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[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/SleepingBeauty http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mooks_92.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:As brainless as they are servile.]]

->''"They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to."''
-->-- '''Creator/TerryPratchett''', ''Discworld/GuardsGuards''

A slang term for the hordes of standard-issue, disposable bad guys whom TheHero [[FoeTossingCharge mows]] [[PutTheirHeadsTogether down]] with [[MoralDissonance impunity.]] Deadly, competent, loyal, abundant... pick any two.

Also called "baddies", [[FacelessGoons "goons"]], "scrubs", [[AttackDrone "drones"]], [[BitPartBadguys "small fry"]], [[FlunkyBoss "flunkies"]], [[TabletopGame/{{Chess}} "pawns"]], "toadies", "grunts", [[EvilMinions "minions"]], [[SycophanticServant "lackeys"]], "underlings", [[HenchmenRace "henchpersons"]], and [[CannonFodder "cannon fodder"]]. In Japanese videogame jargon, they're known as "zako" or "small fry". The actual term "mook" presumably comes from Hong Kong Cinema, and takes its name from the ''mook jong'', the wooden training dummies used in Wing Chun, whose only function is to get hit. In Hong Kong movie circles, they're often called "three-hit men," in reference to [[RuleOfThree how many hits it takes]] to put them down, though the actual number of hits varies.

It's a thankless job, to be sure, but ''somebody's'' gotta do it. Enter the humble mook.

[[TropesAreTools Mooks play an important role]], as without someone to fight on a constant basis, an action movie/show/game would have a lot less action. If every single minion your hero ever runs into has a personality, then the pacing of the show would slow to a crawl and QuirkyMinibossSquad, TheDragon, and the BigBad would not feel as unique in comparison. Thus, mooks serve as {{Filler}} and a backdrop to the truly climactic moments of an action franchise while also ensuring that in-between things are kept lively. In VideoGames, they may also double as a ready source of ExperiencePoints, [[MoneySpider gold]], and recovery items for the player.

In addition to accentuating the real villains, mooks also help establish the heroes, especially their combat skills, as their lack of [[NominalImportance an identity]] allows them to be beaten, mauled, shot or otherwise [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential disposed of in creative ways]] without guilt. TheHero might find it in his heart to SaveTheVillain, forgive him, even [[DefeatMeansFriendship accept him into his inner circle]], but the guys whose only crime is not finding a better employer [[WhatMeasureIsAMook will be shown no mercy]] (although [[MookFaceTurn exceptions apply]]). Next to PunchClockVillain, but usually more faceless, this is one of the tropes most liable to JustFollowingOrders, a fact that may be pointed up in order to reduce MoralDissonance about their disposability.

It's rarely explained just ''why'' they're willing to fight and die for villains who want to destroy the world, or what they get in return. [[SortingAlgorithmOfMortality Their life expectancy is on a level with that of the average mayfly]], and you have to wonder [[SignedUpForTheDental why they took the job in the first place]], especially if master is abusing them [[BadBoss as much if not more than the heroes]]. Depending on [[IControlMyMinionsThrough just who/what they are fighting for]], the plausibility of this can vary.

Being AcceptableTargets by definition, sometimes mooks serve as ([[VillainDecay or devolve into]]) outright [[GoldfishPoopGang comic relief]] rather than an ''actual'' menace by being [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy dimwitted]], [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffective]], [[LethalKlutz clumsy]], [[TooDumbToLive a genuine danger to themselves]] or [[HoistByHisOwnPetard just plain unlucky]]. Despite all this, some may [[BreakoutMookCharacter get their own moments in the spotlight]] or become [[MookPromotion genuine villains in their own right]].

Except where noted in some of the subcategories, it is generally considered [[LawOfConservationOfDetail "bad form"]] for mooks to be given any sort of detailed backstory or personality (beyond broad strokes). Put another way, for the purposes of heroes continuing to be seen as heroes, and to avoid a major mood swing, mooks generally have no girl/boyfriends, children, parents, grandparents; they don't belong to church groups or non-profits that might miss them; they don't spend part of their day looking forward to what's on TV tonight (never to see the show because they're about to die), and they generally die quick, semi-painless deaths (blood and gore optional). Mooks are rarely female, and if they are, they generally don't fall into the "gorgeous" category because you don't want the viewer/reader to become attached to a character the hero is about to kill (''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'' is a noted example where this rule is broken, and 35 years later ''Film/JamesBond'' fans still criticize the decision to have Bond murder Caroline Munro's helicopter-flying babe). There are, of course, exceptions, either to make a MoodWhiplash and ponder about the nature of violence, establish the protagonist as a ruthless AntiHero, or [[PlayedForLaughs briefly acknowledge that the mooks have lives and personal affairs]] but [[ComedicSociopathy they're so trite and cliche that they deserve no sympathy anyway.]]

Not to be mistaken with a certain racial slur, or the tentacled aliens from the ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'' series (although they themselves qualify), or the purple bird-like creature from Princess Comet (although he is also a mook in this sense).

[[folder:Click here to vanquish the army of Mook subtropes]]

Specific variations include:
* AdorableEvilMinions (cute Mooks)
* AirborneMook (flight-based Mooks)
* AquaticMook (water-based Mooks)
* BanditMook (Mooks who steal things from you)
* BossInMookClothing (looks like a Mook, fights like a Boss)
* CowardlyMooks: (Mooks that flee from battle)
* DoomTroops (Mooks whose signature is their fear factor, regardless of strength or status)
* EliteMooks (puts up a much better fight than the others, but still a Mook)
* EvilMinions (non-combat Mooks)
* FacelessGoons (Mooks without distinct facial features, making it easier to mow them down without feeling bad about it)
* FakeUltimateMook (looks tough, but it's not)
* GasMaskMooks (wear gas masks over their faces)
* GiantMook (bigger and tougher, but still a Mook)
* HeavilyArmoredMook (Mooks equipped with heavy armor)
* HelpfulMook (a Mook that ends up helping you somehow, intentionally or not)
* InvincibleMinorMinion (can't be hurt by you at all)
* KingMook (scaled-up, boss version of a Mook)
* KungFuProofMook (a Mook who is immune to a certain form of attack, but not others)
* MascotMook (marketable Mooks)
* MechaMooks (robots, machines, just about anything mechanical)
* MiniMook (smaller than normal Mooks)
* MooksAteMyEquipment (Mooks that eat your stuff)
* MookBouncer (a Mook who teleports enemies)
* MookLieutenant (regular Mooks take orders from this guy)
* MookMedic (heals others)
* NightOfTheLivingMooks (the undead)
* NocturnalMooks (Mooks who only show up during nighttime)
* PatrollingMook (Mooks who patrol a certain area)
* PlantMooks (Mooks grown in a garden)
* PlayerMooks (playable Mooks)
* PunchClockVillain (fights for the villains, but is not a villain)
* PushyMooks (Mooks that push you into hazards)
* ReplacementMooks (Boss gets new Mooks)
* ShieldBearingMook (carry shields and even attack with them)
* SlaveMooks (Mooks that were enslaved and forced to work for the enemy)
* SmashMook (Mooks who AttackAttackAttack)
* StealthyMook (Mooks who specialize in stealth, in some cases even having invisibility powers)
* SuperPoweredMooks (supers with red shirts)

Other related tropes:
* ActuallyFourMooks (a [[PreexistingEncounters squad of Mooks]] is represented by [[PartyInMyPocket one individual]] on the overworld)
* ArtifactMook (a Mook that looks out-of-place, thematically or contextually)
* BreakoutMookCharacter (one exceptional Mook rises above the ranks and becomes his own character)
* DancingMookCredits (credits featuring amusing Mooks)
* EvenMooksHaveLovedOnes
* KeystoneArmy (when the Mooks are subject to a fatal InstantWinCondition)
* MillionMookMarch (large number of Mooks displayed in one grand march)
* MinionMaster (the Player Character gets their own Mooks)
* MooksButNoBosses (the game only features Mooks as enemies)
* MookCarryover (Mooks get a new Boss)
* MookChivalry (only one Mook atacks at a time)
* MookCommander (this kind of enemy strengthens mooks passively)
* MookDebutCutscene (fancy way to introduce Mooks)
* MookDepletion (a villain discovers he no longer has reserves)
* MookFaceTurn (a Mook that pulls a HeelFaceTurn)
* MookHorrorShow (a Mook massacre)
* MookMaker (spawn Mooks)
* MookMobile (standard craft piloted by Mooks)
* MookPromotion (a regular Mook that eventually upgrades into a villain of its own)
* MultiMookMelee (a boss fight against a large number of Mooks at once)
* SetAMookToKillAMook (turn Mooks against one another)
* UniformityException (one of these Mooks is not like the others)
* WhatMeasureIsAMook (Mook lives are morally irrelevant)


This trope is the EvilCounterpart of the RedshirtArmy, which are Mooks on the good side. Similar to but not to be confused with their non-combat brother EvilMinions (likewise the RedshirtArmy with the RedShirt). Occasionally, it turns out they were NotAlwaysEvil. If a "character" who would otherwise qualify as a Mook is disqualified because he's apparently acting on his own, you have a BitPartBadGuy.

Also Compare [[MeatPuppet Meat Puppets]] when biological mooks are directly controlled via DemonicPossession, MindControl, or similar.

In Video Games, mooks tend to be slightly more powerful, and able to at least hurt the hero, if not kill him a few times. However, 9 times out of 10, the hero has a HealingFactor (more often objects used to heal than spontaneous healing) while the mooks stay hurt forever. Also, while the hero can restart if he/she dies, the mooks (usually) only die once per level, and when the level is restarted, they usually do the exact same thing they did before.

If they're lucky, mooks may very occasionally get [[MookPromotion promoted]] to the status of a more major villain. The heroes may also be able to [[HeelFaceTurn persuade them over to the good side]], in which case they have performed a MookFaceTurn. Humanizing mooks is a basic technique of {{Deconstruction}}. In some VideoGames, [[MookDebutCutscene certain kinds of mooks will have a special introduction when they appear for the first time.]]

Armies of mooks are ''not always'' but usually [[MenAreTheExpendableGender overwhelmingly male]]. Typically, killing or harming even ''one'' nameless female tends to twist an audience's sympathies differently than the effect of the same to a male. As your protagonist escapes the fortress of doom, you don't want the audience worrying about the mooks being taken out or hurt. In video games however, all-male mook armies are usually there for an entirely pragmatic reason, since including random female enemies would be requiring constructing entirely new character models for characters the player won't interact with outside of killing them.

If the mooks also provide romantic services, this may overlap with PaidHarem.

When supposedly elite fighters in large number are less competent together than a man alone, it's ConservationOfNinjutsu.

'''Note #1:''' With respect to media (particularly anime), a "mook" can also refer to a Japanese publication which is a hybrid of a magazine and a book.

'''Note #2:''' It's also a mostly obsolete racial slur against Italians, so use with caution.

'''Note #3 (to Tropers):''' Mooks refer specifically to easily-killed ''bad guys.'' If you're looking for easily-killed ''good guys,'' you want RedShirtArmy.


%%If you have time, please take time to put examples in alphabetical order. This page Administrivia/HowToAlphabetizeThings should help you with that.
!!Example subpages:

* Mooks/AnimeAndManga
* Mooks/ComicBooks
* Mooks/{{Film}}
* Mooks/{{Literature}}
* Mooks/LiveActionTV
* Mooks/TabletopRPG
* Mooks/VideoGames
* Mooks/WebComics
* Mooks/WesternAnimation

!!Other examples:

[[folder:Card Games]]
* Vs. System has army characters that are generally mooks given they can get killed off quickly and lack uniqueness because you can only have 1 copy of non-Army characters like Spider-Man on the field; army characters are replaceable. Some examples are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Doom Bots, and Sentinels. Also, army characters do not have any restriction whatsoever in deck construction, whereas any other card is restricted to 4 copies (at most).
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has creature tokens, which are creatures who aren't even worth having their own card. By default, creature tokens' names are also their creature type, and if they leave play they simply cease to exist. They rarely have abilities, and those they do have are typically keyword abilities ("Flying," versus, "Any creature able to block this creature must do so."). They are also typically created in large numbers, either via a one shot deal creating two or more, or by a repeatable effect squeezing out one each turn. Creature tokens didn't have any sort of official representation until Magic Online needed some standardized way to represent them, and then they weren't printed in paper for years afterward.
** Each Color has their own flavor of {{Mooks}}: Green has [[AlienKudzu Saprolings]] (it used to be ''[[http://goo.gl/P0Eiv squirrels]]''), Black has [[ZombieApocalypse Zombies]], Red has Goblins, White has Soldiers, while Blue has whatever is assigned as Blue creatures in the settings. Green is the biggest offender when it comes to spawning endless hordes of {{Mooks}}.
* ''[[TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}} Super Munchkin]]'' has the "Wimpy Thugs", "More Wimpy Thugs" and "Still more Wimpy Thugs" monsters. "3,872 Orks" from the original game might count since they are the only monster going in hordes.
* ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'' features decks for the villains that summon mooks to help the villain do their dirty work. Depending on who the players are fighting against, the number of mooks in the deck vary from few in number to half of the deck. Villains who rely on theirs mooks as a part of their deck's strategy include Baron Blade, Citizen Dawn, Grand Warlord Voss, the Dreamer, Omnitron, La Captian, the Chairman, the Matriarch, and Gloomweaver.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* The Decepticon Seekers from ''[[http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/transformers-fan-fiction/828948-transformers-meta-12.html Transformers Meta]]''.
* ''Fanfic/FriendshipIsMagicalGirls'': The Infestation, a swarm of cockroach-like Changelings, are introduced as just another MonsterOfTheWeek during the Magic Arc. When they return during the Loyalty Arc, however, the [=MotW=] format has mostly been dropped, at which point they're repurposed by [[TheDragon Eskarrg]] to serve this role, due to their numbers. He actually refers to them as "cannon fodder" at one point.

* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TA-QJ2d3kk&playnext_from=TL&videos=5HHk7A68tmY He only has one line, but saves the day... ]] A dedication to {{Anime}} {{mooks}} in particular.
---> "Never know what role I'll play, but for today I'm Soldier A!"

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* The members of the croc fraternity Zeeba Zeeba Eata from ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'' are these, with the added twist that they ''kill themselves'' rather than others killing them.

* Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Pinball/{{Raven}}'' has an army of unnamed southeast Asian soldiers whose only purpose is to be gunned down.
* ''Pinball/AmericasMostHaunted'' has the Ghost Minions, an easily-defeated enemy geared towards casual players.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Dr. Cube's minions and Mung Wun, the Thai Fly's children in Wrestling/KaijuBigBattel.
* Most of the lower ranking members of [[TheGeneralissimo Generalissmo]] [[Wrestling/NobuhikoTakada Takada]] Monster Army in Wrestling/FightingOperaHUSTLE.
* The Age Of The Fall's last grasp at credibility involved Wrestling/JimmyJacobs leading a mass of anonymous masked men.
* The Guardians of Truth were mooks for The House Of Truth in Wrestling/RingOfHonor.
* The Latino Nation for LAX, The Latin American Exchange(Xchange), in Wrestling/{{TNA}}
* The Flood of Wrestling/{{Chikara}}'s main gimmick was being made up of [[LegionOfDoom numerous rudos throughout the promotion's history]], but they still had masked mooks just to swell their numbers even further.[[/folder]]

* Lots of the stuff that gets summoned in ''Roleplay/DestroyTheGodmodder'' falls squarely into this category. Sometimes with entire armies getting wiped out in one shot by relatively weak entities.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Meyer Security guards in ''WebVideo/DoorMonster'''s [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uam0KMyZh2E&index=3&list=PL0u5ZHidq4X4QhFAX9FzSiYJLRen74sLF The Guards Themselves]].
* In the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, the main characters get to leave their SuperHeroSchool Whateley Academy and travel into Boston for the day... only to face The Necromancer and his homicidal QuirkyMinibossSquad, along with a couple hundred mooks who are nameless and somewhat faceless. The Necromancer has lived up to his name by animating hundreds of corpses, and Phase has to fight them in the sewers underneath Boston. Only she doesn't have a flashlight.
** Clearly the writer had just played ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3''.
** Leading to one of the funnier but more horrific sequences. Phase is worried about getting zombie gunk over her/him, and is informed s/he's probably okay. Just... "make sure to get cremated when you die."
* Junior's black-suited henchmen from ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''. Debuting in the "Yellow" trailer, they acted like Junior's bodyguards and faced Yang after she barged into the place. Cue CurbstompBattle with them in the stomping end. Later they reappeared this time working for Roman Torchwick in robbing a shop and faced Ruby. They didn't fare any better, too much to Roman's chagrin ([[SarcasmMode "You were worth every cent, truly you were.")]] After Roman became an ally of White Fang, he began to employ the organization's goons as his muscle. They didn't prove to be an improvement over Roman's previous underlings.
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': The Darkness counterparts are Psycho Man's mooks.
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': The Master of the Dammed's [[ALoadOfBull minotaurs]] patroled the Unworld, looking for anyone who is acting up.

* Creator/DavidFosterWallace, in his 1998 essay on the porn industry "Big Red Son", notes that "mook" is industry jargon for the paying customers of porn. Whether it comes from the Hong Kong movie term or is a corruption of "[[TheMark mark]]" he doesn't say.