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Forklift Fu

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"He tried to kill me with a forklift! (Olé!)"

Forklifts; they're tough, manly, and working-class. They're commonplace all over the world and essential for large warehouses; they come in many types and sizes and combine all the joys of driving with carrying ridiculously heavy items suspended just above head-height.

They're also dangerous, intentional or not, as this informative German Safety Video parody shows.note  This trope is all about using them as a type of weapon.

In futuristic settings, any one-man crate-moving apparatus will do. See also Car Fu and Ramming Always Works.

Sub-Trope of Construction Vehicle Rampage.


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  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, the hero defeats a robot enemy with a forklift in the very first scene.
  • In episode 12 of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, after a tank BETA shows up in the warehouse where an experimental rail gun is being stored in episode 12, it begins to chase Yui. Then the corporal who was assisting her rams it with the forklift he was driving. Although that wasn't enough to kill it, he buys her enough time to grab a high-powered sniper rifle and shoot it.

    Comic Books 
  • In one of the Archie Comics "Explorers of the Unknown" stories, Jughead's character fights one of Myron Pepperdinkle's giant robots by gutting it with a forklift.
  • A character is impaled by a forklift, which also inadvertently kills two others, in Final Destination: Spring Break.
  • In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #20, a crook tries to run Indy down in a warehouse with a forklift.
  • In the MAD parody of McCloud had McClod accidentally wipe out half of the Hong Kong police force with a forklift.
  • Some thugs attempt to attack Ben Grimm with a forklift in Marvel Two-in-One: The Thing & Moon Knight. It only succeeds in annoying Thing.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Final Girl of the Norwegian Slasher Movie 22 uses a forklift to kill the murderer who has been chasing her in an abandoned building. She is somehow able to impale him from behind without him hearing the thing approaching until it is too late.
  • Bordering on Mini-Mecha, Aliens has the powerloader/autoloader, two forklift arms attached to a humanoid mecha frame whose main purpose is shown to be loading aircraft with the forklift "fingers" and moving large munitions around. Ripley uses it at the end for the Alien Queen to get to fight someone its own size.
  • During the raid on the warehouse in Antigang, Serge takes down one of the robbers by driving a forklift through an interior wall into him.
  • The Big Bad in Barb Wire tries to off the heroine with one.
  • Attempted in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, although most of the plan is that the good guys are hiding inside a crate carried by the forklift. Unfortunately Romeo has no idea how to drive a forklift causing the brothers to be thrown about in the crate, then physics reels its ugly head when he stops the forklift, causing the crate to slide off the forks.
  • In The Car: Road to Revenge, Rainer uses a forklift to hoist the car's front wheels off the ground so it can't gain traction: leaving it a sitting duck for the bomb set up by Daria.
  • Carnosaur 2 — a T-Rex is killed with a forklift. Awesome!
  • City War had the Cowboy Cop protagonist using a forklift as cover while shooting at gangsters in a warehouse.
  • In Class of 1999, Cody kills Bryles by chaining him to a forklift and pulling his head off from his body.
  • The Death Wish pentalogy:
    • In Death Wish II, bad guys try to kill protagonist Paul Kersey with a forklift, but he escapes.
    • Reversed in Death Wish V: The Face of Death; he rides around in a forklift shooting, then moves out of sight. The forklift then comes on a kamikaze course for the gang of thugs only for them to realise at the last minute it's just full of boxes instead this time.
  • Diamonds on Wheels: The gang uses a forklift to demolish a fence while chasing Bobby outside the warehouse; nearly flattening him with a pile of crates in the process.
  • Final Destination 3 set us up for one by putting an out-of-control forklift on a collision course with a bunch of characters we know to be doomed. At the last minute, it crashes into a shelf instead and a much lamer death by nail gun ensues.
  • The spoof training film Forklift Driver Klaus follows Klaus on his first day of work as a forklift operator, showing dangerous situations that showcase the importance of the rules he was supposed to have learned during his training for an operator license. However, as Klaus and his coworkers are largely all Too Dumb to Live, things soon get Bloody Hilarious, turning the forklift into a terrible instrument of slaughter.
  • Fugitive Alien. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 version (specifically, a song the cast sings to the tune of the background music) was the former Trope Namer. "Olé!"
  • Ripcord impales a Neo-Viper with a forklift's fork in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Higanjima has a vampire get killed by a forklift to the heart.
  • The Fisherman impales a deputy on a forklift in I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • James Bond
    • You Only Live Twice: The SPECTRE mooks at the Kobe dock try to kill Bond with one.
    • Licence to Kill: Heller is found impaled on a forklift by Bond, after Bond made Sanchez paranoid enough about his own men to kill them one by one.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies: While escaping the Hamburg facility, Bond narrowly avoids a mook trying to ram him with a forklift.
    • Variation in Casino Royale: Bond tries to kill a mook with a front-end loader.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4 Riggs tries to attack Jet Li's character Wah Sing Ku with a forklift. Wah Sing Ku still beats the crap out of him.
  • Mission Of Condor have an example for the villains that backfires in a glorious way. Lion, the film's main villain, tries to ram the heroes at the end of the film with a forklift, but missed. He ends up snagging a crate of dynamites instead before crashing through the side walls of the warehouse where the final battle is taking place... right into a row of police officers who instinctively fires at the warehouse, dynamites and all. The resulting explosion vaporizes him in an instant.
  • Our Man Flint: The Galaxy organisation think that they've killed Derek Flint, so place his body in a coffin which is carried by forklift to the elevator where to be taken to the leaders of Galaxy. A guard watches the doors close on the coffin and the other Galaxy minions, then turns to find Flint, having slipped out of the coffin earlier, driving the forklift moments before it crushes him against the wall.
  • In Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, Eric kills a guard, who spies on women in the dressing room via mall security video, by crushing him into an electrical panel using a forklift.
  • In Santo y Blue Demon contra Drácula y el Hombre Lobo, El Santo's girlfriend Lina rescues the luchadores by toppling a wall of boxes on a group of mobsters.

  • Aeon 14: In Orion Rising, Joe walks in on the Orphaned Punchline, "So then, I said to him, I've got three holes here and I paid you to fill them all, now get to it!" Ethical Slut Jessica then explains to Joe that she was talking about a forklift driver who accidentally ran it into one of Sabrina's bulkheads.
  • Alex Rider: A triad member attempts to kill Alex with a forklift in Skeleton Key.
  • Charles Paris: Corporate Bodies is a murder mystery where the instrument of murder is a forklift.
  • In the second book of The Heroes of Olympus series, the Amazons use battle forklifts, complete with mounted crossbows and each prong sharpened into oversized sword blades.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 100 Things to Do Before High School: Entirely accidental, but in "Pilot" CJ demolishes Principal Hader's new office with a lift truck.
  • Adam-12: In a Season 2 episode, Malloy nearly gets run over by one by a criminal. Luckily, Reed put the brakes on to save his partner.
  • Banacek: A thief uses a forklift in an attempt to kill Banacek on the docks in "The Three Million Dollar Piracy".
  • Burn Notice: In "Damned If You Do", Michael uses a forklift and shipping container to disable a gang of thugs and their vehicle at a storage facility.
  • Cannon: In "Death Chain", Cannon is trapped in a burning workshop, and uses a forklift to rip the bars of the window so he can escape.
  • Doctor Who:
  • One episode of the classic The Incredible Hulk (1977) series had someone attempt to get the Hulk with a forklift. He took a hit in the leg, leaving Bruce Banner feeling the sting as well later.
  • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger has the idiot guest child actor of the week steal a key that leads to the introduction of the Original Trope Namer Sixth Ranger Burai. As Waking up Burai is in and of itself a horrifically bad thing to do (for reasons the show never bothers to explain since it isn't for reasons at all related to Burai's Backstory), his grandfather who was guarding the Key chases him Down—of Course—WITH a Forklift and tries to kill him.
  • MacGyver: An early episode's Batman Cold Open shows villains trying to put Angus out of action with a forklift. In the end he turns the tables and returns the favor. Though at least all he does is lift their car up so they can't escape and calls his superiors to pick them up. Well, let them down and then pick them up...
  • The Magician: In "Nightmare in Steel", the villains attempt to dispose of Tony by running him down with a forklift loaded with drums.
  • Midsomer Murders — In "Sauce for the Goose", Victim of the Week Dexter Lockwood is crushed by a forklift before being dumped in a sterilizer.
  • Illusionist Criss Angel performed a trick on his Mindfreak TV show where he appeared to get impaled by a forklift.
  • In Monk, the intro sequence of the episode Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month features the victim of the week getting attacked by a forklift. The forklift doesn't kill her directly; instead, it knocks a television on top of her. However, the initial plan of the forklift driver is to run her down with the vehicle.
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: In episode #8.2, comedian Luke Heggie explains how he got into a fight with someone at work who made the mistake of "bringing fists to a forklift fight", and then cuts to a shot of him running the other guy over with a forklift.

  • The band Midnight Syndicate has a song entitled "Forklift Death".

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia adventure Vapors Don't Shoot Back. In their first mission the Player Characters must fight against automated forklifts (forkbots) in a warehouse.
  • The New York chapter of the Unknown Armies campaign book "To Go" involves a shootout in a warehouse. It gives rules for using the forklift as a weapon.
  • From the Welch List: 527. Even if the rules allow it, I cannot spend $64,000 to get the vorpal option for a forklift.

  • Transformers has Decepticons Deadlift and Dirt Boss, both of which transform into forklifts. Since Decepticons are evil killing machines, we can reasonably assume that forklift death is occurring somewhere at some point in time in this universe.

    Video Games 
  • The third level of 007 Racing has James Bond battling forklifts, who attacks by ramming Bond's vehicle from the sides.
  • Battlefield 2: Special Forces. Running enemies over in cars or tanks is very doable, and they have machine guns as a "backup". Now do it in a vehicle with no weapons, half the size, and a quarter of the maneuverability.
    • For added amusement, another player can lay prone on the tongs and fire from there.
    • In Battlefield 3 they are available in Back to Karkand DLC maps. (There are some in Noshahr Canal but they're undrivable.)
  • In Burning Fight for the Neo Geo, forklifts are among the many types of vehicles enemies ride on.
  • Champions Online allows your hero character to pick up any of a number of props scattered around the environment and either bludgeon enemies with them or throw them at enemies. In most missions that take place in warehouses, this includes forklifts.
  • Characters in City of Heroes who can manipulate gravity have an attack called "propel", which summons a random in-game prop and hurls it at the enemy, including computers, statues, cars, and yes, fork lifts.
  • Crows The Battle Action have levels where mooks will run you over with forklifts.
  • In DC Universe Online, the Smallville alert, there is one of these at the Kent farm. Feel free to throw it at Doomsday.
  • Demolish Fist have an area in the warehouse where you're attacked by eight forklifts who forms a circle charging at you.
  • Destiny 2 has part of a mission on Titan which is a Homage to Halo's end run sequence, where you have to carry a MacGuffin across a series of platforms being overrun by the Hive. You can't summon your Sparrow for this part (nor would you even have it if you've played the game normally up to this point), but there are forklifts nearby that are both faster and tougher than you'd expect (they were made in the Golden Age, after all), making them more than suitable for the task.
  • Duke Nukem Forever, and yes, there's an achievement/trophy tied into this (kill six enemies with the forklift. Ole!)
  • You get one driven at you in an early level of Enter the Matrix.
  • The forklift is an unlockable Easter Egg in Escape Velocity. It comes with an MST3K sound bite, and is an overpowered Missile Launcher-like weapon.
  • Gang Busters occasionally throws forklift piloted by gangsters who attempts ramming into you.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has forklifts, and at least one mission that requires the player to use one. However, they are so slow and unwieldy (due to the rear wheel drive) that pretty much any other vehicle in the game would make a more effective killing tool.
  • Halo: Reach has a drivable forklift that can be used to splatter enemies, but it can barely go fast enough to splatter a Grunt. They blow up nicely, however, so it's more useful to get one into position and then shoot it.
    • Energy sword Elites, though? Their AI makes them run full speed at their target. If an Elite with a sword and a forklift get involved in a head-on collision, the forklift wins. Observe.
  • Heavy Rain — Depending on the player's choices, Jayden can end up handcuffed to the steering wheel of his car while Mad Jack picks it up and feeds it to the vehicle crusher; in the ensuing battle against Mad Jack, it's possible to have Mad Jack end up getting crushed by his own machine.
  • In Left 4 Dead, the Tank can punch forklifts towards the survivors with deadly results. As deadly as falling down to the ground and only being able to use pistols can be, at least (unless if the forklift stays on the downed survivor, or worse, hits more than one survivor).
  • One boss in Lethal Enforcers 3 attacks using a forklift as a last resort.
  • In the finale of Lost Judgment, Yagami and friends commandeer a forklift and drive it at top speed to break through a metal door.
  • In Max Payne 2, one of the Cleaners attempts to kill Max with a forklift in the first level.
  • Metal Slug 4 has a new vehicle simply called the forklift, which players can hijack and use against enemy soldiers. Pressing the "Cannon" button thrushes the forklift's jack ahead to impale enemies, while pushing "Jump" releases a ramp that lifts the player several meters above ground. It's unfortunately one of the weaker vehicles, however.
  • Metroid: Other M has Samus fight something that seems to be a sci-fi forklift analog. At least, it can't seem to be anything else.
  • Using the crane in Oni (which does happen to have forklift prongs!) to tip over an escaping vehicle.
  • A couple of heists in PAYDAY 2 have forklifts. They're supposed to be used to move heavy loot over long distances, but they're also effective cop-killers; anyone who gets hit is killed instantly- even Bulldozers.
  • In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Ryo Hazuki's All-Star move causes him to get off his motorcycle and get in a forklift. The forklift knocks enemies behind Ryo by flipping them. There's also an achievement where you have to use it to take out Jacky and Akira. In the sequel, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Ryo's all-star move is being able to summon two mini-forklifts that orbit his plane and knock people away.
  • A few areas in Soda Crisis allows you to hop on and pilot forklifts, ramming them into enemies along the way. Though said forklifts usually aren't very durable and breaks down after less than a minute.
  • A goon driving a forklift appears in the warehouse stage early on in Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin.
  • Tomb Raider: Legend has one that's while not used in combat, still serves as a weapon of destruction, breaking a decorative crypt and later a wall.
  • Total Overdose and Chili Con Carnage allows you to use these as part of your killing spree combo.
  • Related to the toy example above, a couple of video games based on the Movie-universe Transformers (2007) had forklift Autobot and Decepticon drones as common, low-level enemies (or players!). Contrary to the lumbering but lethal image implied by their alternate modes, the forklift drones are actually weak but quick.
  • Warehouse And Logistics Simulator has a zombie mode called "Hell's Warehouse" which puts the player in the fork-lift seat as they attempt to escape a warehouse during a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 allows you to hack into and remotely drive forklifts. While they are too slow to be practical for directly attacking, they can be used to reposition explosives to take down enemies.
  • The first boss of Wild C.A.T.s (1995) commandeers a forklift, ramming it all over the area in an attempt to crush Spartan until he's defeated.
  • In Zombie Infection, the docks level's exit contains a zombified forklift operator trying to ram you with one carrying cement pipes in its front. You'll need to shoot the oil drums behind said forklift to blow up the operator and disable it.

    Web Original 
  • A forklift driving instructor won a Darwin Award when he killed himself with a forklift while filming a safety video on the dangers on not wearing a seatbelt. He was not wearing a seatbelt while filming.
  • The Game Grumps, while playing Forklift Simulator improvise a backstory of the forklift driver to the tune of background music. They have it so that the driver is on work release from prison and had killed his parents and brother with a forklift. The father was killed for "Backchat", the mom because because she was a witness and they drove to their brother's house and killed them for no reason. It even got a remix from Sbassbear.
    Arin: (singing) An efficient way of killing...
  • The Nostalgia Critic infamously missed an obvious opportunity to riff on the one in Barb Wire when he reviewed the film, because he kept calling the forklift a bulldozer. Douchey McNitpick did not let it go unnoticed in one of the Fuck-Ups videos.
  • SCP Foundation has SCP-708, a forklift that compels anyone who looks at it to drive it. If the driver has violent tendencies, they'll use the forklift as a weapon against anyone or anything they can see.

    Western Animation 
  • A mook from Batman: The Animated Series tried this on Batman in "P.O.V." It didn't work as Batman then used said forklift to puncture a hole into the bad guys fleeing ship.
  • In the Ben 10 episode "The Visitor", Gwen Tennyson used this against one of Vilgax's robot drones.
  • In Dan Vs. Gigundo Mart, Dan gets in a forklift-on-forklift fight with an old store greeter.
    Dan: Never mess with a guy with a forklift...
    Old Man: ...unless you got a bigger forklift.
  • The Family Guy episode "Peter Problems" features a scene where Peter stabs a beached whale with a forklift, and he spends over a minute trying to remove the whale from the forklift, eviscerating it in the process.
    Peter: You're whale-come.
  • In Generator Rex, Noah does this to Van Kleiss in order to save Rex.
  • In G.I. Joe: Renegades Duke slams into Major Bludd with a forklift. This being a family-friendly show, it doesn't impale him though.
  • Ron Stoppable does this to Drakken in an episode of Kim Possible, although it's to pin him up against a wall instead of actually trying to kill him.
  • An episode of King of the Hill has Dale attempt to kill Hank with a forklift after Hank proves to be a better basket-weaver than Dale.
  • In Metalocalypse, whether it's fatal was unclear, but Pickles accidentally impaled the new director on the set of Dethklok's Blood Ocean with a forklift when trying to park it. Unclear if a random one-off character died on Metalocalypse? That's why they exist.
  • Scooby-Doo, of all people... er, dogs, does it in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. (In case you're wondering, it's one of those It Makes Sense in Context things; the context in this case is the guy on the receiving end of the forklift tried to murder Scooby's friends.)
    Scooby-Doo: Play dead.
  • Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, directly parodying Aliens.

    Real Life 
  • It should be noted that this is Truth in Television, and these warning signs and such are there for a reason; forklifts are much heavier than they look and are dangerous pieces of heavy equipment. Also, any piece of machinery that can effortlessly lift a several-ton object ten feet up in the air will be powerful enough to casually tear many stationary objects apart.
    • A poorly handled forklift can also be very dangerous to the driver, as it is surprisingly easy to throw them off balance if they are underloaded or on uneven ground, causing them to tip and possibly crush the driver.
    • A poorly handled forklift can be very dangerous to everyone in the building!
  • Forklifts can be lethal when used improperly even if all obvious safety precautions are taken. American Airlines MacGyvered a cheaper way of lubricating DC-10 pylon ball bearings using a forklift to bear the weight of the engine. Unbeknownst to them, the forklift's innate instability caused cracks to form deep inside the pylon which eventually led to the crash of Flight 191 and the deaths of 271 crew and passengers and two people on the ground.note 
  • The English writer Cecil Woodham-Smith was once asked if she knew what a forklift was. She replied, "I do. To my cost."
  • This incident on Prince Edward Island in July 2011.
  • A discharged Navy veteran applied for a forklift job. He was told that he had to have a delicate touch, as he was handling glass, so what was his last cargo? "Nuclear warheads", he replied- and got the job.

Alternative Title(s): He Tried To Kill Me With A Forklift