In a movie or TV show with police in them, any time a convoy transporting a prisoner or more is shown, it will almost always be attacked. Sometimes, a convoy may even be sent out for exactly this reason.
Occasionally, a convoy may not even need to be attacked. Something can simply go awry during the trip, especially if it involves prisoners, and the transports never make it.
For video games, this trope only applies if the player attacks a convoy. If the player is tasked with defending one, it's an Escort Mission
. Compare and contrast Armed Blag
, where the target is transporting money rather than a prisoner.
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- In Post-World War Hulk, Bruce Banner is being transported in a convoy which gets attacked. But it turns out he's in a different convoy.
- During the Civil War arc, a convoy of captured resistance members is attacked as it passes through the streets of NYC in an attempt to free the prisoners. The ensuing chaos, where neither side seems all that interested or concerned with the safety of nearby civilians on his old block, is the final straw as far as the ever-loving blue-eyed Thing is concerned. He walks away from the conflict in disgust and spends the rest of the civil war in Europe, fighting crime and hanging out with some Euro-heroes.
Live Action TV
- In NUMB3RS, Colby escapes his convoy with his cuff partner ridiculously easily. Is it really that easy to smuggle a key in and shoot your guard? Really?
- At the end of season 5, this is how Bierko escapes. Also at the end of season 8, the ambulance convoy carrying Jack Bauer, who was shot, gets attacked by a team sent to drag him to a remote area to execute him.
- 24 uses it straight but also double subverts it during Season 8. Jack sends an ambulance carrying a captured villain to an hospital for treatment and interrogation, expecting that the villain's business partners will attack it to kill him and prevent him from talking to CTU. Unknown to them the villain is already dead and the ambulance is sent as a mobile bait. However, thinking that they are safer attacking the hospital once the villain is carried there, the partners leave the ambulance alone.
- Done in an early episode of The Shield, with a van transporting evidence rather than one transporting prisoners. The catch: the attackers are none other than the Strike Team, launching a last ditch effort to get rid of evidence they planted that would've sent an innocent man to jail.
- In one episode of Castle, they set up a prisoner transport with a decoy prisoner in order to catch a contract killer. The cops are forced to shoot the killer before they can capture him.
- Several Doctor Who stories have attacks on UNIT convoys, usually transporting dangerous technology, including "The Ambassadors of Death" (space capsule containing alien visitors), "The Mind of Evil" (decommissioned nuclear missile), and "The Time Monster" (reinforcements). In "Battlefield", for a change, the convoy (transporting another decommissioned nuclear missile) just gets bogged down due to bad weather — and then the villains discover it and attack.
- An episode of The Pretender starts with a news report of this, which kidnapped the key witness in a mafia trial. The attack was planned by Jarod himself, who was told the aim was to rescue prisoners in a war.
- On Strike Back Stonebridge and Scott are escorting a van transporting a prisoner when the van is blown up. They were Genre Savvy enough to put the prisoner in the trunk of their car instead
- This is used multiple times on Burn Notice though it is usually subverted. In one episode the team attacks a prisoner transport van to free a gangster's brother but the van and the guards are fake and they are trying to trick the gangster into releasing the hostage he is holding. Another time Micheal pretends to be a fellow prisoner that helps a mobster escape during transport so the mobster can lead them to where his boss is hiding.
- The Fugitive. While being transported to jail, a fight breaks out on the prisoner bus which ends up killing the driver and causing the bus to topple onto train tracks, effectively forcing the protagonist to escape.
- In U.S. Marshals a plane carrying prisoners crash lands after one prisoner attempts to use a smuggled gun to assassinate another prisoner and the bullet makes a hole in the fuselage.
- The Dark Knight, where it's done to lure out the Joker. It works, but the vehicle carrying Dent is the only one that survives.
- Mission: Impossible III: the big bad has just been arrested, so naturally his convoy is attacked and he gets away.
- Die Hard 2. Terrorists take over an airport to free a drug lord being flown into the U.S. on a jet.
- Patriot Games. While being transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, terrorist Sean Miller's escort convoy is ambushed by his ULA comrades who kill the police officers and free him from custody. Despite the fact that three identical convoys head out from the prison (the real one is betrayed by The Mole).
- James Bond movie Licence to Kill. Drug lord Franz Sanchez offers a reward to anyone who releases him from custody. During a prisoner transfer the convoy carrying him is attacked from the inside and he gets away.
- The Gauntlet. Clint Eastwood's cop character must get a prostitute from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to testify in a mob trial. They're attacked several times en route.
- Inverted in 16 Blocks. A one-man detail is assigned to take a prisoner downtown while escaping a gauntlet of angry rogue cops.
- S.W.A.T. - The whole plot is effectively one long Escort Mission after the perp yells out while he's being carted away that he'll handsomely reward whomever busts him out.
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith - The first cracks in the titular title's relationships happen when they both try to take out the same target, someone being transported via convoy, except it turns out it's actually a Contract on the Hitman.
- Iron Man - Tony Stark's convoy is attacked by terrorists while it's on its way back from a test fire demonstration.
- Happens repeatedly to the British troops in The Patriot, including Benjamin's rescue of his arrested son Gabriel. The Brits eventually wise up, at one point laying an ambush using a supply wagon.
- John Frankenheimer's The Train centers around a German train carrying French art treasures, and the efforts of the French Resistance to stop it.
- X-Men: The Last Stand - Magneto attacks the prison convoy transporting Mystique, Multiple Man, and the Juggernaut.
- In some of the Grand Theft Auto games there is at least one mission where the player must attack a convoy:
- In III, the main target in the convoy is an ambulance. And of course, in the very beginning, the prisoner convoy that carries the main character is attacked by drug cartels.
- In Vice City, the player has to steal the tank from a miltary convoy.
- In IV, Niko has to attack a prisoner convoy. In a twist, though, your actual intention is to kill the prisoner and dump the body after losing the police.
- Red Faction. Guerrilla spawns EDF convoys and sure enough the player is expected to destroy them before they reach their destination.
- Happens rather often in Just Cause 2.
- In Far Cry 2, the weapons dealers ask the player to destroy convoys driven by their business rivals so that news weapons are unlocked. Strangely, the convoys never actually go anywhere, as they are alway endlessly driving around in a circle.
- In Mirror's Edge, Faith intercepts a police convoy that transports her sister to prison after an unfair trial.
- Happens in Great Train Robbery mission in StarCraft II.
- Enemy supply convoys are frequent targets in the Naval Ops series, though not in the only game where the player is allowed to drive a submarine.
- In the SNES version of the Area 88 shoot-em-up game (UN Squadron Stateside), enemy supply convoys are a source of easy money (and extra lives for the patient).
- In Star Wars Rogue Squadron, you have to rescue Wedge from a prisoner transport convoy on Kessel after he is shot down and captured in the previous mission.
- In Silent Hill: Downpour, the prison bus transporting protagonist Murphy Pendleton and other inmates from Ryall State Penitentiary to Wayside Maximum Security Prison takes a tumble and rolls off the road into woodland. Murphy wakes up and escapes the wreckage on foot, eventually arriving in Silent Hill.
- In the side-scrolling RTS Armor Alley, each side tries to sneak convoys past the other's helicopter assaults.
- The player can accept a mission to raid a convoy hauling weapons in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, and actually gets to keep the weapons as loot (you even get more if you keep the transports intact while destroying their escorts). You can raid the convoy a second time; this time the escorts are stiffer and include enemy Mechs, but are beatable. If you take on the mission a third time, though, it's a trap — there's no convoy at all, only several lances of very tough Mechs out for your blood.
- Finding and engaging enemy convoys takes up about half the players time in the Silent Hunter games. The other half is spent trying to survive the enemy counter attack.
- Resident Evil 0's Billy Coen escaped from a convoy when it was attacked by zombie dogs.
- In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the Brahmin caravan merchants are highly susceptible to attack by raiders, Super Mutants, Radscorpions, Yao Guai, Deathclaws, and in the latter game, Legionaries. An evil player can also raid and loot caravans themselves. At the beginning of the Honest Hearts DLC, the caravan the player was traveling with is slaughtered by the White Legs raider tribe.
- The teen heroes of Young Justice were charged with guarding trucks containing the pieces of the disassembled Amazo android, a convoy that included decoys. Sure enough, the trucks carrying the deadly machine parts are attacked...by MONQUIS!
- In the Generator Rex episode Badlands, Rex was part of a Providence convoy transporting unstable nanites and toilet paper. It isn't long before they are besieged by desert-dwelling anarchists.
- The first episode of the G.I. Joe five-parter "Revenge of Cobra" opens with the Joes transporting a high-tech device, and a Cobra strike force attacking the convoy and making off with it (along with Duke and Snake Eyes).
- Truth in Television. In war, convoys are one of the favorite targets of guerrilla fighters, especially supply convoys. For a while, the most dangerous job in Iraq was military truck driver.
- Likewise at sea, especially during World War II and anywhere that there were pirates. After several years of the military refusing consider the Escort Mission, it finally became clear that it was necessary. As such, there were entire classes of ships that were designed to be "escorts". These tended to be built on the Zerg Rush principle: small and cheap individually, but meant to match U-boat "wolfpack" submarines one on one or surround and delay dreadnoughts until the convoy could get out of range. Of course, serving in one was the classic Escort Mission: not only were you escorting not one but a flock of merchant ships that couldn't take a hit and were likely to do something panicky and stupid when the shooting started, but you were doing it in a ship that was pathetically underpowered and undergunned compared to what you thought you were signing up for.