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Under the Truck

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"A semi has about four feet of clearance under it. Sliding beneath on a motorcycle is possible, but risky. Too low and the pavement will grind you to a pulp. Too high, and any part of your body that hits the trailer will no longer be a part of your body."
Michael Westen, narrating the dangers of this trope before doing it himself, Burn Notice

When a chase scene involves motorcycles, there seems to be only one way the chase can end. The motorcycle will invariably come across an intersection with a large semi towing a large trailer at the exact moment the trailer is blocking the entire intersection.

If it's the hero on the motorcycle, who will often be chased by cops in police cars, then the hero drops to his side and slides safely underneath the semi, while the cops blindly slam into the trailer without stopping. This is possible but extremely dangerous; misjudging the slide can easily result in decapitation by truck or in the rider's low-side leg being ground into paste.

If the hero is being chased by motorcycles instead, he will just barely zip around the truck, while his pursuers take the slide and are taken out of the race.

Note that motorcycle riders unfortunately used to be advised to try something similar to this if they realize they can't avoid being in a collision. The goal of this maneuver is (incorrectly) to stop in the shortest distance possible, taking a very severe case of road rash in favor of slamming into the back of a stopped vehicle or other obstacle. In real life, stopping with your brakes while remaining upright will bring you to a stop in a much shorter distance and in less time. Intentionally lowsiding is, unfortunately, still passed on from old bikers who have never used the brakes to their fullest extent. This is especially true on newer bikes equipped with ABS. Stereotypical biker leather came about as a means of protection from road rash in case of an accident, and back in the day bikes and road surfaces may have been poor enough to merit this maneuver.

See also Instant Convertible for when a car tries to do the same. Has nothing to do with the myth of Mew being under the truck in Vermilion City. Not to be confused with throwing someone under a bus, metaphorically or otherwise.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Largo Winch: Simon is duped into being the star of a TV series. There is an Under the Truck scene in the show, but it's faked (and the explosion afterwards isn't seen either).
    Actress: We're making cheap TV, not a Bond movie.

    Films — Animation 
  • In DC Showcase: Catwoman, Catwoman slides her stolen motorcycle under a truck while chasing Rough Cut. For bonus style points, the truck is tipping over at the time.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Friendship Games: During the motocross event, Rainbow Dash and Sunset Shimmer are forced into this maneuver under the stalks of the giant Man-Eating Plants. Rainbow slides past easily, but Sunset falls off her bike because the next one is too low.
  • In Vivo, Gabi slides under a drawbridge barrier on a bicycle and then somehow gets back upright without even slowing down.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1995 Indian (Telugu) film Alluda Majaka features the hero pulling this trick off with a horse! The effect is not very convincing, to say the least.
  • The Art of the Steal: In Warsaw, Crunch loses the second motorcycle cop who is pursuing him by sliding his bike under a tanker truck that turns in front of him.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: In Seoul, Natasha Romanoff slides with her bike under the truck where Captain America and Ultron are fighting, before tossing Cap his shield that she picked up earlier.
  • The Dark Knight. Not a chase scene, since the Joker is coming at Batman head on in a truck, while Batman races towards him on the Batpod. However Batman fires two tow cables that hit the truck and then proceeds to weave in and out between the wheels of the trailer to tie it up. Because the Batpod is built low to the ground and the truck is quite high off the ground, he doesn't need to slide, just drive normally.
  • Drive Angry, Milton drives his car underneath the hydrogen tanker as it flips over at the police blockade.
  • The Fast and the Furious:
    • Subversion: in 2Fast 2Furious, the hero manages to zip into a narrow gap between two trailer trucks. One of the bad guys then tries to do the same, but ends up losing control, then gets stuck under the truck, and is finally splatted by the rear wheels.
    • Contrast with the opening scene in the original, where one of the cars slips underneath a hijacked semi-truck. And manages to stay clear of the wheels.
  • In Gleaming the Cube, the Big Bad has kidnapped Brian's love interest just after killing her father for plot-related reasons. Instead of chasing the villain's car with another car, Brian sticks to the movie's theme by holding onto another car while riding his skateboard. During the chase, they end up on a six-lane highway, and Brian in the left lane lets go of the car he was holding to zip under the trailer of an 18-wheeler, grabbing onto a pickup truck driven and ridden in by his skater friends in the right lane.
  • The motorcycle goes under a few library desks in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • James Bond:
    • During a chase scene in Never Say Never Again, Bond dives under a truck with his motorcycle and exits the other side.
    • In Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond slides his motorcycle underneath a helicopter that has its rotor blades tilted downwards.
  • Johnny does it in a motorised wheelchair in Johnny English Reborn.
  • A humorous case without motorcycles occurs in Kung Fu Hustle. In the scene where the landlady begins chasing Sing they end up running on the road. As they come up on a truck Sing opts to use this trope sliding under the truck at high speeds. The landlady opts to jump over, and ends up hitting a billboard.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. One of the Rock Riders slides his cycle under the War Rig to grab at Furiosa who is trying to enter the Rig via a hatch underneath, as she's being fired on at the time.
  • Men in Black 3: Twice during the bike chase. First J slips under a truck on his wheel-bike (which survives). Later Boris does the same on a conventional motorcycle (which gets trashed).
  • Chun-sim does this during the pile-up at the start of the South Korean film Quick; sliding her bike underneath the jackknifed tanker truck. She comes off the bike after the slide and gets up and walks away.
  • Ready Player One (2018): At one point during the first hunt in the virtual world of OASIS, Art3mis slides with her bike under a truck that's crossing her way. One of the Sixers following her rides his car right into the truck, resulting in an Instant Convertible.
  • Red 2: The protagonists are driving a Lotus Exige S with such a low profile they can literally drive sideways under a truck, coming out behind the vehicle that's chasing them.
  • In Spider-Man 2, Spidey is chasing two crooks in a car and naturally, a truck pulls out in the way. Rather than slide under, Spidey swings through the gap between the cab and trailer.
  • Subverted in The Stone Killer (1973). Charles Bronson's character is in a car chase with a criminal who tries this, but he falls off his motorcycle in the process and can't get back on before the pursuing car catches up.
  • Terminator:
    • In Terminator Salvation, one of the Moto-Terminators uses its Artificial Intelligence to instantaneously plot the course of low-bouncing debris hurling towards it, and comes up with this trope as the only solution. Like the Ben 10 example in Western Animation, having no driver makes it easier to recover.
    • And in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnie shows you don't need a motorcycle to do this. The TX is on top of a hearse being driven by the T-800, cutting her way through the roof, so he shouts at everyone to get down, then drives underneath the trailer, scraping the entire cabin off with the TX.
  • Another quasi-example, this time from Transformers. Captain Lennox grabs an abandoned motorcycle, drives it straight at the Decepticon walking away, and puts it in a slide right through his legs, while firing his Grenade Launcher straight into said Decepticon's codpiece.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Burn Notice: Michael Westen has done this at least once. He takes time to note in his voice-over that, while doable, this maneuver is extremely risky and should only be done when it's absolutely necessary. Works great for deterring pursuers who don't feel like risking life and limb, however.
  • Game of Thrones. During a foot chase through the streets of Braavos, Arya Stark does the medieval version by sliding under a handcart. The pursuing Waif leaps over the top.
  • Hardcastle and McCormick's most famous stunt when McCormick maneuvers his Cool Car, the Coyote X, under the undercarriage of a moving semi-trailer truck. Fortunately, the car has an unusually low profile to enable that and a driver reckless and skilled enough to attempt it.
  • The Magician: In "The Illusion of the Lethal Playthings", Tony is being chased by a model plane loaded with plastique. He escapes by driving his low-slung Corvette under the trailer of fuel tanker. The plane slams into the side of the tanker and explodes.
  • Made a joke on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 screening of Rocket Attack U.S.A.:
    AFB officer (in movie): There's an armored truck arriving here at noon...
    Tom Servo: Be under it.

    Video Games 
  • You will do this in chapter 8 of Bayonetta to avoid oil-tanker trucks.
  • In a cutscene to Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour, a pair of GLA pick-ups and a limo are escaping from a pair of US Humvees. After one of each is eliminated by a falling tower, an oil tanker pulls across an intersection just as the terrorist vehicles cross. The Humvee crashes, and the tanker explodes. Lampshaded by the words "Really Explosive" on the side of the truck.
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) features the ability to do this with any car.
  • Done in the motorcycle chase sequence in Everything or Nothing.
  • In Ride to Hell: Retribution, Jake will have to slide under a truck roughly three times every driving section, due to the fact that apparently nobody can drive straight.
  • In the video game Stuntman: Ignition where you play as a stuntman you have to do this particular stunt frequently.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Ben 10, there is an episode that begins with Ben (as Upgrade) chasing a criminal, not on a motorcycle, but as it. He pulls this trick to slide under a truck and continue the chase. This version of the stunt is much easier since there's no actual driver.
  • Much to his own amazement, Wile E. Coyote pulls this trick off in the short "Vicious Cycles" on The Looney Tunes Show. Of course, he is flattened immediately afterwards by a truck going in the opposite direction.
  • The Simpsons: Marge does this (although she is on foot), dropping underneath Hans Moleman's truck while running home, in "You Kent Always Say What You Want".
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy: In the episode "Watch Dog", Kitty slides under the garage door to the Tuff Parking Garage as it is closing.


Video Example(s):


Ryuji chases Yasha

While riding away from Ryuji, Yasha slides under a truck on her motorcycle.

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5 (3 votes)

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Main / UnderTheTruck

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