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High-Speed Hijack

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Here's hoping the door's unlocked.

Boosting a car from a parking lot isn't that hard, when you get right down to it. You open the door, start the ignition, and as long as no one takes note of you, you can just drive off in your shiny new stolen wheels. If you've somehow managed to nab the keys to said car, then it's even easier. And as we all know, Rule of Drama dictates that easy things are boring.

You know what's cooler? Stealing a vehicle while someone's driving it, preferably at breakneck speed.

Depending on what kind of vehicle you're taking over, there are many ways you could pull off that stunt. A favorite of action movie heroes is to jump from one moving car to another (or from a motorcycle to a car, or a train to a car), taking down the driver (preferably by throwing him from the vehicle), and grabbing the wheel. For bonus points, let vehicles without drivers drift off, crash, and explode.

Don't let the limitations of your vehicle (or lack thereof) limit what you can steal. Jumping from one speedboat to another is child's play. Stealing a helicopter when you're on foot with nothing but a Grappling-Hook Pistol is better. Ramping a boat into the air and jumping from your flying boat into a helicopter? Awesome.

This trick has long been a staple of action movies of all types, and not just ones where gas-powered vehicles are common. Horse-jacking or carriage-jacking are fair game for action movie period pieces, and stealing a Phlebotinum-fueled Flying Car is remarkably similar to stealing a rolling one. Luckily for our would-be hijacker, their victim never has to worry about simple things like the door being locked.

Compare Take the Wheel, Outside Ride and Hood Hopping, which frequently precede a High Speed Hijack, and Sky Heist, where an aircraft is used to steal something without landing. In space it may be accomplished by means of a Boarding Party that may use Boarding Pods. And please, don't try this at home.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Berserker of Fate/Zero does this on a still-airborne F-15 Jet in order to engage a dogfight with Gilgamesh in his nuclear-powered Babylonian spaceship. And by hijacking, we mean "climbing on top of the jet and piloting it from there without even getting into the cockpit." His magic drastically enhances the jet's speed, causing the helpless pilot to be reduced to pulp from the G-forces.
  • Patlabor: The TV Series: The pilot episode sees Noa climb aboard a stolen Labor carrier from another vehicle to activate and rescue the AV-98 aboard—which will become her favored machine, Alphonse.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: At one point the Batmobile gets stolen while parked. When Batman and Robin in turn take the crook's car to follow it Tim starts crawling out the window in order to jack back the Batmobile mid chase. When Bruce tries to stop him Tim points out he's actually trained for this and wonders what the point was if he never gets to actually use his training, then successfully gets the Batmobile back.
  • In Jon Sable, Freelance #9, Sable jumps from his stolen motorcycle on to the back of the truck carrying the stolen nuke.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake tries jumping from one car onto a speeding stolen semi with the intent to steal it back at speed in order to minimize property damage. When the crook starts shooting at him while he's clinging to the outside of the cab he decides to disable the thing in order to bring the criminal in instead.
  • World's Finest (1941): In issue #159, as they are chasing the Anti-Batman's car, Batman asks Robin to take the steering wheel so that he can jump into their opponent car as soon as they get close enough. Before Batman can act, though, the Anti-Batman bumps his car against the Batmobile and off the road.

    Fan Works 
  • Eye of the Storm series: It's not moving particularly fast at the time, but Artoo does this to an AT-AT Walker during the battle for Tatooine in The Armor of Vader.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: During the Rainbow Road sequence, Mario's kart gets blown up by the Koopa General, forcing him to jump off it. He gets a hold of a Koopa Troopa riding a bike, and uses him to get near another whose kart he steals and continues to drive for a while.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Doc and Marty hijack a passenger train from horseback with the intent of using the locomotive to push the out-of-gas DeLorean to the requisite 88 mph.
    Engineer: Is this a holdup?
    Doc: ...It's a science experiment!
  • Joy does this to stop the truck getting away at the end of Bangkok Knockout: climbing along the top of the truck, and swinging through the cab window to knockout the driver, so she can bring the truck to a stop.
  • Bet Your Life: When Sonny steals a truck full of fuel drums, Joseph jumps on to the back, and then climbs across the top of the load before sticking his gun through the driver's window.
  • In Birds of Prey (2020), Harley wears roller skates and gets towed behind Huntress' motorbike before being launched onto a car full of mooks to wreak havoc. Shortly afterwards, they repeat the trick with Huntress using her bike to whip Harley forward to catch hold of Black Mask's Roll-Royce.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid jumps down from a nearby hill onto the top of a moving train, then runs along the top to the engine and makes the train crew stop it at gunpoint.
  • In Dead Again in Tombstone, Boomer's men capture the stagecoach by galloping up to it on horse, jumping aboard, and battling the stage crew.
  • In Derailed (2002), Jacques rides up alongside the train on a motorbike and leaps from the bike on to the train.
  • In Draw!, Holland jumps from his horse on to the runaway stagecoach in an effort to stop it.
  • In Fair Game, Ringo jumps from the Beast onto Jessica's ute, then clambers over the top and onto Sparks' truck while all three vehicles are in motion.
  • The Fast and the Furious:
    • A series of these is central to the plot of the original movie, which is why the LAPD sent O'Connor undercover. The very beginning of the movie was the target truck being loaded, followed by the heist - we don't know who or why yet, but a gang driving Civics with underglow use a grappling hook to get into and subdue the truck's driver. Towards the end, the Torettos are revealed to be behind the thefts when they try another, failing miserably thanks to a shotgun-toting target.
    • The fourth movie has Dom and crew separating tanker trailers from a truck, hitching up to them, and driving off. In the climactic chase of the film, Dom uses a more traditional High Speed Hijack against a Mook that has him boxed in. Unable to avoid crashing into a wall of explosives, he steals the Mook's car and continues the chase in it.
    • Fast Five one-ups that when the gang steal DEA-seized cars right off a train.
    • Although not a hijack, Fast & Furious 6's runway scene does this with an Antonov AN-220.
  • The Good, The Bad, The Weird: During the battle with the Japanese troops, Tae-goo leaps from his motorcycle into a jeep which he immediately commandeers. The soldier who jumps from the jeep to the motorcycle is less lucky, as the bike immediately crashes.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • James Bond has done a couple of these.
    • When he hijacks one of Sanchez's tankers in the climactic chase in Licence to Kill: He drops onto the back of the tanker from a light plane before climbing into the cab where he gets into a knife fight with the driver before finally forcing him out and taking control of the truck.
    • He escapes Colonel Moon's base in Die Another Day by leaping into one of the Mooks' hovercrafts. He leaps in just as it begins moving, but completes the hijack as the craft accelerates.
  • In Mad Max, Toecutter's gang are shown jumping onto the back of a fuel tanker as it's driving past and syphoning out the fuel.
  • The climax of Mission: Impossible – Fallout has Ethan hijack a helicopter in mid-flight to stop Walker from escaping with the detonator.
  • In Posse (1975), Nightingale jumps from his horse on to the front of the locomotive Strawhorn has hijacked.
  • The Sheriff leaps from his horse onto the killer's speeding wagon in The Rawhide Terror.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off.
  • Savaged: When Trey and his gang abducts Dane, Zoe jumps into the back of their speeding truck and gets in a fight with Wes.
  • In Speed, Jack must use this method to board a bus wired to explode if it drops below 50 mph. Interestingly, this was Plan B, after he fails to get on the bus before it reaches the crucial speed. Unlike most other examples, Jack is able to warn the driver about the bomb so the driver helps out as much as he can by keeping the door open and keeping the bus' speed constant to make it easier for Jack to get on board.
  • In Swashbuckler, Lynch and Nick hijack Major Folly's carriage by jumping on to the back of it, then climbing across the roof and throwing off the driver and guard. Then take control of the coach and drive it to the cove where their ship is waiting.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
    • One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 (the evil one) rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back of the pickup to the front of the tanker, shoots the T-1000 through the glass, grabs the wheel from the outside and makes it turn on its side and then rides the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop.
    • A bit earlier, the T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air.
  • In Thirteen Women, Sgt. Clive has to jump from the police car on to the running board of Laura's driverless limousine.
  • In The Tournament, Bogart leaps from an overpass onto the top of a moving bus, and then smashes through the back window to get inside and fight Lai Lai.
  • Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew. After using a ploy to slow it down, eight of Count Contini's men climb aboard a moving train, kill the guards and hijack its cargo: a billion dollars in gold.

  • More of "cruising speed" than "high speed", but honorable mention nonetheless to Voort saBinring's single-handed capture of the corvette Night Caller in Wraith Squadron. Trapped in an out-of-the-way system by mines, his allies hit on a brilliantly absurd plan for escape — by improvising a Boarding Pod, stuffing their biggest, toughest member inside with an X-Wing laser cannon for a gun, and launching it at the enemy's minelayer when it shows up. It works.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: Done during the flashback in "The Fallen". Oliver and Tatsu jump from a moving car on to an army truck. Olivier jumps into the back and deals with the soldiers there, while Tatsu climbs into the cab and throws out the driver.
  • Cannon: In "A Lonely Place to Die", Cannon attempts to escape from an ambush by commandeering an old pickup truck. One of the thugs jumps into the back of the truck, then clambers on to the step, throws out Cannon's passengers, climbs into the cab, and tries to kill Cannon: all while the truck is in motion.
  • Knight Rider. The episode "Inside Out" had Michael Knight go undercover with some criminals being trained for The Caper without being told what the target was. They had to succeed in several unusual tasks, which turned out to be what was needed to hijack a truck without stopping it.
  • Leverage: Parker attempts to rob an armoured car while it is motion in "The First David Job". It would have actually worked if Sterling hadn't known she was coming.

    Tabletop Games 
  • While not explicitly given rules in the sourcebook, lots of promotional art and related fiction for Eberron describes hijacking airships, or the Lightning Rail. It's also one of the encounters in the published adventure, "Voyage of the Golden Dragon".
  • This is covered under the Stunt rules for Feng Shui.

    Video Games 
  • The Assassin's Creed games, starting with Brotherhood, allow Horse-jacking, either when you're leaping from above or from a horse of your own. Cart-jacking is done too, in a few sequences.
  • Possible, if VERY difficult, in Battlefield. You can hijack enemy aircraft by jumping out from your own jet, shooting the pilot in the head and then enter the enemy jet mid-air. Notable due to not being a trick intended by it's creators, unlike most video-game examples.
  • The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II mission "Violence and Timing" focuses heavily on this after the first half, where you fall out of a chopper and are required to take control of the nearest vehicle to continue chasing down a kidnapped ally.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, while being chased on horseback by lesser werewolves riding hulking wargs, Gabriel can leap from his horse onto the back of the warg, kill first the rider, then its mount, and then leap right back onto his horse without missing a beat.
  • Among other additions of Far Cry 4, one of the available takedowns that the player can purchase is the "vehicular takedown", which is this. One DLC mission revolving around Hurk and a truck with a bomb that will trigger if it slows down too much outright requires you to use this to take control of the truck without detonating it. Another story mission has a unique animation for if you manage it on what turns out to be Pagan Min's body double.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas tried experimenting with the new engine to create some unusual hijacks. The first Mike Toreno mission involved speeding alongside a fuel truck so your sidekick, Caesar, can leap into the cab and yank out the driver. Ouch. A later mission involves flying beside a private jet and then bailing out of the plane, whereupon CJ grabs hold of the entry hatch and hijacks the jet in mid-air.
    • During the Grand Theft Auto IV mission "Truck Hustle", Niko hops onto the back of a truck and climbs along the roof to the front to get rid of the driver while it's moving.
    • Trevor in Grand Theft Auto V is a big fan of this maneuver. During one mission he hijacks a cargo plane mid-flight by flying a crop duster into the rear door and killing the guards inside, and in another he ramps a dirt bike onto a freight train, rides along the cars to the engine, and incapacitates the conductor.
  • This is possible in the Halo series starting in the second game. Enemies can hijack your vehicles in single-player, and there's a medal for doing it to another player during a multiplayer game. If the vehicle is moving at speed, you do have to be careful not to get run over attempting this. Spartan-IIs can also hijack enemy vehicles in Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2.
  • Just Cause runs wild with this, because Rico's Grappling-Hook Pistol lets him get onto pretty much any vehicle with ease and then steal it with equal ease. Stealing helicopters is a favorite trick for many players, partly because it's less dangerous than trying to fight them from the ground and partly for the many benefits of having a flying gunship.
  • Mercenaries 2: World in Flames gives a how-to demonstration for beginners. Don't think you're limited to jumping onto the backs of trucks though — it's certainly possible to do the same to attack helicopters in the air.
  • Par for the course in [PROTOTYPE]. Once Alex Mercer eats enough tankers and pilots he gains their skills in driving tanks and flying helicopters, whereupon he can fling himself at high speed onto a tank or a helicopter even if they're in the middle of traveling by or attacking him, instantly and gruesomely consume everyone inside, and then turn the vehicle on its former owners.
  • Pursuit Force and its sequel, Extreme Justice, allow you to leap speeding cars or boats (whether those vehicle belongs to gang members or ordinary citizens) and take over. When jacking a car belonging to the gang members, you have to shoot and kill every last gang member as they try to shoot you out of their car. You could jack motorcycles and if it belongs to a gang member, you push the original driver out of the bike without too much resistance.
  • This is a bonus-point granting activity in Saints Row: The Third.
  • Action Hijacking is an oft-used mechanic in Sleeping Dogs (2012). Wei Shen can jump from his vehicle (except scooters) to any other 4-wheeled vehicle that's on the driver's side and moving in the same general direction. After about the one-thirds point of the game, there's a recurring quick-money sidequest where you steal armored vans and deliver them to a garage which can only be carried out through Action Hijacking, as the vans never stop moving.
  • The Uncharted series features this in their signature convoy chase scenes, starting with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End adds a grappling hook into the mix, allowing Nate to drag behind a larger enemy truck without missing a beat in the action.
  • Boarding operations to capture enemy ships in the X-Universe series typically take place while the other ship is not only still maneuvering, but still shooting as well; it's important to fire decoy missiles to prevent them from attacking your Boarding Pods or spacewalking mercenaries.

    Western Animation 
  • Fillmore!: At the start of "Codename: Electric Haircut", Fillmore jumps from his skateboard on to the back of a stolen bank of lockers that are being towed by a golf cart before clambering over the lockers into the golf cart to fight the driver.
  • Kim Possible: In "Car Alarm", Kim jumps from her car onto a stolen rocket Motor Ed has converted into a drag racer.

    Real Life 
  • Frigatebirds and skuas acquire many of their meals by diving full-speed at smaller seabirds to force them to drop their catch, then scooping up the dropped fish before it can fall back into the water.
  • This was commonplace in Age of Sail maritime warfare. It helped that the speeds involved were very much slower than with most instances of this trope.


Video Example(s):


Jedi stole my bike!

Leia gets her speeder bike up next to a scout trooper so Luke, riding second seat, can hop to the other bike and throw the unfortunate mook off.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HighSpeedHijack

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