chased the protagonist as he asked everyone where the lake was, so that he could drown it. It was one of the more believable scenes of the series.
- Justice League and Batman The Animated Series had inversions of this trope. Batman and the Flash each had scenarios where he grabbed a bomb and ran it out of town as it detonated, in his hands in super-slow motion. The fireball outran the civilians.
- Don't forget all the Looney Tunes style "run straight away from the falling tree". But in those, they never do outrun the
fireball falling tree.
- This is also done on Beast Wars on more than a few occasions.
- Not to mention that it's seen in the opening sequence of every episode of the first season.
- In Anastasia, Dmitri, Anya, Pooka, and Vlad duck behind, like, three boxes a few seconds before a stick of dynamite blows.
- In 5 billion years' time, the entire planet Earth is going to have to outrun the single biggest fireball known to Man: The Sun, as it goes all red giant towards the end of its life. Most theories state that even if Earth doesn't get subsumed in the Sun, its atmosphere will vaporize, its oceans will boil away, and its rocks will melt.
- When the Twin Towers collapsed, they created a giant dust cloud that flowed through Manhattan. As these clouds roiled down streets, many people misinterpreted them as expanding explosions. There were many home movies of people ducking into buildings to avoid the advancing dust cloud, thinking they had outrun an explosion. Given the respiratory problems people who breathed in the dust have been suffering that was probably a good thing.
- At Ground Zero itself many people were forced to flee for their lives to escape the collapsing buildings. Shown in the documentary 9/11.
- In-air explosions are weak against Soft Water, as demonstrated by the MythBusters in "Dive to Survive".
- A photograph exists of a pyroclastic cloud tumbling down Mount Unzen in Japan. On the road in front of the cloud is a fire engine, in front of THAT is a single man running for his life. National Geographic has the the video here. The pyroclastic cloud never actually reaches the place where the man was. However, it unfortunately kills a group of people who film volcanoes who were in the valley itself where the cloud was being channelled down. If it had reached the place where that man was he probably wouldn't be alive today.
- A small but amusing example, but there have been some rather off phenomena with storms - not hurricanes, mind you, but small rain showers and blizzards. They actually seemed to travel up a street, or even up and down a street, literally going back and forth! Thus some people have tried (For fun) to try to outrun the storm, but at least it's better than trying to outrun a pyroclastic flow.
- This seems an appropriate place to mention that the South Korean Army, frustrated by the minefields in the Korean DMZ, developed a combat boot that could protect a soldier's foot from a land mine. When tested, the boots actually protected the feet inside them. It would be impolite to ask about the rest of the soldier; let's just say that the boots were found fifty meters apart. But the feet were protected.
- According to tales told by some USGS employees, a team of vulcanologists actually did outrun the blast at Mt. Saint Helens in a car; they were miles away, but their starting position was inside the (eventual) radius of the pyroclastic cloud (it should be stated that if their starting point was near the starting point of the flow they would not be alive).