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File:Fast-roping-101 5333.jpg
"Traditional rappelling requires holding a rope with both hands. Which is inconvenient if you're being shot at. That's why special forces are trained to rappel in unconventional ways."
Burn Notice, "Friendly Fire"

So you have The Squad, commandos from the Badass Army, or just some Elite Mooks. What's a great way to have them join the action in a dramatic or Badass manner? Why, have them rappel down into the scene from above! Shattering windows or skylights on the way is optional (though it may seem obligatory) and adds great effect.

Named after the real military tactic of fast-roping, making this Truth in Television. Although, it can be a case of Awesome but Impractical considering that the fast-roper is exposed to enemy fire the moment he draws attention. Fast-roping is normally used to insert soldiers in places helicopters cannot land, as opposed to making a grand entrance in front of a machine gun nest. Note that there is a difference between fast-roping and rappelling.

A type of Dynamic Entry that invokes Death From Above. It's the faster-paced, tactical-level Sister Trope of It's Raining Men. Related to Super Window Jump, which does not require a rope and does require a window or skylight.

Tends to be a case of Big Damn Heroes. See also "Mission Impossible" Cable Drop when it's done in stealth, not action. Grappling Hook Pistol is the (literal) inversion of this trope, when you use the rope to go up rather than down. Compare Building Swing.

Examples of Fast Roping include:


Advertising

  • Balaclavaed soldiers armed with a bottle of HP sauce crash through the window in front of a startled general at his dinner table because "an SOS from HQ said that a VIP with an OBE was tucking into a baked potato with no HP!" Everything's better with HP.
  • In a Coke Zero ad, a guy drinks one after waking up in bed with a woman and her dad at the door and a squad special forces enter the scene this way.
  • The now memetic Morning Rescue commercial made popular by Madoka Magica, where some stressed out office workers are "rescued" by a group of guys in orange jumpsuits who rappel into the office down from the ceiling, apparently by handing them bottles of the eponymous drink.


Anime and Manga

  • The eponymous girls perform a raid on a terrorist mountain hideout like this in the twelfth episode of Gunslinger Girl.
  • The Self-Defense Force breaks into Rin's office this way in episode 4 of Mnemosyne.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Onizuka and some of his students play paintball, and two of them decide to drop in via the window.
  • Gojo Shiouji in Excel Saga swings through the window in his first appearance, holding a small girl under his arm.
  • All continuities of Ghost in the Shell use this repeatedly, befitting a series with a strong spec-ops theme. In the 1995 film, Major Kusanagi is in fact introduced in the act of fast-roping to an assassination target's window; several homages to the scene can be spotted in later media.
  • Used by Train Heartnet in his first on-panel encounter with Creed in the Manga version of Black Cat.
  • Used by the Amestrian military in episode 49 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to get the jump on Roy and his group.
  • Done by Touma and Gaomon in Episode 8 of Digimon Savers when raiding a suspect's hideout. True to form, they shattered the windows using Gaomon's punch attack.


Comic Books

  • ODST's performed this tactic during the Battle of Cleveland in the comic Halo: Uprising.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, ARC Troopers are shown doing this in one panel of the comic depicting the Battle of Kamino.


Film

  • A rookie ranger missing the rope (an RPG was fired at his helicopter and it had to dodge it, shaking things up) and falling to the ground was the first incident in the mess that was the Battle of Mogadishu. Said ranger was played by Orlando Bloom in Black Hawk Down. In the book the film's based on, there's no RPG and no swerve, he just has a hand/eye coordination moment.
  • Tiger Tanaka's ninjas descend into Blofeld's volcano this way in You Only Live Twice. Played with since the ninjas have special roller apparatus on their belts to get down really fast, but given the crossfire by the SPECTRE goons, multiple ninjas are shot up and dead by the time they reach the floor.
  • Predator. Dutch's rescue team is carried into enemy territory by helicopter. At the landing zone they descend to the ground on lines because there isn't enough room in the jungle for the copters to set down.
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. John Slade rappels down the side of a building from the roof with the intent of throwing a stick of dynamite through a window. Unfortunately, he misjudges the length of the fuse.
  • In The Relic, commandos enter the Museum of Natural History in this way in order to deal with the monster threat. Possibly a subversion, since it doesn't work out so well for the commandos.
  • Resident Evil. The soldiers do this while entering the mansion (smashing through the windows as they do so). It's in the trailer here, at about 0:40. Why they decided to go up on the roof first is never explained, but it was clearly Rule of Cool.
  • The CDA does this in Monsters, Inc
  • The opening action scene of Minority Report shows the pre crime operatives rappelling down through a man's skylight after John Anderton has already subdued the suspect.
  • Near the end of The Blues Brothers, a number of SWAT officers are seen rappelling down the side of a building. Watch it here, starting at 3:55.
  • Used several times in James Bond films, sometimes with gadgets and sometimes improvised but nearly always fast roping.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Clone troopers come down on ziplines, guns blazing.
  • Lampshaded in The Boondock Saints. While stocking up on weapons/gear Connor and Murphy argue:

 Connor: Do ya know what we need, man? Some rope.

Murphy: Absolutely. What are ya, insane?

Connor: No I ain't. Charlie Bronson's always got rope.

Murphy: What?

Connor: Yeah. He's got a lot of rope strapped around him in the movies, and they always end up using it."

    • Then later they accidentally become entwined in the rope, fall through a ceiling vent, hang upside down and shoot all the heavily armed gangsters.
    • They do it AGAIN, and do it right, in All Saints' Day, this time busting through a skyscraper window and blasting off with Desert Eagles akimbo. And they proceed to have another rope argument just before this.
  • Shows up in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (yes, really) towards the end. Robin Hood uses a long pennant to do this.
  • In Hudson Hawk, Kit Kat first appears by sliding down a rope in front of Eddie. Starting at 2:15.
  • The Avengers 1998. Bailey rappels down from above to fight Mrs. Peel.
  • A couple of the SWAT teams do this in the climax of The Dark Knight as they storm the Joker's building. As Batman is trying to stop them, he ends up using their still-attached cables to his advantage.
    • Would the awesome instance when Batman pulls Lau out of his office building count as a reversal of this trope?
  • Brazil The Ministry Of Information troops crash into Mr. Buttle's living room through the windows on ropes, through the door and through a hole sliced through the roof.
  • The Reavers do this in Serenity.
  • Spoofed in the 1985 comedy Water. Communist rebel Billy Connolly is attacking the local radio station by sliding down a cable (even though he could have walked up to the door, as it's totally undefended). He misjudges his distance and goes crashing through the roof instead.
  • In The Negotiator, the police attempt to ambush former hostage negotiator Danny Roman with a pair of fast-roping SWAT members entering through the windows. However, being an ex-cop, Roman is prepared for this and the whole operation backfires when Roman manages to add both SWAT cops to his collection of hostages.
  • In Battle: Los Angeles, fast roping is used by the Marines twice. The first is to get off of an exposed freeway, and the second is when Nantz discovers the location of the alien command center, but his helicopter can't afford to land. There's also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when after Nantz reaches the ground, more ropes suddenly drop from the sky as his squadmates loyally follow him on what could realistically be considered a suicide mission.
  • In Universal Soldier, the assault on a team of hostage taking terrorists involves several Uni Sols rappelling down a dam facing DOWN.
  • The a Team: The team does this when trying to capture someone involved with the plates. We get to see it from the outside; the roper doesn't just smash through the window, his teammate blows it out with a BFG just before he gets there.
  • Spoofed in Machete when the title character uses a mooks' intestines to rappel out the window and crash through the window below.


Literature


Live Action TV

 J.D.: "This is a case for Miss Busybody Smarty-Pants." (Carla promptly rappels through the window)

  • In Chuck, Casey's team fast-ropes into the gift room at Devon and Ellie's wedding to stop a Fulcrum team.
    • In the next season it happens again but this time it's Chuck's team. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't actually saving Sarah from Shaw. At least not yet. She appreciated the tank, though.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "the Xindi", a MACO squad abseils in a mine to rescue Captain Archer and the away team. The scene was used in the altered opening credit sequence for "In a Mirror, Darkly."
  • This happens a few times on Burn Notice. One time, Michael uses a special forces trained enemy soldier as a counterweight.
  • Shows up in the opening for Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, as well as a few other points in the show.


Tabletop Games

  • In the Cities of Death expansion for Warhammer 40000 one of the stratagems you can use is rappelling lines, which allows troops to disembark from skimmers directly ontop of buildings.
  • GURPS: High-Tech has rules not just for rappelling but for using the climbing equipment to run straight down the side of a building.


Video Games

  • The Chinook transport helicopter from CnC Generals has this as a special ability, known as "Combat Drop", which allows you to commandeer buildings garrisoned by enemy infantry. Alternatively, you can just use it to drop rangers onto the battlefield in a badass way, though it's a lot slower than just landing the helicopter and unloading them the regular way, leaving both parties vulnerable to enemy fire.
    • Landing however exposed the Chinook to enemy groundfire for a short time, meaning that, with no AA around, fastroping could be the better choice. With AA around, you probably don´t even want to use the Chinook at all, so it has it´s uses.
    • In Renegade it seems to be the standard method for disembarking from Chinooks, be it for the enemies or for Havoc himself in the intro cutscene.
  • Reversed? Inverted? Certainly played with in the first Metal Gear Solid. Rather than a roping into a scene, it's a roping out of one. Snake rappels down the side of a communication tower to escape a Hind-D attack helicopter.
  • Played more or less straight in the Rainbow Six series, most notably in the two Vegas games. If there is a window below a ledge, chances are you can rappel down and breach it. In fact, the architects were often nice enough to attach inexplicable "rappel-hooks" above such windows. On the other hand, it's pretty much as useless for entering a firefight as it is in RealLife, which makes its use of the trope less straight. Unless you, say, flashbang the room or distract the occupants otherwise beforehand.
  • Done by Lacroix SWAT teams in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines game.
  • In the original Half Life and it's expansions, enemy soldiers can be seen doing this once in a while.
    • Civil Protection officers indulge in this in the sequel, usually just in time to get run over.
      • Overwatch Soldiers can be seen doing this as well.
  • Clone soldiers do it in F.E.A.R.
  • Rescue: The Embassy Mission on the NES had four phases, of which the third was rappelling from the roof into the windows of the embassy.
  • Both campaigns in Call of Duty 4 begin with your character doing this, at the beginning of the missions "Crew Expendable" and "Charlie Don't Surf". Enemies also do it from helicopters throughout the game.
    • There's also same moment as in MGS example above - Lt.Price and Cpt. MacMillan use fast-roping to evade helicopter's rocket attack.
      • Although, technically speaking, they are rappelling, the level of action justifies its being a fast-rope scene.
    • Modern Warfare 2 has an achievement for killing enemies who are doing it.
      • Similarly, Call of Duty 4 has an achievement for knocking down one of the helos when they're offloading troops.
  • This is one way stormtroopers can enter a stage in Lego Star Wars.
  • In Time Splitters: Future Perfect, there are a couple of moments in the "Breaking and Entering" level in which security guards ambush you by swinging in through skyscraper windows.
  • In Empire At War, this is how AT-AT's deploy Stormtroopers. While it is only possible to have two squads of stormtroopers deployed from an AT-AT at any given time, they can deploy an unlimited number of them to replace fallen squads.
  • In Rainbow Six Vegas 2, you start almost every mission by fast roping out of your helicopter.
  • Used in Perfect Dark at the beginning of the first mission.
  • For only a four/five story descent Battlefield3 manages to be pretty scary with its first-person Australian rappel.


Web Comics

  • In Order of the Stick , Elan gets a prestige class that excels at this, to the point that he becomes immune to damage from broken glass.
  • Girl Genius had Wooster using this method to enter and exit the Jaegergenerals' conference with Boris, though as the window's open there's no breaking glass. He does get a little mechanical help slowing his descent on the exit, but 1. this is Steampunk, after all, and 2. this is entering and exiting an airship. It's a long, long way down.
    • Later, Wulfenbach troops pursuing a runaway airship downed over Mechanicsburg.4 They even use some sort of rappel brakes. Too bad for them, their commander made a common mistake and drops right on a bunch of Jäger generals and Tarvek. Of course, the local air defenses didn't stop this reckless maneuver even more spectacularly long before city walls only because there was an order to not attack Wulfenbach forces... so far.


Western Animation

  • Done at the end of Recess: The Movie by the teachers.
  • Done by the Monarch's henchmen in the 'best entrance EVER' scene from The Venture Brothers
  • Done at the end of Fillmore episode "Immune To All But Justice" by the Safety Patrol.
  • The CDA is almost contractually obligated to do this (the window-opened-not-broken variant) in Monsters, Inc. whenever a 23-19 is reported. One of the Hilarious Outtakes features a CDA agent splatting on a window instead of rappelling through it.
  • Parodied in South Park when Mr. Slave tries this, only to pass out on impact and collapse on the floor.

 Mr. Garrison: Well crap, that didn't work.

  • Parodied in the teleporter episode of Phineas and Ferb, where instead of doing the "rappel through the window" part of this trope, Perry the Platypus taps on Dr. Doof's window with his feet instead... and then rappels his way through Dr. Doof's face when the latter opens the window to check who was knocking.


Real Life

  • Various militaries with air assault troops have been using this technique since its debut in The Falklands War. Specific examples of units that use fast-roping include:
    • The US Army's 101st Air Assault Division (sometimes referred to by ordinary soldiers as "dope on a rope").
    • The US Marine Corps
    • The British Army's 16th Air Assault Brigade
    • Coast Guard MSSTs and TACLETs and other such fun acronyms. Usually law enforcement rather than military, but whatever.
    • The US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.
    • Various American special forces units.
    • The page image was created based on the events of the 2010 boarding of the Mavi Marmara by the Israeli military, where they fast-roped into a mob...with predictable results.
  • The SAS' attack during the Iranian Embassy Siege of 1980 was not an example of fast-roping, but was important in the development of the technique. One trooper got tangled in his abseil gear on descent and suffered 60% burns when a fire caused by the detonation of a stun grenade reached him. He continued with the operation anyway. It was in part this specific incident that led to the development of fast-roping, where no abseil gear is used and this kind of tangle can't happen.
  • The page image was created in reference to the Israeli commando raid in 2010 on a flotilla of ships protesting the Gaza blockade and attempting to break it. The way not to do it is what occurred during the raid, along with commando casualties and protester deaths.
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