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Low-Speed Chase

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"Put your helmet on, we'll be reaching speeds of three!"

The High Speed Chase Scene has been a staple of action movies for decades, and the most obvious way to parody it is to remove the "high speed" part, and have the action take place below 5mph.

With that simple change, all the usual staples — the Sheet of Glass, the Lemming Cops, the Wronski Feint — become ridiculous, while tropes like Slo-Mo Big Air and Every Car Is a Pinto become downright surreal. Expect heaping helpings of Overly Long Gags as characters desperately brace for an impact that's a long time coming. Relies heavily on Mundane Made Awesome, and usually an Unconventional Vehicle Chase.

While it might be hard to believe, a dramatic variant also exists. Just make the pursuer a terrifying Implacable Man with an Ominous Walk and the pursued a broken wreck trying to crawl away from a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Or make the two persons extremely injured or tired, as a variation of Combat Breakdown. This has to be done carefully, or it can easily slip into Narm territory.

Note that Slow Motion chases don't count — the characters should actually be traveling at that speed. Also see Slower Than a Snail.


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  • The commercial for Mario Kart DS shows a pair of old women in a golf cart at an airport being chased by airport security in another golf cart.
  • A commercial for winter tires once featured cops trying to chase a pair of thieves in a snowstorm so thick that both vehicles are unable to move... and the guy in each passenger seat is trying to get the vehicle moving with a push.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Scorpiomon (who had just eaten, and is not in the greatest shape in the first place) chasing Joe, Mimi, Palmon, and Gomamon (who are all exhausted) in Digimon Adventure.
  • In Pokémon: The Original Series, Team Rocket steal Whitney's Clefairy and flee to the station only to find that the trains aren't running. They attempt to escape by pumping a manual cart, but it is so slow a bewildered-looking Pikachu is able to stroll along beside them.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Jolyne and her companions chase down a being known as the Green Baby. The baby is going at a crawl, so it should be no trouble for the heroes to catch, but it has the ability to shrink anything that approaches it. The closer one gets, the more they shrink, thus increasing the distance they have to go and making it impossible to catch the baby.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix and the Golden Sickle: Asterix and Obelix are chasing an ox cart on a Roman highway, but since the cart goes at a leisurely walking pace, they easily catch up with it. Yet the ironic caption for the panel is "And the breathtaking chase begins!" Obelix stops the cart by dovetailing it and stopping in front of it, which obviously is not impressive at all when done at 5 MPH.
  • Used in a story of Cattivik: Our anti-hero is chased by a stubborn carabiniere and the fast chase slowly declines to a walking pace, then to an agonizing crawl.

    Fan Works 
  • In Tealove's Steamy Adventure, Tealove and Minty flee in a hot-air balloon, while Baron Zeppeli pursues them in a zeppelin (made of lead). Neither is particularly fast, but Zeppeli's airship is slightly less slow. Tealove and Minty escape by transforming their balloon basket into a glider.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Boss Baby, a confrontation between the title character and Tim over a tape toys with this at one point. BB has the tape and is barreling through the backyard at a clearly apparent high speed in a toy police car, as Tim clings to the back of the car for dear life. The scene then cuts to their parents in the kitchen, showing the same events from their point of view: BB moseying in his toy car at a snail's pace (as is expected of an infant toy) while Tim is being dragged along lifelessly.
  • At the end of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, when the Krabby Patty formula has been recovered and Plankton takes it upon himself to maintain the status quo by attempting to get a Krabby Patty from SpongeBob with a Gary robot, the real Gary slowly chases him out the door.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Alan, Pat and Michael lead the police on a low-speed chase in the mobile studio, broadcasting traffic information about the low-speed chase while they do so.
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! features a car chase between two clunkers that are so slow that Mason Dixon finally catches the guy he's chasing by getting out of his car and running the other one down on foot.
  • In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin and Vanessa make their escape in a steamroller. Made extra ridiculous when a guard standing about fifty feet away from them stands right in their path for about thirty seconds, repeatedly screaming "NOOOOOOOOOO!" as they very slowly approach and eventually flatten him.
  • Bank Shot: When Ballentine breaks out of prison in a 50-ton scraper, Streiger chases after him in a golf cart.
  • In Beware of the Car, the Lovable Rogue protagonist is fleeing in his car from a motorcycle cop when he enters a school zone with a very low speed limit. He is a criminal, but he also loves kids, and therefore slows down. Fortunately for him, the cop also loves kids. For a minute, they are moving at a snail's pace while school kids run around them in circles and a bicycle (not subject to the same regulations as motor vehicles) speeds by. For some reason, the cop does not think to stop his motorcycle and just walk toward the criminal.
  • Blades of Glory boasted a hilarious chase scene between one of the protagonists and antagonists which happens while they're both wearing ice skates — on pavement.
  • Cockneys vs. Zombies has a scene where an elderly man with a Zimmerframe is chased by a shambling zombie.
  • Invoked in Deadpool (2016) when Deadpool cripples one of the Big Bad's associates on a hockey rink and chases him down on a Zamboni to make the whole thing as comedically sociopathic as possible. It even switches camera angles to reveal that instead of being right on top of the doomed minion, as it originally seemed, Deadpool and the Zamboni are still halfway across the rink from him.
  • Something similar to the Austin Powers example happens in the slow-speed climax of A Fish Called Wanda, when Otto is trapped in cement and is unable to run away from Ken, gradually approaching in a steamroller.
  • Several examples in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Most take place inside the titular hotel, perhaps justified by the decorum and elegance imposed by the hotel. Most notably, the film's climax involves an extended sequence in which Agatha retrieves the painting, is pursued by Dmitri, and both are pursued by Zero and Gustave, nearly all at walking speed. The sequence includes a sequence in which the pursuer and pursued ride an elevator together in complete silence, before resuming the chase after they leave.
  • In Headhunters, Roger escapes from the cabin by stealing a farmer's old tractor. He thinks he is being chased by Clas in an SUV and starts swerving across the road to stop the SUV from passing him and winds up crashing. Then it turns out it wasn't Clas at all, but just a neighbour driving a similar vehicle.
  • The Heat has the overweight, out-of-breath and possibly slightly concussed Sgt. Mullins pursuing a drug dealer whose groin she just pulverised by yanking him down onto the fence he was trying to clamber over, both of them shambling and groaning. She eventually catches him up by throwing a watermelon at his back, knocking him down.
  • It Follows: The titular being is a Humanoid Abomination Implacable Man that relentlessly follows whoever currently carries its curse (which can be passed on through sex like an STD). It can't move faster than a walking pace, but other than that, there is nothing that can stop it or even slow it down, as it seems to be indestructible and will just move right past any walls or anything else in its way. And if it catches you, it kills you.
  • Jail Bait features a car chase at about 20 MPH, possibly because Ed Wood couldn't afford stunt drivers or insurance.
  • In Jeepers Creepers 2, a student injured by a vehicle crash is pursued through an open field by the Creeper, who's been mangled by the same crash. Played with in that, although reduced to one leg and one arm, hence a lot slower than usual, the creature still manages to bound after its belly-crawling prey.
  • Downplayed but just as played for laughs as any other example in Knives Out, where Marta and Ransom end up in a car chase against the police that exceeds the speed limit... at best. The car only manages to reach 60 miles per hour while flooring it while the police are booking it at 80 miles per hour, and at one point, the driver resorts to braking hard so they shoot ahead as they try to turn away. When they do end up caught, one of the officers laments "That... was the dumbest car chase of all time."
  • The stair lift chase in Neues vom Wixxer. It even ends in an Every Stairlift is a Pinto moment.
  • In OSS 117: Lost in Rio, the hero finds the Nazi bad guy in a hospital, as both are injured (the hero is tethered to a transfusion rig which he also uses as a walking stick). Cue very slow pursuit with the appropriate chase music.
  • A dramatic example in Snake Eyes. A badly beaten Santoro staggers through the building to try and find the witness his former friend Dunne is hoping to kill. Dunne, knowing Santoro will lead him right to the witness and that Santoro won't even consider that someone might be following him due to being in a semi-conscious state, simply walks calmly after him.
  • Soultaker features the on-foot variant: the titular character menacingly keeps up with the fleeing protagonists despite the fact that they're running for their lives down a highway and he's following them ominously at a steady, but implacable, walking pace.
  • In Space Mutiny, the final chase is down an inside corridor between what looks like a handful of modified baggage carts. It's hard to look action-packed when it's pretty clear that any of the actors could get out on foot and run laps around the pursuers and pursued. The climactic showdown between the hero and villain ends with a chase in said carts, which is as undignified as one would imagine.
  • The chase between the Resistance fleet and the pursuing First Order ships in The Last Jedi is often described as this, usually mockingly. The Resistance ships don't jump to hyperspace due to the First Order tracking them, and so have to continuously keep ahead of the First Order while slowly burning their fuel. Most of the movie involves the protagonists trying to find some way to break the stalemate.
  • The Terminator series and spinoffs use the implacable man variant, with a damaged Terminator pursuing an injured human, especially in the climax of the first movie.
  • Undercover Brother: The title character and Sista Girl are chased by security guards on a golf course — with both groups driving electric golf carts.
  • One chase scene in The Way of the Gun was so slow that the henchmen following the crooks who just kidnapped the pregnant lady were pushing the car along with their feet.
  • Dramatic variant in We Own The Night, where the heroes are simply in the middle of a commute when the bad guys pull up alongside them and start shooting. The ensuing chase is in pouring rain in mid-day traffic, through crowded and winding city roads.
  • In Year One, after having killed Abel, Cain flees in a very slow ox-drawn cart, pursued by another slow oxcart. People walking pass them.

  • Discworld: The whole concept behind having Mr Pump the Golem as Moist's parole officer in Going Postal. Yes, a Golem doesn't move very fast... but he can magically pinpoint the exact location of his quarry, and more importantly, never grow tired, hungry or bored. It doesn't really matter how far away an escapee can go by walking or riding a horse in a day, he'll inevitably have to stop to eat and sleep. The Golem doesn't, and by walking non-stop for 24 hours every day, will catch up sooner or later. Even putting an ocean between a Golem and his quarry isn't going to stop him, since a Golem can easily keep walking on the bottom of the sea.
  • The sixth Longmire novel, Junkyard Dogs, has a sort-of-dramatic-sort-of-not example at its climax, between a rather banged-up Sheriff Walt, on foot, and a huge tow truck stuck in first gear.
  • Dramatic example: Patricia Highsmith's short story "The Quest for Blank Claveringi" has a scientist stuck on an island with two giant man-eating snails. They're not much faster than normal snails, and so aren't much of a threat... unless you're an out-of-shape scientist on a tiny island with barely anywhere to hide. And then he breaks his leg.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of 7th Heaven, Simon, a new driver, gets into a low-speed car chase aided by his grandfather who has dementia but who is supposed to be helping him learn to drive.
  • Angie Tribeca: Geils and Tanner are chasing a murderer on a golf course. Naturally, they have to play an entire round of golf in the process, which includes waiting for some old ladies who take forever at every single hole.
  • In Chuck, the title character gets his leg hurt. The mark he is pursuing in one episode got his leg shot by accident.
  • In Detectorists, Lance and Andy are racing their Sitcom Arch-Nemesis to a field through narrow country lanes. The chase never exceeds 20mph, there's a dramatic gear shift from first to second and both parties use their indicators to signal they're not going to be driving through that big puddle.
  • There are a few occasions of this in Doctor Who, usually due to Special Effects Failure.
    • "Day of the Daleks" features a motorized tricycle on which the Doctor and Jo attempt to escape from the Ogrons (because Jon Pertwee had thought the tricycle was cool) — which, again, doesn't appear to go notably faster than walking speed.
    • "Warriors of the Deep" features the Myrka, which was unfortunately unfinished; as a result, it can barely move, and so characters can't really "run" away from it.
    • In "The Happiness Patrol", the eponymous patrol are mounted on go-karts that do not seem to travel much faster than walking pace. The Doctor and Ace steal one to flee on.
    • This can happen in the modern series too. In "The Unicorn and the Wasp" we get a rather slow car chase, but it's justified because the episode takes place in the 1920s.
    • Done deliberately and non-comically in "Heaven Sent". The Veil doesn't move fast, but the Doctor can only run so far, can't hide from it, and it never stops coming. He works out that if he lures it to one side of the castle and runs to the other, he can have about 40 minutes to eat and sleep — given Time Lord physiology, this seems to be enough, but he can never forget it's coming for him.
  • In the Father Ted episode "Speed 3", Father Dougal is trapped on a milk float that will explode if the speed drops below four miles an hour. Among other chase tropes, includes a scene where the float is heading straight towards a huge pile of cardboard boxes, and Ted has to move them out of the way... one by one.
  • Done comedically in the Hale and Pace sketch "Moscow Vice", in which the car chase is low-speed because the cars won't start and have to be pushed.
  • Jonathan Creek: In "The Seer of the Sands", Jonathan and Carla run after a gypsy caravan being pulled by a horse. Although the caravan is moving at no more than a walking pace, they fail to catch it: they efforts being by the fact that their heads are glued together.
  • Justified's "Blaze of Glory" ends on one of these, between a U.S. Marshall with a bum knee and an old man dying of emphysema. The latter has taken off his oxygen tank, both because it's slowing him down and he's entertaining death as an option, and the Marshall is trying to get it back to him.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Reese's first driving lesson turns into an Escalating Chase, eventually culminating in his leading the whole thing through the test course and passing with flying colors.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The B-plot of "Murdoch Takes Manhattan" culminates in one of these. Constable Crabtree tries to make an arrest and finds himself ordered at gunpoint to drive a kidnapper and his victim. Dr. Grace, Inspector Brackenreid and Constable Jackson take another car to pursue them, and at one point, Brackenreid orders Jackson to bail out so they can go faster and catch up. It's justified by the technological limits of the period cars.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 does this a lot, as it seems that many low-budget movies didn't have the budget or influence to get permission to cordon off roads or exceed the speed limit. For an example specific to the show rather than the movies, in the episode "The Atomic Brain", there's a moment when the doddering old woman who serves as the film's antagonist sets off after a pair of young girls. Servo quips "Oh, this is going to be some chase scene."
  • NCIS: Los Angeles has Callen and Sam chasing a rather fat Mexican cartel member at all of two mph.
  • Happens on Seinfeld when George gets a scooter-chair. The show's climax features him slowly driving down the street, being chased by a group of old folks who are also on scooter-chairs.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "The Rascal Cook", the killer flees from Frank and Lou by jumping into a swan pedal boat and pedaling out on to the Avon River. Frank and Lou commandeer another pedal boat and pursue.
  • Shown a few times on World's Dumbest..., with the futility of doing so Lampshaded each time.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for the Goldie Lookin Chain song "Guns Don't Kill People Rappers Do" the group ride around on mobility scooters (top speed around 8mph) while the police give chase in a golf cart (top speed around 15mph).

  • An episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme features the tale of a deadly tortoise stampede:
    Margaret: Run! Run for our lives and quickly! We haven't a fortnight to lose!
    John: And so we took to our heels! But it was all in vain. After five or six months we could hear them gaining slowly and steadily upon us...

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed III, this is how Connor and the Big Bad's confrontation ends, because it took place in a burning shipyard and Connor got impaled by falling rubble, while he shot the villain mid-gloat, meaning the two are crawling and limping their way through.
  • In Deep Sleep Trilogy, the monsters typically come at you fairly slowly while menacing music plays on the background.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a dramatic scene where a child is kidnapped by three octogenarians. The child's adopted parents immediately start lamenting their loss; the Only Sane Man points out that the kidnappers are still in sight and moving at the pace of an Adamantoise (basically a tortoise the size of an elephant). The kidnappers are intercepted a few hundred feet down the road when one of them needs to take a bathroom break.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, when fighting a spooky mummy, the narrative remarks that your character never found mummies to be particularly scary, since you can escape them by walking slightly faster.
  • In LEGO City Undercover Chief Dunby reveals at the briefing at the beginning of the game that the dangerous and high-profile criminal Rex Fury tried to escape using a lawnmower as a getaway car. The scene shows that said lawnmower was travelling around walking speed and held up the highway while there were cops using cars to try and apprehend him.
  • No One Lives Forever 2 features one on the streets of Calcutta with a mime on a unicycle being pursued by Cate piggybacking on Magnus Armstrong riding a child's tricycle.

  • The Dumbing of Age story "To Remind You of My Love" features a chase on rented electric scooters. Faster than walking, but once Mike has a head-start (because Blaine had to download the app before he could hire one) he points out that the set maximum speed means it's literally impossible for Blaine to catch up with him.
  • The Sluggy Freelance story "Girls' Night Out" features a chase on "Smegway" personal transporters, which a human could easily outrun.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Burden", the six-year-old school hamster Chris Morris is so slow that when Darwin and Gumball try to chase him, they keep running past him until they try going "90s internet slow".
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Legends of the Mall", Gene and Louise go joy-riding on animal-shaped electric carts called Ani-malls. Gene's Ani-mall gets its throttle stuck, and Louise tries to stop him as he goes careening through the mall... at about five miles per hour.
  • Bojack Horseman: After Bojack causes an explosion in a taffy factory, he attempts to run away from security guards... but all of them, and the floor, are covered in quickly setting sugar.
  • In an episode of The Cleveland Show set in New York, Cleveland orders a taxi driver to chase after another taxi driver. However, being New York, there's so much traffic that Cleveland could have caught up to the driver by walking.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Timmy is trying to outrun his mind-controlled friends, who are trying to capture and brainwash him. However, their scooters are set to a mere 2 mph — any faster would mean they would spill their milk (the source of the mind control).
  • Family Guy has a variation in an episode when Peter blows up his hand through reckless use of fireworks, and one of his severed fingers lands in Herbert's yard. Peter tries to retrieve the finger but gets hit by a car as he crosses the road, Joe tries to assist him but falls out of his wheelchair, and Herbert's dog Jesse (whose back legs are paralyzed) sees the severed finger and decides he wants to eat it, leading to a scene of all three of them slowly crawling towards the finger and trying to be the first to reach it.
  • In Futurama, there's a chase scene at the Central Bureaucracy on "slowmobiles", hover-scooters that travel at slightly less than walking pace.
  • In one episode of League of Super Evil, the team is running away in their golf cart from a guy on a Segway: very slowly.
  • The Littlest Pet Shop episode "Heart of Parkness" has a pursuit down a park's creek where both parties are in rubber-ducky swan paddleboats. The people getting pursued never even notice there's someone on their tail.
  • Looney Tunes: In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Water, Water Every Hare", Bugs is being chased by a Mad Scientist when a large jar of ether breaks. They go through the vapors and start running and talking in slow-motion. For extra humor, the chase is scored by a very slow version of "William Tell Overture".
  • The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show has Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, inventor of the first car, driving like crazy and being chased down by police on horseback in what is described as a "relatively high-speed chase".
    Sherman: He's going at least 16 miles an hour! How are we gonna catch him Mr. Peabody??
  • In Rick and Morty, the family watches an alternate reality version of Jerry, drugged up and in his underwear, fleeing the police in a golf cart.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • One sketch features a baby Terminator and robot dog battling it out in an epic low-speed chase using children's toy cars.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", Sideshow Bob tries to make an escape in the Wright Brothers' plane. Jets are sent after him, but are physically incapable of flying slow enough to not zoom right past him. The pilots then try to walk after him with nets.
    • In "I Love Lisa", Chief Wiggum chasing the duck who took his badge.
    • Pictured above, "The Springfield Files" has Grandpa Simpson chasing a tortoise that has his false teeth. And losing.
    • Homer and Bart fleeing an angry mob in a parade float that tops out at 5 m.p.h. in "Bart's Inner Child".
      Principal Skinner: Damn...they're very slowly getting away!
    • Homer and Jasper's wheelchair race in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons". Unlike most examples of this trope, it is shot to appear as a high speed chase... only for Homer to jump out of the chair and jog to the dining room.
    • After setting off a huge sonic bomb in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", Bart is sent to the garage while his punishment is debated. As the adults are talking, Bart is seen in the background stealing a riding mower. A moment later, he is seen being chased by several police cars matching the mower's slow pace.
  • South Park:
    • Kenny and Cartman get into an extremely slow version of the O.J. Simpson police chase in a battery-powered toy car. The battery dies right before they get to the border, and the pursuing cop cars naturally all slam into it at high speeds.
    • "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" has the boys tying to outrun the onset of killer boredom on a 4 mile-an-hour boat.
    • There's a tricycle race of appropriate speed between Eric and Kyle in "Cartoon Wars". A police car somehow loses control trying to keep up.
  • Taz-Mania: In "Return of the Road to Taz-Mania Strikes Back" Hugh, Drew and Taz get involved in a golf buggy chase. At one point Jean, who is on foot, overtakes them to remind them that they still need to buy orange juice.
  • In an episode of Time Warp Trio, both the good guys and the pursuing bad guys are unwilling to run in a church, leading to this.
  • Thomas & Friends: The race between Stephen and Glynn, two of the oldest engines on Sodor, in "Over the Hill". Since Stephen at least has a maximum speed of under 30 mph, they hog two tracks on the main line and make Gordon and James very late.
  • The Viva Pińata cartoon had a chase on really slow-moving forklifts.

    Real Life 
  • When someone hears the term "low-speed chase", 99% of the time the first image that comes to mind is O. J. Simpson in a white Ford Bronco cruising down the 405 with about 20 police cars following behind. If it isn't the Trope Namer, it is definitely the event that brought the Low-Speed Chase into popular consciousness.
  • In Fort Worth, Texas, police chased a methamphetamine ("speed") dealer at a snail's pace for over two hours since police there are not allowed to pass and block escaping vehicles. Then he slammed on the gas and a squad car rammed him.
  • Don't interrupt a giant tortoise who's about to mate with a female. They'll get angry and chase you down... slowly.
  • In April 2021, police in Leicester, UK, pursued a man in a narrowboat down the Grand Union Canal for eight miles, finally catching him when he was forced to stop at a lock. The boat's top speed was 4mph.
  • Dinosaur hunts were believed to have been this, as most large dinosaurs probably couldn't maintain high speeds. For example, fossilized tracks found in Texas that show a large therapod pursuing a sauropod. Based on the stride length, the chaser is estimated to have been running at about five to six miles per hour.


Video Example(s):


Go-Go Bronco

In a parody of the infamous O.J car chase, Cartman attempts to escape to Mexico in Kenny's "Go-Go Bronco" toy car.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / LowSpeedChase

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