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Unconventional Vehicle Chase

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When all you have is a bike.note 

The heroes need to get away from danger, or pursue an escaping villain. Sounds like it's time for a high-speed car chase. Time to pull out that badass looking car with insanely high top speeds, and capable of impossible maneuvers, right? Well unfortunately, the dream vehicle isn't conveniently lying around, so the hero will have to make do with whatever's available.

The substitute vehicle can be very bizarre at times, with popular choices being a fire engine, tow truck, or a tank. Expect the driver to utilize the vehicle's built-in features to gain an advantage, as well as a lot of destruction to the surroundings. Often necessitates a Badass Driver, considering the unfamiliarity of this new vehicle would require skill to operate.

Not to be confused with Cool Car when a character drives an unusual vehicle by choice.

Subtrope of Car Chase Shoot-Out, Chase Scene and Hot Pursuit. Compare: Wacky Racing, which is when a race is intentionally organized with unconventional vehicle choices as a gimmick. See also: Improbable Weapon User and When All You Have Is a Hammer… for non-vehicle examples. May often lead to Hero Stole My Bike.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Lucy and David escape from a harvester-hijacked ambulance and are seen speeding against freeway traffic... on a hospital gurney that David's still strapped to.
  • Full Metal Panic!: In the Behemoth Arc, the group is in a van being chased through the streets of Tokyo by a 40 metre high Humongous Mecha.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Battle Tendency: After Kars obtained ultimate power, Joseph takes off in a nearby plane as Kars pursues him while planning to lure him towards a volcano believing it would be the method to finish Kars off.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Once nightfall comes in Egypt just as the heroes begin the Final Battle with DIO, Joseph and Kakyoin buy off a truck to strategize a plan on the move as DIO forces a passing pedestrian to give chase as well before taking their fight to the rooftops.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Josuke takes off in Rohan's motorcycle after the latter gets captured by Highway Star. As Josuke rides around Morioh evading the Stand, he tries to solve the user's identity with Koichi's help.
    • Golden Wind: While on route to pickup a hidden disc, Giorno and Mista are ambushed by Ghiaccio as they shake him off their car while he gives chase ice-skating on a bridge.
  • In Shiori Experience, when Jouji and Prince steal Black Bus's vehicle, Kuroi chases them down on a kiddie bike.
  • The God of High School: The series has one pretty early on with Jin Mori pursuing a thief on a motorcycle... in his bike. It ends up being how he, Yoo Mira, and Han Daewi meet for the first time.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin: Tim chased after a car containing a kidnapped classmate on his skateboard. It didn't work out and he got shot for his efforts but he was able to figure out where they were going and his girlfriend gave him a ride there on her motorcycle, and assisted in taking down the kidnappers.
  • Soda once chases after a perp in a street cleaner, but the driver tells him he likes to tinker with it on Sundays, and to push the big red button on the dashboard. Acceleration ensues.

    Film — Animation 
  • An example of the villain using an unconventional vehicle occurs in The Aristocats. Edgar winds up trying to escape from Napoleon and Lafeyette on a "one-wheel haystack".
  • The Bob's Burgers Movie: The film's climax involves the family in the midst of pursuit on a pair of aquatic-themed oversized go-karts.
  • The villainous Ratigan in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective flees with moe Olivia as his hostage in an airship powered by a bicycle-like assembly at its tail. Ratigan is pursued by The Hero Basil of Baker Street in a makeshift helium balloon powered by jetting the gas from the balloon's bottom. The chase runs a merry distance over London; Ratigan's Fidgit-powered craft jettisons Fidgit, and Ratigan himself propels the craft, while Basil's balloon stays close behind despite bleeding off copious amounts of helium.
  • Vinz and Angelino flee from the Men In Black in an ice-cream van in Mutafukaz. Although they initially seem at a disadvantage, Vinz is able to take out a few MIB cars by covering their windscreens with thrown ice-cream. What makes this funnier is the happy ice-cream van tune and dramatic chase music become synchronised.
  • Fagan rides a scooter cum shopping cart in Disney's Oliver & Company while trying to flee from the malicious Sykes in a large sedan. Both vehicles enter a subway station and leap onto the tracks. Fagan's hybrid judders badly on the ties between the rails, while Sykes sedan neatly rides the rails on its wheels' rims.
  • Penguins of Madagascar includes an early boat chase between penguins and octopi. Due to a series of coincidences, the boats begin travelling along the land on wheels partway through.
  • The climax of The Triplets of Belleville features Madame Souza, Champion, the Triplets, and Bruno trying to flee from an armada of cars... with only a bicycle simulator as their escape vehicle.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, when Cadby is getting away in his car, Ace looks over several vehicles parked nearby. The only one with a key in the ignition happens to be a monster truck.
  • In Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, the villain in his car is pursued by the hero's sidekick riding a bicycle while carrying the hero in a wooden basket on his back.
  • In Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Alex and Sabrina take a horse to get to Sayle Tower, since the cars are getting stuck in London traffic. They nearly crash into a patrol of the Household Cavalry, who briefly chase after them.
  • Most of Ambulance is this, as the film's title readily explains. After a Bank Robbery goes south, the two surviving robbers hijack an ambulance carrying an EMT and a wounded police officer who they previously shot during their escape. Their choice of getaway vehicle lends the crooks an advantage, as the police can't directly attack the ambulance without risking the life of the officer on board.
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Parodied when Austin and Vanessa try to escape pursuing guards in a steamroller that moves so slowly that the guards should be able to easily catch up to them.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Back to the Future: Marty transforms a wooden trolley into a skateboard which he then uses to escape Biff and his gang who chase after Marty in their car.
    • Back to the Future Part II: A suspiciously similar scene to that in the first movie happens where Young Biff and his friends chase Marty across the town square on their hover boards.
  • Bad Boys 2 takes it to ridiculous levels with two examples:
    • The first time has Burnett and Lowrey pursuing the criminals, with the thugs driving a car-carrier trailer used for transporting cars. In a bid to delay the cops, the thugs start loosening and throwing the cars on the trailer.
    • The second time a criminal is driving a corpse-carrying van while the Bad Boys are in pursuit. The back doors of the van end up opening which leads to a lot of corpses dropping all over the road.
  • In Bank Shot, Ballantine escapes from prison by hijacking a 50-ton scraper from the highway construction site. 'Bulldog' Streiger pursues him in a golf buggy. Also doubles as a Low-Speed Chase.
  • Beverly Hills Cop II: A chase scene in the middle act of the film has Cowboy Cops Foley and Rosewood going after an armored truck driven by the villains with a cement mixer, wrecking several bystander's cars (and one Jerkass cop's, if we take Rosewood's word) in the process.
    Rosewood: [about the mixer] Don't complain! It's all that I could find!
  • Catch That Kid has a special example, where the kids end up getting away from the crime scene via go-karts. While the karts were specifically customized for a getaway, the fact that they're the only vehicles accessible to the kids also makes it qualify.
  • The Dark Knight starts as a car chase made of a Gotham Police armored truck carrying Harvey Dent, the Joker and his men in a semi cargo truck following the armored truck, and the Tumbler. By the end of the chase, it's the police armored truck, the Joker's semi, and the Batpod.
  • In Geostorm, when Dekkom sends assassins to take out the President in case the Weather-Control Machine destroying Orlando doesn't get him, the heroes get him out using a self-driving taxi that they commandeered. Sarah even lampshades the absurdity once she sees the car.
    Sarah: We're kidnapping the President in a self-driving cab?
  • The Goonies: Brand, whose bike's tires were slashed, resorts to taking a little girl's pink bike (one with training wheels, no less) to chase down his younger brother and his friends.
  • The James Bond films are quite fond of these.
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service: When his defending forces are overcome, Blofeld escapes Piz Gloria in a bobsleigh. Bond grabs another and goes after him.
    • Diamonds Are Forever: In order to escape Willard Whyte's facility near Las Vegas, Bond steals a prototype moon buggy and zooms off across the desert. He's followed by guards in cars and on motorized trikes.
    • Live and Let Die: While on the island of San Monique, Bond and Solitaire escape in a double-decker bus while the San Monique police pursue on motorcycles and in squad cars. Later Bond escapes from pursuing minions in cars and on foot by stealing a Cessna and taxiing it around.
    • Octopussy: Bond rides a souped-up auto rickshaw (driven by a fellow agent) through a bazaar in Delhi, chased by Kamal Khan's thugs in a jeep and an auto rickshaw of their own.
    • A View to a Kill
      • About to be arrested by police in San Francisco, Bond steals a firetruck to escape. At one point he takes out the ladder which wrecks a lot of the environment, including taking the top off a truck with a sleeping couple inside.
      • Earlier in the movie, as Bond follows May Day from the ground as she parachutes down from the Eiffel Tower, the subcompact he commandeers is smashed, crashed, and ultimately chopped in half - yet it remains drivable to the end.
    • Licence to Kill: After Bond destroys Sanchez's drug lab, he chases down the gasoline tanker trucks used to smuggle the cocaine.
    • GoldenEye: After latest Bond girl Natalya gets taken by Ourumov in a car, Bond steals one of the battle tanks in the yard and pursues them, with the tank causing sizable damage to the buildings around town.
    • The World Is Not Enough: While skiing in Azerbaijan to oversee the construction of a pipeline, Bond and Elektra are attacked by men in Parahawks (paraglider-equipped snowmobiles).
    • Die Another Day
      • In the pre-credits sequence, Bond and the North Korean arms dealers engage in a hovercraft chase.
      • Bond and The Dragon engage in a car chase with both driving Weaponized Cars equipped with the usual array of Bond gadgets.
      • Bond uses a rocket-propelled sled (one of the Big Bad's hobbies) to run away from the blast of a Kill Sat.
    • Casino Royale: Bond briefly chases terrorist Mollaka in a bulldozer.
    • Quantum of Solace: Bond rescues Camille from General Medrano with a wooden Haitian fishing motorboat and Medrano's men chase them with inflatable boats.
    • Skyfall: Bond uses an excavator to reach the train on which henchman Patrice is fleeing.
    • Spectre: Bond goes to Madeleine Swann's rescue from Mr. Hinx and other Spectre henchman who captured her. Bond uses a BN-2 Islander plane and the Spectre henchmen use Land Rovers.
  • Johnny English:
    • Johnny and Bough attempt to catch Sauvage's Mooks after discovering them attempting to make off with the stolen Crown Jewels. Johnny's car ends up being picked up by a tow truck, so he and Bough use the truck to give chase. Though eventually, Johnny feels the truck is too slow and gets back into the car on the back of the truck.
    • The continuation has English being chased by MI6 all over London... with English's getaway vehicle being a Super Wheelchair.
  • The John Wick franchise includes a couple, most notably the horse-versus-motorcycle chase in the third movie.
  • In Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, there's a car chase of bad guys after the escaped kidnapped girl. Good guys join in riding a wooden barrel on a platform with small wheels. Villains attack this transportation device with all the cucumbers they've got and spend a 3L glass jar of oil before finally having it crash and break (confirming that it was just a barrel).
  • In Logan, Logan uses the limousine he drives from work to escape the Reavers trying to capture Xavier and Laura. It sustains heavy damage from the gunfire and ramming along the road, but manages to help them escape thanks to Logan's chaotic driving and sheer luck of crossing a passing train.
  • In The Mummy Returns, at the start the O'Connell family escape using a double-decker bus.
  • During the climax of Police Academy 6, Mr. Big flees the police in a stolen fire engine, with Sgt Lassard in the cherry picker. Hightower, Jones and Tackleberry give chase in a commandeered monster truck, while Harris and Procter follow in a commandeered commuter bus (complete with passengers).
  • Romancing the Stone: One of the chase sequences in the continuation The Jewel of the Nile involves Jack, Joan and Al-Juhara (a saintly man and the titular "Jewel") trying to escape the armed forces of the dictator Omar in an F-16 "Fighting Falcon" that Jack tore the wings off with his crazy driving, culminating with Jack firing up the jet's afterburner to try to lose Omar's forces in a sand storm.
  • The Rookies, a spy-comedy spoof of the Bond movies, have a chase scene in Budapest where the heroes hit a button on their vehicle, causing it to sprout legs on it's side and become a Spider Tank. Cue Spider Tank vs. limousine, then.
  • A surreal version in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. While Mean Mr. Mustard is escaping in his van, the protagonists pursue him in a hot air balloon. It has a hand-cranked propeller to give them a little more speed.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train comes to a crescendo near the end with a "chase" on a Merry-Go-Round.
  • Terminator utilizes this a lot, where both the heroes and Terminators steal vehicles in their many pursuits.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
      • Near the start of the film, the T-1000 steals a tow-truck (by throwing the trucker out the door) and uses it to pursue John Connor on a scooter, while the Terminator follows on a motorcycle. The T-1000's tow-truck smashes through a lot of civilian cars along the way. The chase eventually moves to an embankment below the main road, where the T-1000 is undeterred and drives the tow truck off the bridge and lands it below, smashing the truck up in the process and continues the chase. Eventually the Terminator catches up and rescues John onto his faster motorcycle, while the tow-truck crashes into an overpass where it explodes, ceasing the chase for now.
      • Later it gets even more insane. John Connor, Sarah, and the Terminator flee in a police armored convoy while the T-1000 chases in a helicopter and the two parties keep exchanging gunfire. However the Terminator tricks the helicopter into ramming into the back of the convoy, but at the cost of damaging their vehicle too. Both parties then switch over to two vehicles provided by civilians who pulled over to check on the crash which are: a slow moving truck that the heroes get in (and the Terminator asks for), and a tanker filled with liquid nitrogen that the T-1000 takes by murdering the driver. The T-1000's vehicle much faster speed quickly closes the gap and starts ramming the smaller vehicle, so the Terminator is forced to shoot the T-1000 to deter him.
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: John Connor flees the scene in a veterinary van belonging to his future wife. The T-X hacks then hacks into several police cars she can operate remotely, while driving a tow truck herself. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator then steals a police motorcycle and pursues as well. Shortly afterwards, he abandons the motorcycle and falls onto a fire truck, where he promptly pushes out the occupants and continues to give chase in his new vehicle.
  • In True Lies, the terrorist steals a police motorbike while Harry "borrows" a policeman's horse and gives chase through the streets of Washington D.C., a mall and a hotel.
  • Played for laughs in Undercover Brother. The title character and Sista Girl and the guards pursuing them have a Low-Speed Chase in golf carts.
  • What's Up, Doc? has a famous Chase Scene up and down the hills of San Francisco, kicked off by the lead couple trying to escape their pursuers on a borrowed grocery delivery trike.
  • One of Cale's and Sawyer's escape attempts in White House Down has them stealing the armored Presidential Limo; the bad guys give chase in minigun-equipped SUVs. For bonus points, this all happens on the White House lawn.
  • The German comedy film Der Wixxer (a parody of black & white Edgar Wallace films, especially "The Wizard") features a multi-party chase with old, creaky bicycles.The sequel has a stairlift chase.

  • Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony has an interesting case, where former criminal and master driver, Doodah Day, is recruited specifically to drive a child's electric car as a diversion, which involves fleeing from gunfire.
  • In Clockpunk and the Vitalizer, the vehicle would be a perfectly normal public bus if it weren't ripped apart and being propelled by The Vitalizer's powers instead of its engines and wheels.
  • Star Wars Legends: Variation: In X-Wing: Wraith Squadron, Wedge Antilles and rookie pilot Falynn Sandskimmer at one point settle a minor argument by going for a race in anti-gravity ore haulers (basically a cross between a landspeeder and a dump truck). Wedge wins by ramping his hauler onto Falynn's and bouncing off into the lead, which she calls cheating. Wedge tells her that to survive as a pilot, she's going to have to cheat.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Benny Hill Show:
    • In one episode's ending chase, Hill's character takes a little girl's hoop & stick and uses that as his vehicle. (To clarify, a hoop & stick is a running toy, so it's actually no help in going faster.)
    • In the final episode, Hill gets in a slow moving maze boat (which runs on tracks) to get away from a mob, while the mob boards a boat behind his. In both cases, there is a land area around which would be faster to run on instead of riding the boats.
  • Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a bunch of knights on horseback chasing down a Winnebago.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Taken to extremes in Due South, typically with the theme of outdated vs. modern.
    • The pilot episode culminates in a chase scene in which the bad guys are on snowmobiles and the heroes must escape in a dogsled.
    • The very next episode pits the robbers' car against the heroes' horse-drawn carriage.
    • "All the Queen's Horses" has not only an open-top jeep intercepting a runaway train but also an entire company of horse-mounted Mounties chasing down a terrorist on an ATV.
    • In "Mountie on the Bounty", the Royal Canadian Mounted Police tracks a modern freighter across the Great Lakes in a three-masted frigate.
  • Hawaii Five-0:
    • In the Season 4 finale, there's a cold open featuring Steve and Danny chasing down the bank robber's getaway car using a dorky red go-kart that has RENT ME plastered all over it.
    • A few episodes into Season 5, Kono actually pulls off a chase scene where both her and the perp are on surfboards.
  • Near the end of "Secrets of the Secret Service" in Intelligence (2014), Gabriel uses a bulletproof Lincoln limosine with American diplomatic plates to chase a Syrian Republican Guard truck hauling in the imprisoned journalists.
  • In Itch, Darcy chases after Mr Lannister in a golf cart. He takes a shortcut by going the wrong way across the golf course and manages to cut him off.
  • Seinfeld: George is faking being handicapped and going around in a mobility scooter. Some actual elderly/handicapped people discover this and chase after him in their own scooters, in a Low-Speed Chase. Eventually George hops out of his, picks it up, and runs away, quickly losing his pursuers... but parading his physical capabilities in front of the bureaucrat that gave him his handicapped status (and benefits).
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "The Rascal Cook", the killer flees from Frank and Lu by jumping into a swan pedal boat and pedalling out on to the Avon River. Frank and Lu commandeer another pedal boat and pursue.

    Music Videos 
  • In the music video for Technohead song "I Wanna Be A Hippy", three skinheads chase after a hippy wielding inflatable hammers. At first it's a foot chase, but then the hippy gets on a bicycle while the skinheads get in a pedal powered carrier and chase after.

    Video Games 
  • Appropriately for the Flight Simulator genre, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has a mission in which, after the player and their squadron are framed for treason, they escape execution by stealing a group of BAE Systems Hawk training jets and fleeing in an Escape Sequence.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company has a level when the titular Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits must escape from a Russian General Ripper and his tank... on a golf cart.
  • Blood Stone features a truly spectacular car-chase level in which a fleeing hired killer steals an enormous dump-truck the size of a two-storey building, and rampages through downtown Bangkok smashing through anything that gets in the way while the player tries to keep pace in a stolen tow-truck. Not surprisingly, the following mission is a No-Gear Level in which you're evading the local police, who would very much like a wee word about the previous evening's excitement.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series has had a few of these show up occasionally. Grand Theft Auto III had two missions where you escape the triads and the police respectively in a limousine. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a pursuit mission in go-karts, and the final mission has you chasing a fire truck. Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony had a getaway sequence in golf carts. And of course, since this is a Wide-Open Sandbox game, you can initiate one of these at any time in whatever vehicle you want.
  • The Spearhead Expansion Pack of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has Sgt. Barnes and his squadmates escaping a German supply depot in a captured half-track armed with an anti-tank gun and a supply truck, all the while being chased by Panzers and half-tracks in the middle of a German attack on Bastogne.
  • No One Lives Forever 2 features a Low-Speed Chase with Cate and Armstrong on a child's tricycle pursuing a mime on a unicycle through the streets of Calcutta.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, the Boss (and Pierce) rescues Zimos from sex slavery in an S&M dungeon as a part of the "Return to Steelport" mission, and the two (well, three) of them escape in a rickshaw pulled by Zimos in full bondage gear, chased by enforcers also driving rickshaws pulled by bondage-clad submissives, styled to look like a Roman Chariot Race. As if this all weren't weird enough, the rickshaws also explode when they crash.note 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventures in Odyssey video series, Eugene has to use a skateboard to chase a guy in a car who he believes kidnapped Connie.
  • In Archer episode "Caught Napping", A high-speed chase occurs in horse-drawn sleighs, plus Pam on a snowmobile.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: During the Gaang's first encounter with Azula they attempt a getaway using Omashu's cargo chutes. Azula jumps into one of the carts and follows them down the chute, flinging fireballs at them the entire way down.
  • Fillmore! makes a habit of this.
    • In one episode, Fillmore does a Flashed-Badge Hijack to commandeer a floor buffer to pursue a suspect.
    • In another episode, a culprit escapes across a lake using a paddleboat, while Fillmore and Ingrid each ride on a pair of remote-control toy boats.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: In "Getting the Band(shell) Back Together", the 'Give Us Money' song has Molly trying to convince a woman driving by to sell her SUV and switch it for an electric car. The woman frantically tries driving away from her, but Molly is able to keep up on her bike as she tries hard to explain why electric cars are better.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Sideshow Bob tries to fly off and kill Krusty by stealing the Wright Brothers' original airplane. The Air Force have to chase after him on foot because their interceptor planes fly too fast, and in the end Air Force personnel driving tanks accidentally run it over, crushing it.
  • South Park: In a parody of O.J. Simpson's infamous Low-Speed Chase in a Ford Bronco, Cartman has Kenny attempt to drive him to freedom in a toy Bronco with the cops in hot pursuit.
  • Time Squad: In "Repeat Offender", the trio chase down Blackbeard in Greece riding horse-drawn chariots.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: In "A Million Ways To Lose a Million Dollars", after the Police Cadets have their taxi stolen, MacArthur uses her police badge to hijack a hotdog vendor cart (shaped like a hotdog) to give chase.
  • Wallace & Gromit:

    Real Life 
  • Three words: white Ford Bronco. On June 17, 1994, Al Cowlings led the Los Angeles Police Department on a Low-Speed Chase in that vehicle with his friend O. J. Simpson in the back after Simpson, charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, failed to turn himself in to the police. An off-roader like the Bronco wouldn't be so unconventional for a chase in a rural environment, but on the Los Angeles freeway, about as far outside its element as one could get, it quickly went memetic.
  • In 1995, dissatisfied US Army veteran Shawn Nelson stole an M60 tank from a National Guard armory near San Diego. He was chased by police cars for 10 kilometers through the city.


Video Example(s):


In the streets of Itaewon

Jun-ho and Ho-yeol give chase to an underground broker who knows what happened to a deserter who changed his name to avoid being caught. To do that, they have to chase him in downtown Itaewon with a bicycle and a Cold & Cool (CoCo) motorized fridge cart.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnconventionalVehicleChase

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