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[[quoteright:290:[[Film/{{Thunderball}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thunderball3.jpg]]]]

->''"Man, your timing really doesn't suck."''
-->-- '''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'''

The hero is cornered. His back is to the wall, his gun is out of ammo, he's bleeding from at least one wound, and the bad guy has him dead to rights. Perhaps the hero is hanging from a ledge by his fingertips with a bad-guy standing over him, and the bad guy is about to play a round of "[[HandStomp stomp the fingers]]". Whatever the case, things look bad for the hero.

But just before the mook can end both the hero and the franchise, one of the hero's allies shoots the mook [[InTheBack from behind]] (or runs him through with a sword, or [[TapOnTheHead hits him over the head]] with something heavy) and thus takes out the mook. Regardless of means, someone has just come to the hero's rescue.

Often involves Version A of BaitAndSwitchGunshot, or in some cases ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice. A variation on BigDamnHeroes, sister trope of ThwartedCoupDeGrace. Compare StabTheScorpion and TheCavalry.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In one of the few real fight scenes in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' Kai which isn't just a CurbStompBattle, one of the girls is cornered by a bad guy, and then Keiichi hits him from behind. Of course, [[spoiler: that was just part of act one of the fight, and in act two they all die, [[GroundhogDayLoop ''again''.]]]]
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', Vegeta saves Gohan and Krillin in this manner in their fight against Guldo. Despite being significantly stronger than him, the two Earthlings find themselves trapped by Guldo's time-stoppage abilities, and he is about to finish them off when Vegeta jumps in and slices Guldo's head clean off.
** He also saves Goku in this manner when the good guys are fighting Android #19.
** Does it again in the non-serial movie ''Anime/TheReturnOfCooler'' when he saves Goku from being choked to death by Cooler.
** He does it again at the climax of the battle with Perfect Cell, allowing Gohan to turn the tide in their BeamOWar struggle.
** In fact, for a guy that spends half of the time banging on about his noble blood, and the importance of pride and honour in battle, Vegeta sure does like to fight dirty.
** Vegeta's not the only one who does this, though. In the non-serial movie ''Anime/CoolersRevenge'', after Cooler is defeated, [[DragonTheirFeet Salza reveals he's still alive]] and is about to attack Gohan and the exhausted Goku, but proceeds to eat a Special Beam Cannon through his back courtesy of Piccolo.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler: Madoka is about to sign a contract with Kyubey to help Sayaka at the end of episode 8, when suddenly, time freezes, and the next thing you see is a frozen Kyubey with holes shot through him, resulting in a [[StunnedSilence ...the heck just happened?"]] reaction if you're watching for the first time. We then find this was caused by Homura, who stopped Madoka just in time by shooting Kyubey.]]
* The Council likes to do this to the heroes in ''Manga/FairyTail''. They make a point of showing up ''right after'' the villain has been defeated, ''twice''. One time just to question the guild, another to issue a life sentence to two people who just helped save the day.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'', when the anachronic storyline finally gets around to showing us some context on [[AwesomeMcCoolName Jacuzzi Splot]] it's to see him in an alley, reasonably enough but a little overeffusively cowering and weeping in front of three guys with guns, begging them to put the guns down. They're rather puzzled because they were expecting a badass. Then it gets weird.
-->'''Jacuzzi:''' Please, ''I don't want to kill you!''
-->'''Mook:''' Huh? Isn't it, you don't want to be killed by us?
-->'''Jacuzzi:''' No...I don't want you to be killed! So please...Donny...I'm sure they're going to put the guns down now...there's no need...
** And then a giant crushes one of them and an ActionGirl cuts their throats, from behind. Jacuzzi has pals.
* In the movies of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', during the Zeon infiltration of White Base, Amuro has just been sprung from his holding cell by Ryu Jose and is on his way to take control of the Gundam when he is waylaid by a Zeon soldier. Things look bad, as the two fight over a gun, a shot it heard and the soldier drops. Standing behind him with the smoking gun is Bright Noa.
* In ''LightNovel/TheFamiliarOfZero'', Cromwell uses his hypnotic ring to take control of Kirche and Tabitha. Cromwell starts gloating that as long as he has the ring, nobody can oppose him... then Guiche smashes a stick over his head from behind and knocks him out.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' does this in almost every big fight.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* There were a ''lot'' of times early in ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' when some villain had three members of the group at gunpoint or otherwise at his mercy, but got attacked from behind by the Invisible Woman before he could fire.
* {{Comicbook/Hitman}}: How do you out-shoot the fastest gun in the world? [[spoiler: Have your buddy sneak up behind him and blow his head off.]]
* In the third issue of {{Monstress}}, Kippa draws attention away from the friendly human woman Emilia just before the Cumaea can kill her baby for harboring Arcanics. Master Ren draws attention away from Kippa, but the Cumaea surround them both. Kippa is backed up against a tree, surrounded by Cumaea mooks. She fights back, but is no match for them. Then suddenly, one of the Cumaea's unicorn steeds comes running at them, bleeding, in pain, and frenzied, and it soon becomes clear that someone ''tore off its horn''. Cue the Cumaea Elite Mook being [[MomentOfAwesome gored through the neck]] [[BigDamnHeroes by the horn Maika ripped from the unicorn's forehead and threw like a javelin.]]

[[folder: Fan Fic ]]
* In FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire, during the climax of the St. Galleria arc, Auggie is saved from three members of the [[spoiler: Archbishop Guard]] like this.
* This happens twice to [[Anime/MaiHime Mai]] in Chapter 19 of ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated''. At the beginning of the chapter, while she is fighting with [[spoiler:Shiho, whom she is unable to take offensive action against lest Yuuichi die]], she is saved by [[spoiler:Yukino]] intervening and knocking her opponent out. Later that chapter, she encounters [[spoiler:Bachiko and Meiko]], but [[spoiler:Mikoto]] arrives and defeats them, killing them in the process. Much earlier, Mai and Natsuki are saved from Hitomi when [[spoiler:Shizuru]] destroys Hitomi's Child.
* In ''Fanfic/CrossedPaths'', Demongo beats down a disarmed Samurai Jack. As he gloats, [[spoiler:Rarity levitates Jack's sword and kills him with it.]]

[[folder: Film ]]
* During the fight on top of the [[RecycledINSPACE space drill]] in ''Film/StarTrek'', Kirk is hanging off the edge with a Romulan standing over him, trying to stomp on Kirk's fingers. Sulu comes to the rescue by running the Romulan through with his sword.
* ''Film/JudgeDredd'':
** An extreme example occurs where this trope occurs not once, but twice ''in the same scene.'' During the confrontation with the desert cannibals. Toward the end of the fight, Dredd is about to be speared by the patriarch of the cannibal clan, when the bad guy is killed by a shot from the "cleanup team" sent to make sure that Dredd didn't survive. After the ensuing shoot-out, Dredd is again cornered only to have his attacker shotgunned by Judge Fargo, Dredd's mentor. Fargo is then literally skewered seconds later after saying hello by the cyborg cannibal.
** And at the climax of that same movie, Dredd is hanging by his fingertips, with the recently-deceased BigBad's mad scientist henchman standing over him with a gun, gloating about shooting him. Cue the BaitAndSwitchGunshot as Judge Hershey, Dredd's partner, shoots the scientist from behind, saving his life. Using this trope three times in one movie may well qualify for some sort of record.
* Handled much more conservatively in the newer adaptation ''Film/{{Dredd}}''. The timing is a little off here, so Dredd has to stall his intended killer for a few seconds before Judge Anderson can show up from behind and blow the guy away.
* Happens at the end of ''Film/MenInBlack''. After they think that Edgar is dead and are relaxing for a moment, he lurks in the background and then leaps up to kill them. Before they can react, L shoots him.
* ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'':
** Marion Ravenwood knocks out a mook from behind with a burning log during the bar fight near the beginning just as he's about to shoot Indiana Jones.
** She does this sort of thing again later during the fight on and around the Nazi plane. A German pilot is about to shoot Indy when he's hit over the back of the head, and we see Marion Ravenwood lifting some airplane wheel chocks triumphantly.
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''
** Occurs during the attack on Port Royal at the beginning of [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl first film]].
-->'''Pirate:''' SAY GOODBYE!
-->'''*pirate is incapacitated*'''
-->'''Will:''' [[BondOneLiner ...Goodbye!]]
** The [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides fourth movie]] has Jack cornered by a redcoat when Teague steps out of the shadows and shoots the guy.
* From ''Franchise/StarWars'':
-->'''Darth Vader:''' I have you now.
--> (One of Vader's wing-men explodes.)
-->'''Darth Vader:''' What?!
-->( Shot of Millennium Falcon coming out of sun.)
-->'''Han Solo:''' Yahoo!
-->'''Tie Fighter Pilot:''' Look out! (Tries to turn but crashes into Vader's ship sending Vader spinning out of control and killing the tie fighter pilot).
-->'''Han Solo:''' You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home!
* Multiple times in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** In ''Film/TheFellowshipOfTheRing'', Lurtz (the [[EliteMooks Uruk-Hai]] captain) is about to finish off Boromir when Aragorn appears to fight him off. [[spoiler:It's too late for Boromir, though.]]
** ''Film/TheTwoTowers'' has a similar scene twice. After Merry and Pippin are captured, one of the orcs is about to kill a helpless Pippin, when he's suddenly stabbed from behind by a Rider of Rohan. A short time later, the same orc has Merry at his mercy ... and is promptly [[WhenTreesAttack stepped on from behind by Treebeard.]]
** ''Film/TheReturnOfTheKing'' features a scene where it seems Frodo (captured, naked, bound, weaponless, and Ringless) is about to be killed by an Orc:
-->'''Orc:''' I'm gonna bleed you like a stuck pig!
-->[Orc [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice gets run through]] with [[CoolSword Sting]], wielded by Sam]
-->'''Sam:''' [[DodgeThis Not if I stick you first.]]
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'', Trinity does this twice for Neo during the RooftopConfrontation:
** First she saves him by throwing a knife at a mook who sneaked up behind him with a gun.
** Shortly after she performs her the famous DodgeThis on one of the agents who is about to shoot Neo from close range.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'', Russ Cargill is about to shoot Homer when a boulder falls on his head and knocks him out, [[LittleMissBadass courtesy of little Maggie]].
* Done in ''Film/BladeRunner'' when Deckard has lost his HandCannon, Leon picks him up and says, "Time to die..." ...only to get [[BoomHeadshot shot in the head]] by Rachel from behind, who has picked up the gun.
* ''Film/{{Thunderball}}''. As Largo is about to shoot Film/JamesBond, Domino shoots him from behind with [[HarpoonGun a speargun]].
* In ''Film/DragonballEvolution'', Mai is chasing Bulma and about to deal a killing blow when [[spoiler: Yamcha shoots her from behind]]. A deleted, alternate version of that scene actually has her [[spoiler: impaled by shrapnel, but still taken out by Yamcha]].
* The 2010 remake of ''Film/TheCrazies'' has this happen. Again and again.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', when [[spoiler:Loki stabs Agent Coulson in the back, killing him and sparking the Avengers Initiative]].
* In ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', Kurse has Thor on the ropes, and then [[spoiler:Loki]] impales Kurse from behind with his own spear and [[spoiler:[[HoistByHisOwnPetard activates the black hole grenade on his belt]].]]
* Near the end of ''Film/HungerGames'', Clove managed to get the best of Katniss and was just about to kill her when Thresh pulls her off Katniss and beats her to death against the Cornucopia, before leaving without attacking Katniss.
-->'''Thresh:''' Just this time, Twelve. For Rue.
* At the end of the 1973 story in ''Film/CloudAtlas'', when Smoke has Luisa and Napier cornered at gunpoint, the latter having run out of ammo. Just before he pulls the trigger, the Mexican woman [[LaserGuidedKarma whose dog Smoke had shot]] [[TapOnTheHead hits him over the head with a large tool]].
* In ''Film/{{Unknown 2011}}'', when Martin is about to be strangled by the hitman at Gina's place, Gina [[BigDamnHeroes comes to his aid]] and rams the syringe into the hitman's neck.
* ''Film/MazeRunnerTheScorchTrials'' has one of the guys in the hideout attempting to shoot Thomas and the gang, only to dramatically fall forward, revealing that he'd been shot in the back by Brenda.
* The climactic action scene in the first ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop'' sequel ends with Taggart shooting Karla in the back before she can shoot Axl.
* In the 1994 French film ''La fille de d'Artagnan'' ("[=D'Artagnan=]'s Daughter") the Big Bad has the titular heroine (Sophie Marceau) at his mercy and is about to deliver the ''coup de grâce'' when he suddenly notices a sword-point emerging from his own chest -- courtesy of [[PapaWolf her father]] [[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers d'Artagnan]] (Philippe Noiret).
* In the 2016 remake of ''[[TheMagnificentSeven2016 The Magnificent Seven]]'', this trope is combined with a BaitAndSwitchGunshot. While Chisholm is monologuing and prolonging Bogue's strangulation, Bogue is busily fishing a derringer out of his pocket with which to shoot Chisholm. Emma shows up just in time to shoot Bogue before Bogue can shoot Chisholm. Played with in that [[ActionGirl Emma]] comes up behind Chisholm and not Bogue in order to deliver the fatal shot.

[[folder: Literature]]
* Happens more than once in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', ending the following fights: Rand vs Be'lal, Rand vs Lanfear, Rand vs Rahvin, Nynaeve vs Moghedien (twice), Perrin vs Aram.
* This happens about [[OnceAnEpisode once a book]] in ''Literature/ThePendragonAdventure''.
* ''Literature/AlexRider'': Herod Sayle by Yassen Gregorovich with a bullet at the end of ''Stormbreaker''.
* ''Literature/TheWayOfKings'' (first book of ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''): Near the end of the book, Dalinar Kholin is losing an honor duel against an enemy Shardbearer (mostly due to the fact that Dalinar just finished having to fight through a large army) when Kaladin rescues him by stabbing the Shardbearer in the leg, slowing him enough for Dalinar to escape.

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Bronn saving the Hound and Pod saving Tyrion in "Blackwater".
** Sam is saved this way by both Ghost and Lord Commander Mormont in "Valar Dohaeris".
** Ygritte saves Tormund this way during their pillaging in "Breaker of Chains".
** It takes two of these to kill Karl Tanner. First, he is stabbed in the back by one of his victims then stabbed in the back of the head when he rounds on her.
** Grey Worm spears a Sons of the Harpy member who was about to slash Ser Barristan Selmy's throat.
** A badly abused Theon Greyjoy does this to save Podrick Payne from a Bolton guard in "The Red Woman."
* In the final season of ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Jin is about to be attacked by some guys when [[spoiler:the long-lost Claire]] shows up out of the jungle and shoots them.
** In the series finale, [[spoiler: Kate shoots and fatally wounds the Man in Black in the back right before he can push his knife into Jack's neck. Of course, it only worked because Jack's plan with Desmond succeeded and rendered the Man in Black vulnerable.]]
* Happens in the new ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'', during the ''Battle of New Caprica''. ''Galactica'' is cornered by four Baseships, taking a heavy pounding, its point defence batteries failing and its FTL offline. The crew even realise that this is it. Camera zooms out...and shows a barrage of torpedoes heading for the nearest Baseship, the source being the Battlestar ''Pegasus''.
* ''Series/TheOC'': [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saEzQcayEPM #Mmmm whatcha say?#]] [[spoiler: Marisa shoots Trey while he is beating some other guy up]].
* The ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "Orpheus" has Faith do this to Connor before he gets to stab Angelus.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E19RequiemForMethuselah Requiem for Methuselah]]", Flint's guardian robot catches Kirk and Rayna together and prepares to fire. Kirk moves Rayna away and prepares for the attack. Then, pow! The robot explodes with sparks, and we see Spock standing in the doorway, phaser in hand.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS09E01IThinkImGonnaLikeItHere "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01)]], Dean stabs an angel in the back who has severely beaten Ezekiel.
* "[=EscApe=] From New York," the season five premiere of ''Series/PrettyLittleLiars'', sees [[spoiler: ''Aria'', of all people, doing this when Shana has Spencer, Emily, Hanna and Alison at gunpoint and is about to kill them in revenge for the Jenna thing; Aria hits Shana with [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Rifle]], and hits her again sending her off the stage to a DisneyVillainDeath]].

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/Uncharted3DrakesDeception''- [[spoiler: Young Drake is on a roof, his back to a corner. There's nowhere for him to run and one of Marlowe's men has him at gunpoint. Before the minion can shoot our hero, in comes Sully from behind who shoots him, takes Drake to a tavern and begins the lasting friendship we see in the series.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' Part 1 combines this with SurprisinglySuddenDeath, when KOS-MOS blasts through a wall to save Shion in the nick of time.
* Zidane saves [[spoiler:Squall]] in this manner in ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy''. Then he teases HIM for being a showoff
--> '''Zidane''': Stop trying to show off [[spoiler:Squall]]. You make the rest of us look bad.
* Elain attacks Lechuck this way with the cursed cutlass of Kaflu in ''VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland: Rise of the Pirate God'', but doesn't work as Lechuck had already absorbed so much power it didn't affect him.
* ''VideoGame/FreeSpace''; In the Inferno R1 mod, this is first played straight, then subverted. [[spoiler: The GTVA's Independence carrier pulls off a conveniently timed attack from behind the Earth Alliance's flagship, the EA Nemesis. Said Nemesis then did a precise nano-jump right behind the Independence and shoots the crap out of it.]]
* Played straight in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6N-UkOl5pU trailer]] for ''VideoGame/GuildWars: Prophecies''.
* In the final dungeon of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', Link is about to get hit by an arrow when "The Group" comes in with a ''bazooka''. FridgeLogic sets in when you remember that [[GameplayAndStorySegregation Link has survived much worse than a single arrow]], but still a cool scene.
* This trope saves you in [[spoiler: the lost city]] in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIII''.
* In the final cutscene of ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft II}}: Heart of the Swarm'', Kerrigan has finally arrived to deliver some long-desired {{Revenge}} upon Arcturus Mengsk, but he pulls out an unpleasant surprise ([[spoiler:the Xel'naga artifact from ''Wings of Liberty'']]), which he uses to subdue her, and begins inflicting ElectricTorture on the helpless queen, [[EvilGloating gloating about his deviousness]] and how his empire will overcome, when [[spoiler: Raynor]] smashes through the half-open door and [[PunchedAcrossTheRoom hurls Mengsk bodily across the room]].
--> [[spoiler: Raynor]]: Change of plans, Arcturus.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/TheMatrixPathOfNeo'' Neo doesn't actually need help, but the Witch NPC shows up and shotguns some mooks to death with a few [[BackStab back shots]].
* In ''VideoGame/FableI'', the young Hero of Oakvale is saved from a bandit in his DoomedHometown when Maze, the Heroes Guild leader, shows up to hit him with a lightning bolt from behind. [[spoiler:He's later revealed to have invoked this: he is TheMole who led the bandit raid and had a last-second change of heart, killing the bandit to LeaveNoWitnesses and ensure the Hero's [[ConvenientlyAnOrphan complete]] [[IOweYouMyLife loyalty]].]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' combines this with PrettyLittleHeadshots at one point.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Juathuur}}'', Veithel [[spoiler: attacks Rowasu just before he kills her father. Soveshei isn't as pleased as he should.]]
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob:'' Jean saves Bob from KingMook of the [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Bigfeet]] with a [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20090530.html floorlamp.]]
* Little [[TagAlongKid Jyrras]] from ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'' grows a pair, much to everyone's [[http://missmab.com/Comics/Vol_1334.php surprise.]]
* When Ren from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' has Androssi and Anak cornered and is about to kill them, he gets a pebble thrown at his head. Enter [[LadyOfWar Yuri Zahard]].

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', Boo does this to [[TheDragon Randall]] while he's trying to get Sully to fall.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' this serves as MysteriousProtector Cheetara's DynamicEntry, saving young [[KingIncognito Prince Incognito]] Lion-O from a headlock by rapping his mugger in the [[TapOnTheHead back of the head]] with her staff.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', Obi-wan and Dutchess Satine have a terrorist leader at the point of their weapons, the villain gloats that they can't do anything before he pulls the trigger on some bombs, less the pacifist Satine become a hypocrite, or the lovestruck Obi-wan be made a monster in his love interest's eyes... cue Anakin running him through with his lightsaber, with a few chords of "March of the Empire" playing as he does.
--> "[[{{Foreshadowing}} Who will strike first and brand themselves a cold-blooded killer?" ]]