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Also known as Ramping.

A frenetic style of video editing where the action is partly sped up, partly at normal speed (or even slower). For example, there could be an Establishing Shot of helicopter footage that is initially at double speed, then changes to normal speed as it approaches its destination. Or, in a historical battle sequence, an attacker's leap could be fast forwarded, then his sword swung in slow motion, then zipping through the stricken enemy's collapse, then showing the next blow in slow mo again, and so on.

See also Overcrank and Under Crank. Compare Bullet Time for when there's only regular and slow mo action without any fast forwarding. See also Caffeine Bullet Time.

A faithful servant of the Rule of Cool. May result in Mundane Made Awesome.

Examples of Adrenaline Time include:

Anime and Manga

  • Death Note does it a lot. Who knew eating potato chips could be so epic? Though it should be noted the original manga doesn't do nearly as much.


  • Pioneered by Sam Peckinpah in films like The Wild Bunch.
  • Another famous usage is in Scorsese's Raging Bull.
  • Zack Snyder [1]
  • The Charlie's Angels movies. Almost anything directed by McG would fall in here due to his background as a Music Video director.
  • Die Another Day.
  • Used during several action scenes in The Matrix movies. Examples include characters leaping high in the air and smashing down, and three fights between Neo and Agent Smith: in the subway station in The Matrix, dozens of Agent Smiths in the "Burly Brawl" sequence in The Matrix Reloaded, and the final battle in The Matrix Revolutions.
  • Used in Hot Fuzz during one of the later scenes, when the Heroes have finally broken out the big guns and firing off shotguns at the villagers.
  • Wanted: A heavily worked trope in the film version. The assassins of the story explicitly train in the use of Adrenaline Time and the director loves to explore the visuals.
  • Crank, appropriately enough.
  • An example where the audience is not meant to interpret it as the result of editing, but rather as being "real" in the film's universe: At one point in the seventh Harry Potter film, a Mook crashes through a window to attack Kingsley Shacklebolt, who hits him with a spell that causes him to slow down, momentarily freeze in the air, then fly back in fast-reverse, with the shards of glass re-forming the window.

Live Action TV

  • MTV does it to speed up action in Cribs and The Real World.
  • Survivor uses it to speed up the action.
  • CSI: Miami does this practically every episode with helicopter establishing shots.
  • The TV show Legend of the Seeker, based on the Sword of Truth novels, feature these kinds of scenes pretty extensively.
  • Angel: The fight scenes started using this trope somewhere in the latter part of its third season.
  • The series Spartacus: Blood and Sand makes extensive use of this in every single fight scene.
  • Keen Eddie
  • Bitchin' Kitchen:Liberally applied to show the full prepwork and cooking process within seconds instead of minutes or hours.

Video Games

  • Achron: A common tactic, since all players have the capability of modifying the rate they travel through time. This leads to players dropping into slow motion during pitch battles to better micromanage their forces, then jumping into fast forward after the battle is over to catch up to the present again.
  • Played with in F.E.A.R. - when the player's "Reflex" ability is activated, everything slows down, but for a half-second after the "reflex" ability is turned off, everything speeds up faster than normal, before "snapping" back to regular speed.

Very more obvious with certain Videogame Setpieces, especially when Alma is involved. There is one case in Perseus Mandate where the F.E.A.R. Sergeant is suddenly brought in front of a bloodied operation room: a patient is seen walking towards the Sergeant before stopping in front of a glass door that separates the two of them. The patient's movement was Undercranked.

  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning's Army of One uses this. Because you can still input commands while it's going, it also gives you a huge advantage in terms of speed and timing. Kind of an Inverted Interface Screw.
  • Prototype uses this during charged attacks and targeting, as well as when you start getting your ass kicked. It's actually quite helpful in both cases.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Anecdotal accounts aside, there have been actual experiments that show people are able to perceive and process information at a faster rate when stressed. Indeed, this is the entire point of adrenaline; it increases the athletic and possibly mental abilities of the person, making their blood move faster to get the oxygen quicker, lesser pain response etc. People who are in a constant state of this (such as people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will have trouble sleeping, digesting food, have lesser responses to pain, complications with high blood pressure (up to and including heart disease), and in general act very nervous all the time.
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