Action Duo

Believe it or not, the Badass and Action Survivor aren't so different that they can't share the spotlight in the same story together.

When both are paired they create an Action Duo similar to Sensitive Guy and Manly Man and Red Oni, Blue Oni; only these two will be practically opposites in just about every possible trait, most notably combat skill. The Badass is of course Made of Iron, skilled at brawling and shooting, and brave enough to wade through any firefight. However, he will often be saddled by the plot with baby-sitting the Action Survivor, who can (at best) run and dodge extremely well, through endless firefights that may be targeted at him.

If the Non-Action Guy at least manages to compensate by being The Smart Guy, you have Brains and Brawn. On the other hand, if the Badass sacrificed a basic skill for their awesome training, the Action Survivor will help round them out. Expect these disparities and constant action to make them Vitriolic Best Buds. However, if they're compatible enough with each other in that they each manage to kick equal amounts of ass, they're probably Bash Brothers.

The plot usually requires the Badass either protect the Action Survivor as they try to escape a Closed Circle, or with an Escort Mission with the Survivor as a Living MacGuffin. Occasionally, the Survivor takes up the role of Side Kick and "sells" his skills as useful to the Badass on his mission. They usually form a working partnership, even becoming friends.

A common portrayal is playing the two as Short-Range Guy, Long-Range Guy pair- normally with the badass being a short range fighter and the action survivor supporting from cover. The roles can occasionally be reversed, however: A Cold Sniper handing his Bumbling Sidekick an ax and using him as Zombie Bait is not unheard of.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • Yorick Brown and his bodyguard Agent 355 in Y: The Last Man. She kicks ass; he opens handcuffs and locked doors and quotes pop culture.

Literature
  • In several of the Vorkosigan Saga novels, Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan Vorpatril make up this team: Miles does the strategic thinking while Ivan is dragooned into helping him and doing the physical stuff which the brittle-boned Miles can't.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin and Cira become this. While she's good at fighting, Jerin is very talented at sleight of hand and lockpicking. While he was just kidnapped, and needs to escape, she got herself into the action intentionally.
  • In Fire and Hemlock, Polly and Tom are this, which Polly insisting that she's a hero in training and he's her mentor, while he is a rather reluctant hero. She wants him to kill dragons, while he thinks that a bit much, and would prefer to tame them, anyway. They eventually compromise on a giant who is not killed, but chased away in the end.
  • In Books And Braun, Mr Books is actually the archivist, which doesn't stop secret agent Eliza from dragging him with her when new adventures call - the reason she met him is because he unwittingly got into trouble and she was sent to rescue him. She learnt to value his intellect on this occasion.

Live-Action TV
  • From the first, there is a lot of tension and distrust between Firefly's Mal and Simon. Despite the distrust, when Simon is about to let himself be killed for his sister in "Safe" Mal comes in leading the team in a rescue party, demanding they let the two go. When Mal is in danger in "War Stories" Simon's aim is too poor to be of any help but he still manages to survive.