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Bringing Running Shoes to a Car Chase

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The expected usual ingredients for a car chase are at least one chaser, at least one fugitive, and at least two cars. Not this time. For one reason or another, the chaser is on foot. In Real Life, this would likely lead to quite a short chase and a cheery wave in the rear view mirror from the fugitive (unless they got in a traffic jam). In the movies, however, count on terrible gridlock, the chaser either knowing the streets really well and thus able to take shortcuts (expect some Le Parkour), being able to hitch (temporary) rides on other passing vehicles (may involve Hood Hopping and Outside Ride), or even having a Super Speed. Pursuers with Super Strength can be expected to physically stop the vehicle.

Sometimes just the lead in to a normal car chase — this trope is in play until averted by the chaser getting hold of a car of their own. May sometimes be inverted: someone on a vehicle chasing someone else on foot. In this case you may expect the chased to use shortcuts or going through crowds; Le Parkour may also be in play.


The trope title comes from the Grocery Man And Friends episode "Bob Williams, The Candy Man/Sonic the Hedgehog", where Bruna Romano blurts this out: "Bringing running shoes to a car chase. This is magical. Call Satan."

Compare Racing the Train and Unconventional Vehicle Chase. Related is Pedestrian Crushes Car.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Roberta of Black Lagoon overtakes the Lagoon Crew's vehicle at a dead run and leaping right on the rear with a trench knife. There's a reason she's often compared to the Terminator.
  • Once in Skip Beat!, Kyoko managed to catch up to a manager's car on foot due to her quasi-supernatural abilities.

    Comic Books 
  • In two separate Sin City stories, main characters rush after cars on foot. In Family Values, Miho uses rollerblades to achieve this goal and in Just another Saturday Night, Marv runs after the car but quickly leaps on soon after.
  • The Golden Age The Flash discovered his powers by trying to catch the bus, starting to catch up...and one blink of an eye later, he was one county over.
  • Robin III: Cry of the Huntress: Tim chases after Hammer on foot when they abduct Ariana. He manages to keep up through use of rooftop hopping, traffic slowing them down and clinging to the outside of vehicles until he gets waylaid in Chinatown by Lynx.

    Comic Strips 
  • One The Far Side comic depicts "Every dog's dream". The dog in question successfully caught the car he was chasing, and stands atop its corpse to howl in triumph.note 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One, Bruce Wayne (not as Batman) chases a car on foot, going as far as to run on rooftops and jump down onto another truck.
  • Woody attempts to chase after a train on foot at the beginning of Toy Story 3. It works as well as one would expect a toy cowboy to. He's not truly able to catch up to the train until he gets access to Barbie's car.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 12 Rounds: During the prologue, Danny happens to spot wanted criminal Miles Fisher and has to chase after him on foot when Miles drives off. By simply cutting through houses and backyards he is able to cross the path of Miles' speeding car several times (implying that Miles is doubling back on himself for some reason). Danny is eventually able to get ahead of the car and drop a boat across its path.
  • In About Scout, Scout futilely runs after Ray's truck as he drives away with Lulu.
  • In Aaron Loves Angela, the two goons find Aaron and Angela at Grant's Tomb and start driving towards them. Aaron and Angela flee down the street until they reach a park where the goons can't drive and have to get out and run.
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! features a car chase that ends when Mason Dixon gets out of his car and runs the other guy down on foot. This was not because he was particularly fast, but rather because both cars in the chase were that pathetically slow.
  • The sequel of Captain America (1979) has Cap catching a thief in a car on foot. Captain America (1990) has a scene where he is the one being chased by mooks on motorcycles, and leaves them in dust.
  • In Corvette Summer, Kenny spots his stolen Corvette on several occasions. He tries to chase after it on foot, without much success.
  • Dominick and Eugene: After Mikey is badly injured from being pushed down the stairs, Nicky tries to chase after the ambulance.
  • In Inspector Gadget, Gadget has to chase after Claw's limousine on foot. Good thing he's got Go-Go-Gadget Legs.
  • The climactic battle on the first Lethal Weapon movie has Riggs chasing after Mr. Joshua on foot while the latter is running away on a car (and managing to intercept him, but Joshua still manages to run away for a very short time). The second movie starts with a car chase that Riggs spends a short part of running on foot.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • As soon as he gets his new physique in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers takes off after a bad guy. Bad guy steals a car and Steve runs after him and catches up (aided by the fact that this was in his home neighborhood and he knew all the local shortcuts). Then, the bad guy climbs into a submarine and Steve swims after him and catches him.
    • Just FYI on Cap running after the car, depending on what source you go with, Captain America can run about 60 MPH/90KPH
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Steve, Bucky (now the former Winter Soldier), and T'Challa (a.k.a. the Black Panther) are all shown outrunning traffic on foot at various points in the highway chase scene.
  • Mad Love (1995): After Matt and Casey crash their original car, they steal someone else's. The owner fruitlessly chases them down the highway.
  • Men in Black. When the Bug escapes from J and K in a cab, J runs after the cab on foot. K sensibly goes to get their car and picks up J.
  • In the opening scene of The One, the antagonist outruns a police car on foot.
  • The Perfect Weapon (1991): As Kim's murderer is driving away, Jeff gives chase on foot, with predictable results.
  • In The Return of the Pink Panther, the cabbie responds to Inspector Clouseau's command to Follow That Car by climbing out of the cab and chasing the car on foot.
  • The teenage Clark Kent from Superman: The Movie races on foot at super speed to outrun a passenger train, and narrowly beats it to a crossing. Clark is in a hurry to arrive home ahead of a Jerk Jock driving a Carload of Cool Kids, since the jock thinks Clark is still on the practice field folding football uniforms.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The T-1000 does a pretty good job of chasing the heroes despite being on foot. Robert Patrick makes it look like he really could keep up with a speeding car, and in the first few takes of the motorcycle chase depicted above, he actually caught up with it and had to deliberately slow down. But subverted in that the first time he hijacks a truck to keep up with John's dirt bike, and the second time he gives up chasing the heroes' car after a while.
  • In Tuff Turf, Nick's car driven by Jimmy drives after Morgan, who runs down an alley, knocking trash cans in front of it.
  • In the film Watermelon Man — about a white man who turns black overnight for no discernible reason — Jeff's morning workout is part of his commute: he racing along side the bus and gets to the bus stop first. After he turns black he gets stopped by the cops for Running While Black. They assume he stole something — why else would he be running?
  • Fragment of Fear: While Tim is on his way to his wedding, one of the members of the conspiracy taunts him from a car. Tim runs after the car and even briefly touches it, but it quickly gets away from him.

  • Old joke: "I'm not so concerned about my dog chasing cars; it's when he brings 'em home and buries 'em in the yard that I start to get worried."
  • There is also an Urban Legend joke about a man trying to drive away from a policeman, only for the car to spin its wheels fruitlessly because it was parked someplace with zero traction. The policeman ran in place next to the stationary car and ordered the fugitive to pull over.

  • In The Speed of Sound, Skylar and Eddie see the assassin Lutz as they're walking through New York City. Skylar quickly hails a cab. Lutz runs after the cab, coming within eight feet of it at one point and managing to keep up the chase for two blocks, but he eventually falls too far behind.
  • Hover Car Racer: During one race, Xavier Xonora rams into Jason, causing both of their hover cars to crash 500 meters from the Finish Line. Jason is in a position where he can't easily get out of the cockpit, so so he removes the steering wheel, gives it to the Bug, and has him run the rest of the way, since according to the rules of this race, the first car to get the steering wheel across the Line wins. When the Bug has almost made it, Xavier gets his car working and drives after him. The Bug dives across the line, holding the steering wheel in his outstretched hands, and wins by less than a foot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Adam-12 episode "Rampart Division: The Senior Citizens," Reed and Malloy see a purse snatcher run into a graveyard that has roads. They try to drive after him, but are blocked by a slow-moving car that enters the graveyard ahead of them. By the time they get out, he's escaped over a wall.
  • In Alphas, Bill channels his Super Strength into his legs in order to chase down a car.
  • In a Brooklyn Nine-Nine cold open, a drug dealer tries to carjack a passing car, only to get stuck in a traffic jam. Jake Peralta simply walks up to the driver's window and arrests him.
  • In CSI: NY's "Taxi," Flack is taking a handcuffed suspect out of a squad car at the precinct when some perps dump a body out of their car and speed off. He takes off on foot after them for a couple of blocks, but barely even gets any of their license number before giving up, being too winded to continue.
  • In the first scene of the Future Cop pilot, Cleaver and Bundy are engaged in a high-speed chase with a stolen Porsche. When the police car is blocked, Cleaver gets out and chases after the Porsche on foot, with about as much success as you'd expect.
  • In an episode of Get Smart Max wants to catch a KAOS agent who has driven off so he tells a CONTROL agent extra leaning on an auto to "Follow That Car!" — which he does by taking off running. This was the birth of Larrabee, the agent so dumb that he's able to force CONTROL to keep Max on the payroll (because if Max is fired, Larrabee would have to be promoted to Max's job).
  • Monk: The killer in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife" is woken up by the sound of a tow truck pulling away with his car that is being repossessed, in which there's a gun he used in an earlier crime. To stop the gun from being found, he grabs a hunting rifle, runs out of the house barefoot (having not had time to get dressed or put his shoes on), cuts through backyards to reach a point that the tow truck has to take a longer route to get to, and shoots the driver when the truck comes by.
  • Private Schulz: Schulz enlists a gang of British criminals to help retrieve a parachute container full of forged British bank notes. After their sudden yet inevitable betrayal, Schulz is able to jump on a bus with the container, but the leader of the gang starts running after Schulz and continues to do so for the entire bus route (he's assumed to be a marathon runner by the conductor) only to have the notes blow up in his face when a panicked Schulz throws the booby-trapped container into a boat in his attempt to get away.
  • In an episode of Scandal, Jake races after a car that supposedly had a kidnapped Olivia inside of it on foot. And in his underwear. Scott Foley, his actor, even got a cast on his foot after getting hurt during one of the takes.
  • In Sherlock: A Study in Pink, Sherlock manages to catch up to a taxi traveling on relatively clear roads by anticipating its route, knowing where he can take shortcuts and being a decent runner.
  • Top Gear:
    • One challenge had Clarkson drive a car around the course of the London Marathon, while a runner did it on foot. The runner won.
    • In a series 8 challenge, James May in a Peugeot 207 raced two parkour practitioners across Liverpool. Captain Slow lost.
  • In an episode of The X-Files, entitled Unruhe, the antagonist of the week steals the pair's car and kidnaps Scully. Mulder manages to keep up on foot for about two blocks.

  • In The Goon Show, Eccles is inclined to do this.
    • In "The Missing Number Ten Downing Street":
      Eccles: Inspector? I think I'm on to something. I’ve been tailing a car up der Great North Road for the last 30 miles, and it looks very suspicious.
      Seagoon: Overtake him at once!
      Eccles: But he’s doin’ a hundred miles an hour.
      Seagoon: Well, try and pass him.
      Eccles: Well, I’ll try, but he’s got the advantage over me.
      Seagoon: Why?
      Eccles: He’s in a car, I’m walkin’.
    • In "Ill Met by Goonlight":
      First Nazi: Ach Himmel! He's running alongside the car. Faster driver!
      Driver: Jawohl!
      Second Nazi: Gerblunden, he's still keeping up with us! Faster driver, faster.
      Driver: Jawohl!
      First Nazi: Great gerblunden, he's still alongside, and we're doing hundred miles an hour.
      Second Nazi: Lower the window. [Window lowered] Look, go away you, stop running after us.
      Eccles: I can't! I got my coat caught in the door!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chronicles of Darkness has rules for a character on foot to catch up to a vehicle that's passing right by them or starting from a dead stop. It requires a difficult skill test, with a second test to jump on board or attack, and the game acknowledges that only characters with Super Speed have much chance.

    Video Games 
  • In Neverwinter Nights, the flavor text for the Boots of Speed says that the original pair was used by an assassin who would chase down horseback riders with them, shouting a battlecry of "You can hide, but you can't run!"
  • Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends frequently have to chase vehicles down. Examples include a red car speeding down Metal City carrying treasure in Sonic Riders, the Egg Hammer Mark II in Sonic Advance 2 (essentially a convertible with a giant hammer in the back), a train with a bomb strapped to it in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Frigate Orcan and the Skullian blimp in Sonic Colors, and a modified race car out of curiosity in Sonic X. The most famous example is an inversion though: In Sonic Adventure 2 (and Sonic Generations), a paramilitary force sends a gigantic truck after Sonic, who then has to run for his life until the truck crashes into something and incapacitates itself.

    Western Animation 
  • Cow and Chicken.
    • In "The King and Queen of Cheese", Chicken notices Cow has dropped her Crabs the Warthog doll on the platform at the train station after she has already boarded the train and it has left; he chases after the train on foot — all the way to Arkansas — to give her her doll.
    • In "Cow and Chicken Recycling", a pair of art thieves rob Red Guy's museum under the cover of darkness, but after they take off in their getaway truck, Red chases after them on foot — and can surprisingly run as fast as they drive.
  • An episode of Freakazoid! has Freakazoid chasing on foot after the Lobe, who's escaping in a limousine. Freakazoid manages to catch up to the limousine and get into a ramming duel with it before the writing staff bulls up beside him in another limousine and suggests that he should use the Freakmobile.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Split Personality", Busting!Candace goes on foot to catch up to the car Linda and Romantic!Candace are in.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Extreme example: One episode has Sideshow Bob steal a replica of the Wright brothers' flyer, only for an Air Force base to send two jets after it. However, as the jets go too fast, one pilot suggest getting out and walking, with the scene cutting to them doing just that, jogging alongside the flyer with one hand reaching up.note 
    • Homer has become friends with Ned Flanders, but the Flanders family doesn't want him being so friendly. Ned bursts out of his garage with his family and starts speeding down the road, with Homer chasing after him until Ned finally shakes him off. The scene is a direct Shout-Out to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
      Maude: Come on, Ned! Move this thing!
      Ned: I can't! IT'S A GEO!

    Real Life 
  • The first recorded automobile chase in America took place in the 1860s. The police officer was on foot. Of course, automobiles of that time were far slower than today's.
  • Le Parkour came about because some urban areas in France have such congested traffic problems that running, hopping, and bouncing across places would be faster than driving. Le Parkour experts have put this to a test by chasing or racing someone in an automobile. This happened in Casino Royale (2006) where a man on foot was able to keep up with James Bond in a car because Bond had to take longer paths on asphalt roads.