Our Weapons Do Nothing


(permanent link) added: 2011-03-19 14:12:01 sponsor: Deboss (last reply: 2011-03-29 00:25:44)

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Splitting up Five Rounds Rapid according to this thread. Work in progress.

Military engages in massive artillery/missile barrage. Monster is unharmed.
Ritsuko: "A waste of the taxpayers' money."
Misato: "I guess the military types just won't be satisfied until they've fired all their bullets."</small>

Oh my. A monster and/or alien has shown up to terrorize a city/town and the military has shown up to save the day. But what's this? Every time the soldiers open fire the monster just ignores the weapons fire coming it's way. What will our heroes do to stop the monster/alien/monstrous alien/alien monster now?

The basic function of Our Weapons Do Nothing is the application of Show, Don't Tell for Immune to Bullets. Simply saying "the monster is immune to bullets" is boring and bad story telling. Firing at the monster three times with a pistol is also a bit underwhelming. So you need a good scene where somebody really opens up on the monster with a machine gun. Or tanks if the monster is Kaiju sized.

When this is mooks opening fire on a Nigh Invulnerable hero, it's likely a Mook Horror Show.

Examples.

Anime and Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The first episode starts with the army opens fire with the heaviest conventional weapons in their arsenal at the Angel from the get-go, and the Humongous Mecha are not called in until after the trust-us-it's-not-a-nuke fails to stop the attacker.
    • Invariably, however, they will still unload all sorts of ordnance on the Angel Of The Week before the EVA's are called in, long after the Angels are shown to be invulnerable to such attacks.
  • Gravion Zwei. The Military will ignore all requests to kindly sit back and let the giant robot handle it. The Gravion itself partially follows this trope, for some reason they always try the tiny machine guns first, before combining into the giant robot.
  • The Big O: The military police arrive just before Roger and Big O every time a giant monster or robot attacks Paradigm City and fire a massive barrage that does absolutely nothing. But they have to try each time, or else they'd have to admit they need his help.
  • Gundam metaseries: essentially every universe has some form of tanks, MLRS, and other modern artillery weapons. They are never useful against mobile suits unless a named character is at the controls. One such example comes in Gundam SEED CE73 Stargazer where Retired Badass Edmond Du Clos takes down a GINN with a tank (though he dies in the process).
    • In a sense, Gundam has another example with vulcans/CIWS. About half the mobile suits ever made have them, but all they're good for are missile defense and occasional lucky shots to enemy cameras, and even then they aren't used all that often.
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Film
  • The Mummy: When he firsts encounters Imhotep, Rick shoots the undead monster with a shotgun, before fleeing the room. Ardeth says it can't be killed by mortal weapons, but Rick insists, "I got him."
  • Robocop 2: the bad Robocop is running amok and shooting up the place, killing dozens and doing property damage in the tens of millions. The police force fights back with assault rifles, shotguns and pistols. It takes Robocop's intuition to end the threat in an elaborate way that, unsurprisingly, doesn't involve a Hellfire missile right in the bad Robocop's torso. Mostly by getting into a fist fight.
  • The War of the Worlds: the human armies try everything they have against the alien tripods, including tanks, rockets, and heavy artillery, all to no avail. They do eventually manage do destroy alien tripods with comparatively puny weapons (a shoulder-fired rocket launcher), but only because the aliens have been weakened (and have thus lost their shields) due to bacteria. This kills the aliens without any human assistance in the original.
  • Independence Day: every weapon the humans use on the alien ships, from air to air missiles to nukes, are completely useless. This leads to a Find The Monsters Weakness plot.
  • Very nearly every Godzilla and Kaiju movie ever. The army rolls in with tanks, infantry, bombers, and the kitchen sink, and rarely ever even scratches the monster they're trying to take out. The conventional military arms are just a courtesy before they roll out the special anti-monster laser tanks, giant robot, etc.
  • Gorgo: the military is particularly bad about this. At the beginning, when the monster is still in the ocean, they actually do use some pretty heavy duty weapons on it (with use of Stock Footage to keep costs down), like battleship cannons, bombs, and rockets. These have no effect. When the monster comes ashore they use tanks and machine guns on it, even though these are far less powerful than the naval and air weapons that had already been proven useless.

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Literature

  • The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix: When firearms even work, they can only damage the bodies of the Dead; it takes Charter Magic to harm their spirits, and a necromancer (or Abhorsen)'s bells to send them back into Death.

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Live Action Televison

  • Stargate SG-1: played with: the very advanced aliens, the Asgard, that have problems with the Replicators absorbing Energy Weapon rendering all their weapons useless. Commonly, once an Asgard ship is infested with Replicators, the Asgard just use the ships Self Destruct to destroy them. The Asgard then contact the Tauri who use regular old bullets to smash up the little robots since they can't absorb kinetic energy.
  • Stargate Atlantis subverted: a soldier with a personal shield held off an entire Marine squad continuously laying small arms fire into the shield for about thirty seconds, until the shield failed. Thus proving that whatever the situation, something will die if you shoot it enough.
  • Star Trek: The Borg shields adapt to normal phasers and other energy weapons. Many times it's not so much that the Borg start as being Immuneto Bullets, but become that way.
  • Power Rangers Time Force, a for-hire defense force called the Silver Guardians often arrives before the Rangers do. Invariably, they are able to dispense with some of the Mecha-Mooks but the Monster of the Week and/or The Dragon (whichever is present) are another story entirely and the Guardians are having the daylights bashed out them by the time the Rangers arrive. And they return again the next week with the same weapons and tactics, still not having learned their lesson.
  • LOST episode "The Shape of Things to Come," at least one of the ex-military mercenaries fires at the monster, which is composed of thick black smoke. Naturally, it doesn't do much except get the guy killed.

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