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Off Bridge, onto Vehicle

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Our heroes/heroines are on the run, whether from the bad guys or misinformed agents of the law. They attempt to flee over a bridge or overpass, only to find that their pursuers have sealed the other end of it and are closing on them. They're cornered. What do they do? Surrender? Go down in a blaze of glory? Why no, they look off the bridge, spot an accommodating looking vehicle passing beneath it (depending on what's under the bridge, it could be a truck, train, boat, Soft Water or any number of other possibilities), and take a well-timed leap, landing safely on the back of it and escaping.

A very frequent type of stunt in action movies, it is sometimes subverted humorously by having the character Face Plant painfully on the ground beneath the bridge, or dramatically by having him or her only pretend to take such a leap or otherwise mislead pursuers into thinking he or she has done so (by, for example, throwing a cell phone or other piece of trackable electronic equipment onto the back of a passing vehicle). It's just as often played straight, however.

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Can (but doesn't have to) involve a No Escape but Down.

Variations:

  • Can involve a jump from any high place, including buildings, cliffs, etc.
  • Can involve falling off a high place instead of jumping.
  • Can be carried away by something other than a vehicle (e.g. a river).


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Just For Men hair coloring. A female neighbor asks to borrow some milk, which the guy doesn't have. He jumps out a window onto a truck passing by underneath.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Comical variation in Change 123: When one of the heroine's Split Personalities is about to start a fight, she suddenly jumps off the footbridge — not to escape, but because she had recklessly put away her purse onto the railing and later pushed it down with her elbow, so she has to jump down (onto a truck) to fetch it.
  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui". Jet and the girl jump off the top of a stone wall and land on a passing bus to avoid the two pursuing gunmen.
  • Zangulus tries this in one episode of Slayers when trying to capture Lina as she and her friends were rafting down a river. He mistimes the jump and splashes into the river before the raft passes under the bridge he jumped from.
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    Comic Books 
  • Blake and Mortimer: Olrik does it as he's being exchanged for a Soviet scientist, jumping off a bridge rather then going to the gulag. As he does it on the Soviet side of the border, the heroes declare it the Soviets' problem and leave.
  • The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones: In #5, Indy and his female companion are dangling off London Bridge by Indy's bullwhip, when Nazi agents arrive. They point guns at Indy and demand he hand over the MacGuffin. Indy says that his options are to agree or to loosen the whip and drop to almost certain death in the river. Then, to the Nazis' astonishment, he does just that. However, instead of hitting the water, he and his companion land on a garbage scow that is passing underneath.
  • Robin: When some car thieves pull onto a busy Gotham freeway Tim takes a shortcut to a bridge over it in his Redbird and then leaps down onto the truck they're driving.
  • Tintin did it twice in The Black Island. The first time, he failed.

    Films — Animation 
  • Bolt. Bolt jumps onto a train from a bridge, with reluctant prisoner Mittens and delusional fanboy Rhino in tow. Rhino reassures Mittens that he does it all the time in the "magic box", which is how she realizes that Bolt's just an actor in a TV show.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron. Captain America leaps from an overpass, onto a moving truck carrying Vision and Ultron. Cap and Ultron proceed to duke it out on top of the truck.
  • In Batman Returns, Batman knocks Catwoman of the roof of a building, only for her to escape when she lands in the back of a truck full of sand.
  • Played for Laughs in Better Off Dead. Lane Meyer, planning to do himself in by jumping off a bridge, is talked out of it by his friend Charles. Then Charles gives him a back-slap that sends him falling from the bridge into a garbage truck.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Butch and Sundance are forced to jump off a cliff to escape a pursuing posse: they land in a river and are carried away downstream.
  • In Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Cueball jumps from a footbridge on to the top of an (unmoving) freight train, and then to the ground to escape into the rail yards. Dick follows him.
  • The Firm. Mitch McDeere escapes from the big bads in his Firm by smashing his office window and plummeting onto a truck filled with bales of cotton.
  • The Fugitive (1993). In order to escape Deputy U.S. Marshal Gerard, Doctor Kimble does a Peter Pan off the side of a dam into the river below and is swept away by the current.
    • He does it in the 2000 TV series remake as well.
  • Hudson Hawk. While escaping from the Vatican, Eddie ends up on top of a light pole. He flips off of it and lands on a bus passing underneath him.
  • In Hunted (1952), the two fugitive heroes jump from a bridge onto a slow-moving train.
  • During the Le Parkour chase in The Man from Kangaroo, the mugger attempts to escape John by dropping off a bridge on to the roof of a doubledecker tram that is passing underneath. John follows by jumping into a much lower cart that is following the tram.
  • The Matrix Reloaded. Morpheus orders Trinity to get the Keymaker to safety, and she does so by jumping with him off the bridge and landing on a truck carrying motorcycles. Later on Morpheus is shown on top of a truck, implying that he did the same thing.
  • The Action Prologue in The Mechanic (2011) ends with the Professional Killer leaping off a bridge while a barge passes beneath. Rather than a desperate improvisation, it's all part of a meticulously planned contract killing. He manages to upstage this in the sequel, escaping pursuers by jumping off a cable car onto a hang glider which happened to be flying beneath!
  • In the scene that introduces him in Men in Black, James chases down a perp (actually an alien in disguise) who jumps off the elevated Park Avenue Viaduct onto 42nd Street, at least a 15-foot (4.5-meter) drop onto hard asphalt below without so much as a tweaked ankle. Instead of just watching the perp get away, James jumps down after said perp by waiting for a double-decker open-top tour bus full of Japanese Tourists to pass underneath the bridge before jumping on it and getting down that way to continue the chase.
    James: It'd be raining black people in New York!
  • In Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, Phryne and Shirin escape from the Palestinian police by jumping off the top of tunnel on to a train that is passing underneath.
  • In Salt, Evelyn Salt escapes from her pursuers by leaping off a highway overpass onto a truck.
  • In This Gun for Hire, Raven escapes the police at the rail yard by leaping off a rail bridge onto a moving train.
  • In Underworld: Awakening, Selene escapes the lab by jumping from a window onto a truck that's passing by below.
  • U.S. Marshals. Mark Sheridan jumps off the top of a building holding a rope, swings over and lands on top of a passing train.

    Literature 
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. In his Back Story Alexander escaped from the train taking him to The Gulag by jumping out while it was crossing a river 30 metres below. His chances of survival were so small the guards never even bothered stopping the train to look for him.
  • In the spy thriller The Man Who Was Saturday, the protagonist escapes pursuit by jumping off a bridge onto a passing barge. He breaks a leg on the landing, and it doesn't heal neatly, either.
  • In the third of the Rachel Peng Novels, Rachel just barely manages to keep Jordan from trying this when he's running from the cops—she knows that the real world doesn't work like the movies, and it would not end well for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To cure Angel from a poisoned arrow fired by rogue vampire slayer Faith, Buffy needs the blood of a Slayer. So Buffy and Faith fight to the death, but when it looks like Buffy will win, Faith throws her injured body off the building onto passing truck as a final Take That! to her rival.
  • In Day Break (2006), Hopper jumps from a footbridge onto a moving metro to escape his pursuers.
  • On Leverage team thief Parker does this when cornered by a security guard at a company they are infiltrating. She back flips off the balcony and hangs on below by her fingertips.
  • In the Person of Interest episode "Reasonable Doubt" the POI escapes Carter by jumping off a high-rise onto a dump truck full of garbage.
  • One idiot on World's Dumbest... attempts a stunt where he BASE-jumps from a bridge into a raft being pulled by a motorboat. He misses the raft and splashes into the river. (The commentators point out that he parachuted in the direction opposite to the boat, so even if he'd hit the raft, he wouldn't have stayed in. Had he gone in the same direction as the boat, he might've succeeded.)

    Music 
  • In the video for Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me", Shaggy directs Rik to jump off a bridge and onto a passing truck he's arranged to pass underneath in order to escape Rik's vengeful girlfriend on whom he has just been caught cheating.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VI does this with chocobos at one point when the party need to escape a castle that’s been set on fire.
  • Done in Final Fantasy VII with a train after the characters blow the mako generator up.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has the heroes jumping from the bridge to the Eisengraf train stationed at Roer in order to rescue Alisa's mom who is held hostage. Said train is also moving because the jaegers alerted everyone of intruders.
  • In Chapter 3 of The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, Lee and Omid are forced to jump from an overpass onto the train because of a oncoming herd of Walkers.

    Web Animation 
  • Dead Fantasy 5. Heavily wounded and surrounded by ninjas, Tifa jumps from the top of a building and lands on a passing train below.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius Dimo launches himself off the pitched roof of a three story train station onto the snowy roof of the caboose on a departing train.

    Western Animation 
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Episode 25, Boo-Boom does this in order to get onto the train that is carrying his parents to a prison camp, after the original plan to keep the train from departing fails.
  • Used by Bugs Bunny in the Anvilicious Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue when explaining that "My friends were doing it" is no excuse for getting into drugs; even if the others weren't being malicious, a bad idea is a bad idea.
  • Batman: The Animated Series; in the episode "The Clock King", the titular villain escapes from Batman in their first encounter by jumping from a bridge onto a passing train, which being a Schedule Fanatic he knew would pass under that bridge at that exact moment.
  • Wolf attempts to pull it off in an episode of Nu, Pogodi!, jumping off a bridge to land on his runaway motorcycle. He just barely misses.

Alternative Title(s): Overpass Escape, Jump Off A Bridge

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