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Strapped to a Bomb

A favorite execution method of Dastardly Whiplash types, this trope involves the villain tying a captured character to an armed explosive device. Cue frantic searches for the Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing and attempts to disarm the device while still tied up (for example, a memorable scene in a Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode where Shaggy and Scooby attempt to put out a bomb fuse with their butts). Generally, though, disaster gets averted by the Big Damn Heroes showing up to get their pal out of Dodge before he/she gets blasted to a pile of thin gruel. Bonus points if the rescue team cuts it so close that they and their rescuee wind up Outrunning the Fireball afterward.

It operates on a similar principle to Chained to a Railway, in that it's essentially a timed Death Trap. However, the myriad ways to trigger a bomb means that villains can have lots of fun with this... for instance, rigging the bomb to go off when somebody tries to rescue the victim (this is sure to mess with the victim's psyche a lot, and can also subvert a Big Damn Heroes moment by turning it into a Senseless Sacrifice.)

See also Death Trap and Bound and Gagged, as this is a Sub-Trope of both, and Explosive Leash and Why Am I Ticking?, which are Sister Tropes. Riding the Bomb is also closely related.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Captain America and Bucky Barnes were strapped to an experimental plane laden with explosives by Baron Zemo. They managed to untie themselves, but while trying to defuse it Cap fell off and landed in the Arctic Ocean where he was frozen solid. Bucky was presumed blown up for many many years.
  • This happened at least once to Wonder Woman. She wasn't just tied to the bomb, the bomb was dropped on a city. It was on the cover of a comic. This one, in fact.
  • The Batman story "And The Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels" has the villain going above and beyond by covering the victim in glue and sticking the bomb to their chest (and sticking the victim to the ceiling, too). By the time Batman finds them, there's not nearly enough time to do something about the bomb...

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • Spy Hard plays this for laughs, as the film was a spoof type film. The villain ties up the captured lady agent to the bomb, and after Leslie Nielsen's character arrives, the villain ends up going up with the rocket.
  • Toy Story. Sid duct tapes Buzz Lightyear to a model rocket and plans to launch him (the rocket will explode when it reaches its maximum height). Luckily, Woody saves him from this horrible fate, but later uses the rocket (with Buzz still attached to it) as part of a cunning plan.
    • There was one earlier example where Andy's Toys spy on Sid in his backyard. They spot a toy soldier tied to a bomb. When Buzz sees this, he freaks out. Possibly used as Character Development when Buzz maintains his cool (if not his sanity) when Sid does the same to him later.
  • Happens to MacClane and Zeus in Die Hard with a Vengeance after they are captured by the Big Bad.
  • Goldfinger. James Bond is handcuffed to an atomic bomb and left inside Fort Knox. When the bomb detonates, it will destroy and/or radioactively contaminate the gold supply of the United States, thus causing gold prices to rise and increasing the value of Goldfinger's gold stockpile 10 times.
  • In the climax of What About Bob?, Dr. Leo Marvin snaps and tries to kill Bob Wiley by tying him up in the woods and hanging 20 pounds of black powder around Bob's neck. Leo jokingly refers to this as "Death therapy, a guaranteed cure!"; Bob is completely oblivious to how much Leo hates him, so he immediately accepts that this really is some kind of therapy. Bob effortlessly unties himself, but assumes the still-ticking bomb is a prop and takes it with him back to Leo's house.
  • In New Police Story, Jackie Chan's girlfriend gets strapped to a bomb. In an attempted Heroic Sacrifice, she removes the bomb to set it off while Jackie leaves the room to spare him... and nothing happens. The real trigger was hidden and the bomb went off when she got up later.
  • At the climax of Rush Hour, Soo Yung's kidnappers outfit her with a vest covered in C4 charges, rigged to go off if triggered via remote or if the vest is removed.
  • The Captain America (1990) film has the hero tied to a rocket at the end of the first act, setting him up to be frozen and appear in modern day.
  • In Cars 2, Mater's filter is replaced by a bomb as a contingency plan to kill Lightning McQueen. He later uses it to coerce a confession from the Big Bad.
  • Happens occasionally in the Saw films. In particular Saw III, where one character is strapped to a bomb and must rip himself free of the chains before it goes off to escape, and the "Shotgun Collar" forced onto a doctor kidnapped to treat Jigsaw himself.
  • The plot of 30 Minutes or Less revolves around the hero being strapped to a bomb. And then being ordered to rob a bank or else be allowed to explode.
  • InTommy Boy, the title character fakes this to get a TV crew's attention, using road flares and duct tape.
  • The hostages during the bank robbery in Hancock have explosives wrapped around their torsos.
  • The villain straps a bomb to Chun-shim when he takes her hostage and forces her on to the train at the end of Quick.
  • TheHurtLocker is all about a bomb disposal expert on duty in the Middle East, so it should be no surprise that he encounters one.

    Live Action TV 
  • In his first appearance in Burn Notice, Anson claims he is being forced to work with Larry because Larry has strapped a bomb to his wife. There is a woman with a bomb strapped to her, but exactly who she is becomes less clear as the episode goes on.
  • In an episode of The Goodies, the Goodies fall foul of a mad scientist who ties them to a bomb (after they escape his first inescapable death trap, which involved rising water, an alligator, a candle burning through a rope, and an acid bath).
  • This happens to Swan in an episode of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. When the episode was adapted for Power Rangers S.P.D., the same thing happened to Kat (Swan's counterpart), only now it was some sort of device that would scramble her DNA or something.
  • In a classic episode of Dad's Army, the over-age Walmington platoon are tasked with guarding the captured crew of a U-boat. The Germans try to escape and take Corporal Jones as a hostage, rigging a hand-grenade down his trousers that will explode if the Captain's wishes are not complied with. Fortunately, Sergeant Wilson has seen to it that there is no detonator in the grenade... but only he knows this...
  • In one episode of Blue Bloods, an ex-con Danny put away takes his partner, Jackie, hostage and ties her to a bomb in order to draw Danny out.
  • Red Dwarf episode Entangled has Lister attached to a machine that will blow up his groin if he does not pay the debt he owes a group of aliens after losing a poker game to them.
  • It happens to Sledge Hammer!, allowing him the chance to speak his catch phrase one last time before the series definitively ends...
    "Trust me. I know what I'm doing."
  • The Sherlock episode "The Great Game" is based around having this trope as the conflict.
  • An episode of Alias had a captured spy tied to a bomb and forced to sing "Pop Goes the Weasel." It explodes when she gets to "pop!"
  • In the Martial Law episode "Sammo Blammo", Sammo has a bomb strapped to his chest and it will explode if he stops moving.
  • Not sure if this counts since it's not a literal example, but "Series/Castle" has Beckett standing on a bomb with a pressure plate, which will explode if she gets off of it.

    Music 
  • One of the characters in the music video for the Beastie Boys ' "Sabotage" gets taped and tied to a bomb.
  • The song "Super Breez" by Breez Evahflowin:
    We stop to have discussion, as custom is the type
    Of a hero and the villain at the peak of a fight
    He speaks of a pipe, adjacent to the gas main in mom's basement
    His heart stop, start detonation
    I said 'It's on!
    Bit the end from the movie Spawn'
    Grabbed him by the hands, wrapped his arms around an atom bomb''

    Theater 
  • In Pokémon Live!, MechaMew2 puts Giovanni in a headlock as it counts down to self destruct.

    Video Games 
  • One game in the Tekken series has an ending where three of the fighters are strapped to a rocket as it launches. It returns in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale as Heihachi Mishima's Limit Break, complete with Evil Laugh.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Will's friend Eric is kidnapped and tied to a bomb, from which you have to rescue him in a frustrating Dual Boss fight with a time limit.
  • Mayor Kroll gets tied to a chair with a bomb tied to him in Batman Doom. There's a time limit in which to save him, and if you take too long, you miss out on the bonus level.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, General Tsao's mooks tie Murray to a bomb when he tries to pry open a gas-filled booby trapped box during a mission, resulting in Penelope sending her RC to save him.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • As a reference to the Captain America example, The Super Hero Squad Show has an episode where the Scarlet Witch is sent back in time to World War II, caught by the Red Skull and then tied to a rocket, but is then saved by Captain America and the Invaders (Bucky, the Jim Hammond Human Torch, and Toro).
  • Space Ghost episode "Zorak". The title villain ties Jan and Jace to the seats of his Flying Time Bomb (a spaceship with a Time Bomb inside) and sends it away. Space Ghost rescues them Just in Time.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series had the hero and J. Jonah Jameson strapped to the same bomb in a Chained Heat fashion. However, Alistair Smythe decided to use a countdown as a trigger for the detonation, and gave Spider-Man enough time to remove the bomb, and then later use it to destroy Alistair's Spider Slayer robots.

Putting A Hand Over His MouthBound and GaggedStrapped To A Rocket
Star KillingTropes That Go BOOM!Strapped To A Rocket
Spike Balls of DoomDeath TrapStrapped To A Rocket
Sticky BombWeapons and Wielding TropesSuper-Persistent Missile
Tommy BoyImageSource/Live-Action FilmsTom Yum Goong

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