An underling fails, so their employer hires the best man (or woman) to get the job done- usually played out by villainous characters, who suffer a bitter and humiliating defeat at the hands of the hero by proxy, when the hero defeats their champion
. Enraged at their defeat, they do not engage the heroes face to face themselves, but use their financial means to acquire the toughest specialists money can buy, to settle the score. The expert may be Only in It for the Money
, but some are actually interested in the prospect of a Worthy Opponent
to test their mettle. If the expert is soon defeated or killed despite their expertise, he (or she) is The World's Expert on Getting Killed
Subtrope of Hired Guns
. Contrast Sorting Algorithm of Evil
, compare Cast the Expert
Anime and Manga
- In YuYu Hakusho's Spirit Detective arc, Yukina was held prisoner in Gonzo Tarukane's mansion in the outskirts of Tokyo in order to avoid detection by law enforcement. Since his subordinates were not able to make Yukina cry to get her tears hardened as crystal gems, Tarukane arranged to make contact with the Toguro brothers, known in the underworld as the leaders of the Apparition Gang that specializes in anything requested by their clients, including the use of torture methods towards demons. They succeed.
- In Diggstown Gabriel Caine bets John Gillon that boxer "Honey" Roy Palmer can defeat ten local boxers in 24 hours. Gillon does not trust the local amateurs to get the job done so for the final fight he brings in a Super Ringer "Hammerhead" Hagan, a professional boxer who has beaten Palmer before. He then tries to do it again but Caine actually paid off the new expert to throw the fight.
- Gorgeous. Jackie Chan vs. an expert kickboxer hired by the Big Bad that used to be his friend.
- Hard Times. As Chaney beats Gandil's bald prizefighter, Gandil hires Street, the top fighter from Chicago to square things out.
- Done twice in Kung Fu Hustle by the Axe Gang: First they hired the blind Musical Assassins to get rid of the three kung fu masters (Tailor, Coolie and Donut) in the Pig Sty Alley after their mooks are soundly beaten by the three. The musicians manage to do it, but then they face the Landlord and Landlady who are secretly kung fu masters too, and they soundly beat the musicians. Then the Axe Gang hires The Beast, an infamous bloodthirsty kungfu master that has locked himself up in an asylum, to fight the couple.
- Moonraker. The villain Drax orders The Dragon Chang to kill James Bond. Chang fails repeatedly and Bond finally kills him. Drax then hires Jaws to finish the job.
- Once Upon a Time in China. The Saho thugs hire out Iron Shirt Yim, a down-and-out martial arts master, to combat Wong Fei Hung.
- Done twice in The Muppet Movie. Doc Hopper hires Professor Krassman to brainwash Kermit. When he fails, Hopper hires Snake Walker to assassinate Kermit.
- The Sting. After Hooker and his partners con one of Lonegan's numbers runners out of the money he was carrying, Lonegan puts out a hit on them. When two of his underlings fail to kill Hooker, Lonegan has the assassin Salino assigned to get rid of him.
- Several 1970's Shaw Brothers kung-fu films had the villain suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of the Hero, resulting in them hiring outside martial arts experts to do their fighting for them, usually foreign experts from other parts of China or Asia.
- Way of the Dragon. Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris (who plays an expert martial artist hired by the Big Bad).
- On Believe Skouras does not believe that the FBI is capable of bringing Bo back to him so he hires a mercenary to find her. When the mercenary fails, Skouras enlists another powerful psychic to locate Bo and neutralize her protectors.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "What's My Line? Part 1" Spike brings in a trio of assassin demons to kill Buffy.
Dalton: Uh, yes, but... The Order of Taraka, I mean... isn't that overkill?
Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill.
- The A-Team episode "Deadly Maneuvers" had a syndicate of crime lords pay Major Douglas Kyle to assemble a Dream Team of mercenaries to hunt down the A-Team.
- Dragaera series novel Yendi. The Jhereg crime boss Laris arranges for several attempts on the life of the protagonist Vlad Taltos, but they fail each time. He finally gets serious and hires the Sword and the Dagger of the Jhereg, two expert assassins, to take care of Vlad.
- In Gangsters 2: Vendetta it was possible to hire professional hitmen to deal with rival mob leaders. Their services always came with a hefty price tag, however.
- In the mission "You Lucky Bastard!" of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, Don Salieri repeatedly sends Tommy and other family hitmen to assassinate Don Morello's brother—but after they fail three times in a row, he calls them off and hires a pair of freelance Professional Killers. These also fail, however, so Tommy kicks subtlety to the curb, chases the man down, kills all of his bodyguards, and just shoots him in the head.
- Thundarr the Barbarian. In the episode "Battle of the Barbarians", an evil wizard hires another barbarian to help him defeat Thundarr.