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Strapped to a Rocket

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The Damsel in Distress (or Distressed Dude) is in the clutches of the Evil Villain. Now to dispose of them. A classic way is to strap them to a rocket just before shooting them off.

This, like most death traps, piles on the drama and allows the hero to escape just in the nick of time.

Sister Trope to Strapped to a Bomb; the two can occasionally overlap. A favorite of evil mad scientists everywhere. Compare Rocket Ride and Riding the Bomb.


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    Comic Books 
  • This how Captain America's sidekick Bucky "dies" in the Marvel Universe (the first time).
  • The Human Torch ended up glued to a missile (that launched) during his first battle against Paste-Pot Pete in Strange Tales #104.
  • Hunter's Hellcats: In Our Fighting Forces #120, the Hellcats have to rescue a group of captured Italian partisans whom the Nazis have chained to a missile that is about to launch.
  • Notoriously used on the cover of Wonder Woman #205, with copious sexual innuendo in the pose.
  • In Wonder Woman (1942) #24 Wondy was strapped to a torpedo alongside another woman by some men trying to find treasure in a sunken ship.

    Fan Works  

    Film — Animation 
  • In the climax of Despicable Me 2, El Macho straps Lucy (Gru's colleague and love interest) to a rocket which is also laden with explosives (and a shark) which he plans to fire into a volcano.
  • In Toy Story, Sid duct-tapes Buzz to a large firework, intending to launch him into the air to explode. Woody and Buzz eventually use the rocket to catch up to Andy's minivan.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Captain America (1990), the Red Skull ties Captain America to a rocket and launches it towards the White House. Captain America kicks the flaps on it, redirecting it to Alaska.
  • District 13: Taha makes sure to tie Leito's sister Lola (whom he had already kept as a catatonic slave for about a year) to the nuclear missile he stole before shooting it at the Paris city centre.
  • General Rancor's eventual fate in Spy Hard.


    Live Action TV 

    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Genius: The Transgression, there's a short snippet of one genius tying another to a rocket. The twist is, along with the rocket not having enough fuel, there are a number of other things wrong with it, and the genius strapped to the rocket is expected to fix those issues mid-flight if he doesn't want to go 'splat'.

    Video Games 
  • Evil Genius: The only way to permanently defeat John Steele, the S.A.B.R.E. super agent, is to have him in a holding cell when you push the Big Red Button to finish the game's climactic final mission where the titular Evil Genius is launching their Doomsday Device and the world's agencies pour an endless number of special agents unto the player's island in attempt to thwart your evil schemes. It does not end well for Steele... or the world. Pushing the button ends the game with your victory, regardless of where Steele may be at the time, so this is a pure Bragging Rights Reward.
    • Amazingly, the sequel reveals that Steele actually survived this and went into hiding. He is only truly defeated if you are playing as his former colleague, Emma, who tracks him down and kills him for good.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, this is how the masked thief tries to get rid of the protopet.
  • In the final mission of Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, Charlie Brown is strapped to a missile.
  • In Heihachi's Tekken 5 ending, this is how he disposes of Jin, Kazuya, and Jinpachi. This later became Heihachi's Level 3 super in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom allows Link to do this to stranded Koroks, as one possible method of reuniting them with their traveling partners. Whether it counts as Video Game Caring Potential or Video Game Cruelty Potential depends on the player’s accuracy.
  • This is the cat's objective in Tom and Jerry Chase, to tie the mice to rockets found all over the map and dispatch them when the rockets blast off, with the cat winning if it manages to dispatch 3 of them.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman and Steve Trevor are chained to rockets by Baroness Paula Von Gunther in the teaser to the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Scorn of the Star Sapphire!"
  • Tex Avery's Billy Boy is about a goat who literally eats everything in front of him. His owner straps the goat to a big firework rocket which goes all the way to the moon — then he watches the moon getting munched out of existence.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: This happens to Muriel near the end of "The Precious, Wonderful, Adorable, Lovable Duckling". After too many of his attempts to kill Muriel are thwarted by Courage, the titular duckling straps her to a rocket about to be launched off to the moon. While the Duckling is busy maintaining the rocket, he accidentally closes the hood latch on his wing, causing him to get stuck. Courage manages to free Muriel shortly after the Duckling gets stuck, and then tries to free said Duckling despite all the trouble he caused. However, Eustace is alerted by the Duckling's cries for help and pushes Courage out of the way to try to free the duckling himself, but in doing so, both he and the duckling are sent blasting off.
    Duckling: (giving Eustace a foot massage on the moon) This didn't work out so badly after all, did it?
  • Freakazoid! is brought to Relax-o-Vision including how the Lobe does this to Steph, bothering whatever bad happenings and Lobe is later taught a lesson. Steph mentioned the same clutch to Lobe and threatening to maul him if he continues.
  • In the opening of Goldie Gold and Action Jack, Goldie is shown strapped to a rocket in one of the clips.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Thromnambular grants the 8th wish to Mindy by letting this happen and misunderstanding what she meant about being famous.
  • Mad Scientist Doctor Strangemoon has built a rocket which will carry a capsule that can attract fiery comets toward the Earth in the Josie and the Pussycats cartoon "Strangemoon Over Miami." Believing the Pussy Cats are spies, Strangemoon captures them, and stows Melody, Alexander and Alexandra aboard the capsule. The rocket is then launched successfully.
  • When the Loonatics Unleashed launched missiles against three of Black Velvet's fighter craft, the fighters broke off their attack and returned to the Airborne Aircraft Carrier. Knowing that Tech Coyote had been taken there earlier, the Loonatics had to destroy their own missiles, because the "genius" coyote never put a destruct mechanism in them. Rev Runner takes out one and Lexi Bunny blasts another. Danger Duck teleports onto the third, rips off a service panel, and starts yanking wires. Duck gets pulled off the missile moments before it explodes.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Bye, Bye Bluebeard", Porky Pig is tied to a rocket by the title character.
  • The Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) episode "Terror of the Seven Seas" had Mega Man tied to a torpedo and launched at the ship Dr. Light was on.
  • In Metalocalypse, the Dethklok band is offered to perform at a mass inmate execution. They couldn't refuse after being told they get to choose the method. Their choice: getting strapped to a rocket and exploding hundreds of meters in the sky, creating fireworks. Some of the prisoners are even glad to be part of such a "metal" way to go.
  • Doofenshmirtz straps Perry to a giant firework rocket in the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together!". Given Doof's Butt-Monkey status, it's no surprise that a few minutes later, Doof has ended up Hoist by His Own Petard.
    Johnny: Hey, is that your dad tied to a rocket?
    Vanessa: He'll be okay, he blows up all the time.
  • PJ Masks: In "Ninja Moths", the Ninjalino's and moths rebel against Night Ninja and Luna Girl respectively, and tie the two to a rocket with sticky splat. Gekko saves them just before the rocket takes off.
  • The Proud Family: At the end of one episode, Oscar walks in on Bebe and Cece launching a rocket with Puff tied to it.
    Oscar: Houston, we have a problem.
  • Space Ghost episode "Zorak". The title villain ties Jan and Jace to the seats of his Flying Time Bomb (a spaceship with a Time Bomb inside) and sends it away. Space Ghost rescues them Just in Time.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: A parody of Rocky and Bullwinkle sees Babs and Buster Bunny (as "Babsy and Buswinkle") get strapped to a Polaris missile. They're too busy riffing on their show's use of "dated sixties references", bad puns, and self-deprecating jokes to escape.
  • Tom Cat tries to tie Jerry Mouse to the anchoring rod of a fireworks rocket in the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Yankee Doodle Mouse." Holding Jerry in place while tying the knots is more than Tom can manage, so Jerry obligingly helps with the knots. Jerry then squirms free, leaving Tom's hands tied to the rod. The rocket ignites and launches Tom high into the sky, exploding in a perfect stars-and-stripes display.


Video Example(s):


Heihachi's Ending (Tekken 5)

Just another day in the life of the Mishimas.

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