No Launching Please
; Needs a Better Title
, Needs More Examples
, Needs a Better Description
The act of deliberately damaging the knees. This can be performed by shooting the victim's kneecaps, or by striking them with kicks, melee weapons, or other up close and personal means.
Since this is an extremely painful type of injury, knee-capping can be used as a brutal form of Mutilation Interrogation
. This can kill two birds with one stone for the savvy torturer, as the permanently debilitating nature of the injury makes it much more difficult for the victim to escape.
Knee-capping can also be used as a tactic in combat to drastically hamper the mobility of an opponent. Needless to say, this type of fighting is a bit too dirty for most upstanding protagonists, so it is often reserved for villains, Anti Heroes
, and Combat Pragmatists
In real life, it is often not the kneecap itself that is the target of these attacks, as opposed to the join and tissue beneath it. A piece of Common Knowledge
is that kneecaps don't grow back when broken/shattered. They do, it just takes a very long time.
A sub-trope of Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty
. Compare Agony of the Feet
for other mobility hampering injuries, and An Arm and a Leg
for occasions when the legs are lost completely.
- The Munchkin card game gives us the Hammer of Knee-capping, usable only by dwarves.
- In the Spawn comic, Twitch shoots Spawn in the knee to stop him from escaping. He is rather shaken when Al doesn't even slow down.
- In Undead or Alive, after the protagonists finds out that the zombies pursuing them can't be killed with a bullet to the brain as one would expect, Sue opts to shoot out the zombified sheriff's kneecaps to make it much harder for him to catch up. This lead's to a humorous scene later in which Cletus is forced to carry him piggy-back while chasing the heroes.
- There an ensemble knee-capping scene in Terminator 2. The Terminator has promised John Connor he won't kill anyone. But they still need to escape from armed men so... he shoots a bunch of guys in the kneecaps. At once. With a machine gun.
- The protagonist of Nobody Will Speak Of Us When Were Dead gets her knee corkscrewed during a torture scene.
- Casino Royale ends with Bond locating and knee-capping The Man Behind the Man.
Live Action TV
- In one of the Raymond Chandler short stories, the protagonist stops one of the crooks from escaping by shooting in the most painful spot he could think of that wouldn't kill him: the back of the knee.
- Criminal Minds: In the season 6 episode "Today, I do", a self-ascribed motivational speaker turned serial killer shatters the kneecap of her most recent victim with a hammer after the victim refuses to eat the popcorn she made for her. She later turns this into a self-help lesson, by teaching the victim to "walk in the face of adversity".
- In 24 Jack Bauer shoots a terrorist in the kneecap to get him to talk.
- In another season, he shoots the Dragon's wife in the kneecap to get him to talk.
- Book does it during the Firefly episode "War Stories", leading to this exchange:
Zoe: Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killin'?
Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.
- In Girl Genius, Higgs uses this move against Zola. Unfortunately for him, she is too high on combat drugs to fall down.
- In a March 2011 Wapsi Square there's a distant flashback that shows Jin, before she became part of the Chimera, being shot through the back of the knee with an arrow. Squick.
- Figure skater and olympic hopeful Tonya Harding attempted to get a leg up on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan by paying off her bodyguard to attack Kerrigan's knee shortly before the 1994 Winter Olympics, in hopes of taking Kerrigan out of competition. She failed, but managed to get on the US Olympic team anyway. Kerrigan still won the silver medal; Harding came in 10th.
- Knee-capping was often used as a punishment by the IRA and other Northern Irish paramilitary groups.