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Extreme Sports Plot

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A type of Sports Story based around an extreme sport, such as skateboarding, street racing, underground Mixed Martial Arts, parkour, or free climbing.

The reason these sports have such appeal is in the Rule of Cool and excitement inherent in them. There's a certain thrill to seeing athletes or athletic actors commit incredible physical feats, made even more impressive by cinematography, soundtracks, and plot.

The narratives of Extreme Sports Plots vary. A newcomer underdog from a regular background might be introduced to the thrilling lifestyle. Established professionals might be betting it all on one last, dangerous ride. On occasion, an Extreme Sports Plot is mixed with another genre; a common one is for a cop to go undercover to investigate some illegal race/fight club.

Can utilize any one of the following, depending on the sport: Cool Car, Cool Bike, Artistic License – Martial Arts, Fight Clubbing, Scenery Porn. Contrast Subculture of the Week.


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    Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy story "Scouts Dishonor" (Cartoon Network Block Party #35) has Billy enlisting in an Extreme Scouts troop where he and Grim (who got enlisted through Mandy exercising power of attorney) deal with a Drill Sergeant Nasty as well as their perilous obstacle courses.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, for some reason Max and his friends are all suddenly obsessed with winning the X-Games tournament (see the Kim Possible example below), and the central plot of the film is them competing in every sport involved.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games revolves around the students of Canterlot High facing the students of Crystal Prep in a series of events that include archery, motocross, and roller derby.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blood Surf is a monster movie about a bunch of Surfer Dudes who film themselves attracting sharks and surfing nearby for kicks. This would make them Too Dumb to Live by itself, but the sharks aren't actually the problem: there's also a much more vicious, giant crocodile stalking them.
  • Blue Crush may have a plot, but there are so many surf scenes, shots of Hawaii, and gratuitous beach scenes that it is completely obfuscated.
  • District 13 is designed to showcase the parkour skills of its protagonists, one of whom is actually the founder of the sport. The story is considerably more political than could be expected due to the social issues involved, dealing with a dystopia where the more dangerous neighborhoods around Paris were walled off by the government and left to fend for themselves.
  • Drop Zone: The excuse is that some people want to break into the DEA office to find out all their undercover agents. It turns out Washington DC is a free drop zone for skydivers on one day (hard to say if this was ever true — certainly not after 9/11), so they use that to sneak into the building.
  • Extreme Days has the four main characters surf, drive, ride, and board their way across the country, in the name of freedom the summer before beginning their college careers.
  • Released in late 2002, Extreme Ops concerned a film crew and three extreme sports enthusiasts who go to the Alps to shoot a commercial, only to discover the hideout of a war criminal who faked his death.
  • The Fast and the Furious:
    • The Fast and the Furious (2001): The excuse is that the street racers are hijacking shipment trucks to fund their activity, and a cop goes undercover to infiltrate the group. (It should be noted that the film is almost identical to the below-mentioned Point Break.)
    • 2 Fast 2 Furious: The excuse is that the same undercover cop and an ex-convict become street racers in order to get hired as drivers for a drug lord so they can infiltrate his operation.
    • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: The excuse is that a street-racing teenager sent to his US Navy dad stationed in Japan wrecks a yakuza drifter's car, and he must work as his errand boy until he pays his car.
    • Fast & Furious: Same as the second (different drug lord), with the added twist that Dom is also going undercover on his own initiative to get revenge on the man who killed his girlfriend. From that point onwards things go so off the rails in Serial Escalation that the series essentially becomes G.I. Joe with a souped-up car gimmick.
  • In the Jackie Chan film New Police Story, the baddies are extreme sports enthusiasts and an action set piece takes place at a X-Games meeting.
  • Out Cold was a Sex Comedy example, in which a "save the ski resort" plot is used as the excuse for a mix of early '00s raunchy humor and scenes of snowboarders carving up the slopes of British Columbia (doubling for Alaska). The directors were at the time best known for the surfing documentary Thicker Than Water.
  • Point Break:
    • In the original 1991 film, the excuse is that the surfers are robbing banks to fund their activity, and an FBI agent goes undercover to infiltrate the group. Although not the first, it is probably the most imitated example regarding films in this genre.
    • The 2015 remake is even crazier, with Big Bad Bodie's justification going from "just" surfing to a jamboree of extreme stunts around the world that, if completed, are supposed to let the sports artist achieve a kind of spiritual Nirvana, not to mention that the heists now involve insane stunts such as Halo jumping.
  • Prayer of the Rollerboys takes place in a dystopian near-future America where, amidst economic collapse, a gang of white supremacist rollerbladers is taking over the drug market and terrorizing Los Angeles.
  • Both versions of Rollerball have this. The titular Blood Sport is a sci-fi mix of Roller Derby, motocross, and Gladiator Games. The original film emphasized the use of rollerball as Bread and Circuses meant by the corporate rulers of the world to suppress individualism, the protagonist Jonathan becoming an Icon of Rebellion by emerging as a superstar athlete in a system designed to keep him down. In the remake, meanwhile, the Big Bad made the sport as violent as he could in order to maximize ratings, even at the expense of his stars. The "extreme" elements are also emphasized, most notably with Paul Heyman as the announcer and the sport being heavily draped in a contemporary "Attitude Era" pro wrestling aesthetic.
  • The MST3K-featured movie The Sidehackers is initially about motorcycle racing with sidecars. It takes a somewhat darker turn about a third of the way through.
  • The Skydivers by Coleman Francis, which managed to suck out any sort of joy or excitement one might find in the activity. It too was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Surf Ninjas: How is surfing supposed to help you stop evil? When you use it to invade the island where the stronghold of a despotic dictator is located.
    • Remember, bend your knees and use your arms!
  • Every Warren Miller ski documentary (there are over 50 of them) is this. They all have some nominal hook that claims to explore some concept in skiing, but films are a series of short vignettes following different skiers, followed by a lot of amazing shots of people skiing, which are the real reason people watch the movies.
  • xXx:
    • The setup for the first film is that the NSAnote  apparently need an extreme sports athlete with anarchist leanings to infiltrate the like-minded Anarchy 99 terrorist group, as their clean-cut James Bond types have already been exposed and killed for their inability to mesh seamlessly within the group. The entire plot is a contrivance to set up the parachute-snowboard-snowmobile-grenade scene.
    • The sequel xXx: State of the Union swaps out the extreme sports for Gangsta Rap, as an ex-Navy SEAL from the Washington, D.C. ghetto teams up with his former partners in crime to stop a coup attempt.
    • And the third film xXx: Return of Xander Cage has Xander recruited for another mission and him deciding to ditch the CIA suit-and-tie gang that they tried to give him to recruit his own Ragtag Bunch of Misfits team that, you guessed it, are all also master extreme sportsmen on top of whatever else they are good at.
  • YamakasiThe Movie, starring Yamakasi, the parkour group. A small boy gets hurt trying to imitate them and needs very expensive surgery which his family is too poor to afford. So the Yamakasi decide to apologize to the family by robbing some very rich people and paying for the surgery.
    • Although that is at least still some sort of plot, in the sequel Les Fils Du Vent the group literally just runs (or parkours) into criminals.

  • In Fight Club, Tyler Durden uses extreme sports (in this case, underground fighting competitions) as the hook to recruit men into his actual plan, Project Mayhem, a terrorist group revolting against consumer capitalism and liberal individualism.

    Live-Action TV 
  • My Name Is Earl has an episode where Earl is still in his coma, and the hospital convinces Randy to start caring for him at home instead of keeping him there, or moving him to long-term care. Randy has figured out that doing items on the List seems to improve Earl's condition (even pulling him back from the brink of death in an earlier episode), and one of the items involved stealing wheelchairs from two paralyzed children some 20+ years ago to go racing, leaving them out in the sun to be humped by a dog. The boy (now a man) competes in a game called "Killerball," which is like a cross between basketball and dodgeball, in wheelchairs. So does the girl's (now a woman) ex-boyfriend. Earl (despite being totally unaware) gets caught in the middle of a conflict between the ex-boyfriend and the brother. He wakes up from the coma in the middle of the game, after scoring a winning goal.
  • The New Adventures of Beans Baxter: In "Beans Goes to Camp", UGLI steals a nuclear warhead, so Beans goes undercover at a parasailing camp to find it. Of course, parasailing plays a vital role in him saving the day at the end of the episode.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm had some of this vibe, as all the Rangers save Cam were extreme athletes in their off hours: Shane's a skateboarder, Tori's a surfer, and the others are motocross bikers. These hobbies rarely if ever crossed into their fights with the evil space ninjas, though.


  • A number of LEGO lines, including Extreme Team, Island Xtreme Stunts, and Gravity Games, have little plot beyond extreme stunts.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Summit runs on this trope. After a UFO crashes at the Mt. Garrick ski resort and the military sets up shop there to study it, a group of rebellious snowboarders show up to uncover the truth, pitting them against the military and the ski patrol, who have teamed up in order to stop them.
  • In Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, the girls are tricked into going to an island for a fake tournament (even though two of them should know for a fact that there isn't one). One of them even falls for it twice. Despite some of them being bitter or even deadly rivals (kind of the reason they batter each other in Dead or Alive), they all put this aside, play volleyball and buy each other swimsuits.
  • Mirror's Edge is set in a dystopian future where the government monitors all communication, so La Résistance can only relay messages using Parkour-trained agents who can jump rooftops and slide on rails.
  • Skateboarding has been outlawed in Skate 2, and the plot goes from there.
  • Sonic Riders and its sequels are based entirely around racing at high speeds on hoverboard-like objects known as Extreme Gear.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater:
    • Tony Hawk's Underground had a fairly decent plot involving getting sponsored by a major skateboarding company, and proving yourself as a star, before events made you realize that it was never about the money, and you end the game learning to do it for fun, rather than for money. The sequel then had you skating around the world causing mayhem as part of a team of pros competing in a "World Destruction Tour".
    • American Wasteland's plot concerns the revival of a run-down skate park. To do this, you smash up and steal various items from within LA, and keep your distance from the law.
  • In Whirl Tour, the band Flipside gets sucked into a portal by the evil Dr. Skeezkicks, and their roadie Wasa B. must save them by riding his scooter through various levels and completing challenges in a manner akin to the Tony Hawk games.
  • Xtreme Sports for Game Boy Color, aptly enough. The sports couple Fin and Guppi hear about an extreme sports competition sponsored by the Xtreme Cola company, so they compete against each other so that they both have the chance to win its cash prize. There is a group of antagonists called the Bone-Heads, but they're only secondary to the main objective.

    Western Animation 
  • Action Man (2000) has one of the more insane (and awesome) of these, involving Cold War Super-Soldier experiments, radical transhumanism, and Bullet Time powered by super-advanced math.
  • An episode of Kim Possible did it in a cross-promotion with the X Games, which are run by ESPN, which is owned by Disney.
  • Max Steel starts as this, but drops it for a season and a half when Josh McGrath, for whom 'Max Steel' is an alias, quits sports because he can't turn off his powers and doesn't enjoy competition with the unfair advantage. He later learns to overcome this and the trope shows up played straight in a couple of episodes, but he's completely switched careers. In the season three Retool, Josh is no longer a secret agent and goes back to competing, so it shows up a few more times.
  • Rocket Power, a show about a group of preteen California skaters, was filled to the brim with them, including one episode that featured Tony Hawk.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Extreme Spots" centers around this with SpongeBob and Patrick meeting a group of daredevils, one of whom played by Johnny Knoxville.

    Real Life 
  • The historical basis for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — isolated town's children imperiled by diphtheria, weather conditions prevent shipment of antitoxin by sea or air, heroic teams of mushers and animals race the clock to deliver the lifesaving medicine — used the Extreme Endurance Sport Plot for social change. It really happened in 1925, with the Great Race of Mercy to Nome, Alaska, but the organizers also made sure to keep the press informed, knowing that this life-and-death race would call attention to the lack of reliable transportation to western Alaska.
  • Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are known to use underground MMA competitions and "active clubs" as a recruiting tool among young men, most notably in Europe but also in North America. The goal is to create propaganda depicting men involved in their subculture as physically fit, hypermasculine badasses who can take on the world and are willing to resort to violence to do so, with such groups often serving as a gateway to membership in Nazi gangs and involvement in terrorist plots.

Alternative Title(s): Xtreme Sport Xcuse Plot, Extreme Sport Excuse Plot, Extreme Sports Excuse Plot, Extreme Sport Plot