"So it's come to this, has it? A fight to the death, mano a mano, man to man, just you and me ... and my GUARDS!"This trope generally arises in situations where The Hero and the Big Bad (or some other substitute boss villain) are staring each other down, ready to engage in mortal combat. The Big Bad challenges the Hero to a duel, but then instead of said fight being one-on-one, as the viewer and the Hero might expect, the villain promptly yells for his ... GUARDS! May result in the invocation of Big Damn Heroes if the good guy is in too deep. Conversely, should the hero do better than expected, the villain may realize that he needs reinforcements and act accordingly. At any rate, the use of this trope can demonstrate that the villain is sufficiently smart to know not to fight the hero one-on-one when he can bring in his minions to support him (and dishonorable and pragmatic enough to use absolutely everything he has at his disposal to win). Can overlap with Bait-and-Switch Boss in video games; however, more often, the Flunky Boss fights alongside his Mooks or at least remains present to observe the fight. May even cross-pollinate with Summon Bigger Fish if the hero seriously outclasses the villain and/or the Mooks are sufficiently powerful in their own right. The villain may be disappointed if the fight is subject to Conservation of Ninjutsu and/or Mook Chivalry, or if he's dealing with an Invincible Hero. This is the antitrope of Leave Him to Me. Compare Let's You and Him Fight.
— Sheriff of Rottingham, Robin Hood: Men in Tights
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- During the battle between Yoruichi and Sui Feng, the latter unleashes all the members of her special assassination corps on Yoruichi. Who proceeds to beat them all senseless in the blink of an eye.
- When Yhwach invades the Soul King's realm, he's attacked by the elite guardians. However, every single time one of them tries to attack him directly, Yhwach reveals that there is an unseen minion still protecting him.
- In One Piece, Sanji has a duel against his Archnemesis Dad Vinsmoke Judge. The minute Sanji starts to make ground, Judge calls his Mooks to act a Human Shield, even going as far as to stab through one to strike.
- Occurs during the Dragon Ball Z Abridged: The Christmas Tree of Might. Turles, the weekly villain of the piece, attempts to overwhelm Goku with all five of his supporting minions. It doesn't end well for the minions.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights: The Trope Namer, though it is actually Played for Laughs. After an exchange of Glove Slaps, the sheriff makes the speech (shown at the top of the page), kicking off the fight scene.
- Invoked in Army of Darkness when Ash first confronts his evil doppleganger in the final battle. Evil Ash first sics his nearby minions on him... whom Ash disposes of handily.
- Neo's first fight with Agent Smith in The Matrix Reloaded plays a subversion of this, as Agent Smith makes numerous copies of himself rather than calling for subordinates.
- Grievous tries this when Obi-Wan tracks him down in Revenge of the Sith. When it doesn't work, he defaults to Leave Him to Me.
- In Kill Bill Volume One, O-Ren Ishii seems ready to take on the Bride in single combat, but then has her personal army, the Crazy 88, soften her up first.
- Inverted in the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where after Harry reveals himself to then-headmaster Snape, the Order of the Phoenix are the ones barging in en masse when Harry seems set to face down Snape alone.
- The Avengers has Black Widow visiting Bruce Banner with assurances it's only the two of them. Then he starts Suddenly SHOUTING! because he "wanted to see what she'd do." (What she does is immediately point a handgun at him.) Once it's clear he's not turning into an enormous green rage-monster, she tells the veritable SWAT team outside that they can stand down.
Bruce Banner: "Just you and me", huh?
[Widow is visibly mollified]
- In the James Bond film GoldenEye, General Ourumov kills Defense Minister Dimitri Mishkin after he accuses Ourumov of being responsible for the attack on Severnaya and theft of the Goldeneye key. Ourumov invokes this trope as he openly states his plan to cover up the murder.
Ourumov: Defense Minister Dimitri Miskin, murdered by British agent James Bond... himself shot, while trying to escape. GUARDS!
- In Blade II, Reinhardt confronts Blade after spending most of the film in an uneasy Enemy Mine situation. With the situation over, they now have no reason to play nice and can kill each other. The villain sends in a team of mooks instead.
- Played entirely straight in Machete Kills when the Big Bad's New Era Speech is interrupted by our heroes. "Well ladies and gents I had hoped to have an uninhibited evening, but now it seems, uhhh...GUARDS!" (flees as guards enter and start shooting)
- In the Corum series, Corum meets Prince Gaynor the Damned for a showdown, and it goes like this:
Corum: Will you fight me alone, Prince Gaynor?
Gaynor: Why should I? It is long since I subscribed to your ideas of chivalry, Prince Corum.
Corum: If you cannot be slain, why not fight me personally?
Gaynor: Because I would not waste time. Warriors!
- Averted in Use of Weapons. A Properly Paranoid dictator has his own bedchamber under surveillance, with a verbal codeword to alert his guards. Unfortunately the assassin who turns up in the middle of the night has access to superior alien technology, so he's already taken care of the cameras, deactivated the microphones and unloaded the hidden pistol.
- Also averted in one of the Lensman series, as the protagonist (who also has access to superior technology) has killed all the guards on the way in.
- The Stormlight Archive: Eshonai, the Parshendi general and Shardbearer, quite conspicuously only fights enemy Shardbearers with heavy support. This is because she is the last Parshendi Shardbearer, and is more interested in the survival of her people than a "good fight."
- A spaceborne version of this occurs in Battlestar Galactica, during the escape from New Caprica at the start of the third season. The Galactica jumps into orbit alone, expecting to face two Cylon Basestars, whereupon two more promptly jump in from elsewhere and join what swiftly degenerates into a Curb-Stomp Battle. That is, until Apollo decides to save the day by arriving with the Pegasus, allowing the Galactica to jump to safety before the battle is concluded in a decidedly spectacular fashion.
- In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Captain Marvelous challenges his Rival Turned Evil Basco to a one-on-one fight. When Marvelous shows up, Basco uses his Marionette Master powers to summon five Sixth Rangers. Luckily, the other four Gokaiger were just passing through...
- Star Trek: The Original Series. In "Errand of Mercy", Kirk captures the Klingon commander, only to find that Big Brother Is Watching You — the commander's own office is under surveillance in case of treason, so the guards are already on their way.
- Doctor Who. In "The Snowmen", Dr. Simeon quietly rings for his men while the Doctor is rambling on as usual. Being Genre Savvy, the Doctor does an Offhand Backhand locking of the door with his sonic screwdriver. By the time they get the door open, the Doctor has done a Stealth Hi/Bye.
- In Angband, some monsters have the tag "Usually appear in groups", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If a unique version of said monster spawns, it will instead say "Usually appears with reinforcements." Orcs in particular like to appear in large numbers and unique orcs can be a severe challenge at low levels due to bringing dozens and dozens of allies to surround you with.
- Assassin's Creed I: When King Richard decides he will learn the truth from Trial by Combat, Altair fights a mess of guards along with the head Knight Templar.
- The end boss also does this after a fashion.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio does this in the second-to-last boss fight, in the same fashion to the final boss of the previous game. Earlier, Francesco de Pazzi attempts to do this when Ezio confronts him on a rooftop, but Ezio killed all the guards on the way up, so Francesco leaps from the roof to escape him. With a Leap of Faith, which no other villain in the series has managed to do since. Ezio barely catches up to him. Francesco was just that scared.
- In the trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio makes his way through a cordon of guards to confront the son of Rodrigo Borgia, the Big Bad of the previous game. Borgia Jr. mocks Ezio and promptly summons a dozen heavily-armed Papal guardsmen, whereupon Ezio's allies also emerge from the crowd and the two groups charge at one another in combat.
- It's played straight when you finally track Cesare down, though Ezio's Assassins being unavailable is justified, what with him being in Spain.
- In Batman: Arkham City, when Batman seems to have Joker on the ropes:
Joker: Please! Stop! I can't take anymore! You win, ya beat me! ... Hang on, did I say "me"? I meant me and these guys!
- Borderlands2, Torgue's DLC: Piston "Not A Cheater" brings a T-Rex mecha to the final duel of the Torgue Tournament. Almost everyone in the audience calls him a cheater once the mech blows up.
- [PROTOTYPE]: When Alex Mercer is battling Specialist Cross, Cross gets reinforcements in the form of Special Forces Soldiers (like it makes a difference).
- On harder difficulties, it really does. The soldiers are a good source of health.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess does this wordlessly before the mounted combat sequence against King Bulblin. The King stands alone on a hill and beckons Link to join him in what appears to be single combat. When Link moves in to attack, King Bulblin blows a horn, summoning hordes of mooks to join him in the fight.
- World of Warcraft: In the Culling of Stratholme instance, Arthas faces down Mal'ganis, proclaiming the fight will be "Just between you and me." Which usually leads the five people who have been shepherding Arthas through the entire instance and doing the lion's share of the fighting to go "Hey!"
- This is particularly absurd because Mal'ganis will spend the entire fight not only ignoring Arthas and attacking the tank, but if the tank's doing their job, actually facing in the opposite direction from Arthas so that the rest of the party doesn't get blasted with his Carrion Swarm spell.
- To be fair, this was a Time Travel revisit of an event that already took place, and in the original battle Arthas did indeed fight Mal'Ganis one-on-one.
- Warcraft III's Expansion orc campaign has another example. Rexxar challenges the Kor'gall for leadership of the Stonemaul. Supposedly a one-on-one fight. However, this is Rexxar we're talking about. The fight usually devolves into a small zoo's worth of animals dogpiling Kor'gall.
- Warlord Parjesh in the Eye of Azshara instance in Legion quotes the trope namer word-for-word.
- Also from Legion, Varian Wrynn's death at the hands of Gul'dan and the demonic army he was leading. Varian actually kills a decent number of them, but is impaled from behind right before he can attack Gul'Dan.
- Played with as a part of the sequential end boss battle with Ultimecia of Final Fantasy VIII. The last boss' first One-Winged Angel act is to summon a GF for the party to fight; then, as her second form, she merges with it into a horrible half-breed.
- In Final Fantasy X, in the first boss battle with Seymour, he fights alongside two of his guado servants. When you defeat them, he relies on summoning Anima to fight for him, though that is justified since he's a Summoner.
- Judge Ghis in Final Fantasy XII; he also comes with a couple of mooks for your inconvenience.
- In single-player Diablo, the Archbishop Lazarus is accompanied by two named witches; while this alone might not count as this trope (seeing as it can be considered a trio of bosses), the pack of Hell Spawn and Advocates that emerge from a disappearing wall does most definitely count.
- Also worthy of a mention: Diablo himself is in a room with lots of high-level mooks, though he can be triggered by way of ranged attacks that leave the mooks out of the fight.
- Actually, most of the unique monsters tied to quests come with a cohort, notably including The Skeleton King and The Warlord of Blood. All of the regular uniques come as part of a group of regular monsters of their same type, though that's more of an inversion as the mooks come with a boss rather than the boss bringing along some mooks.
- Security Chief Vince, from Metal Gear Acid 2. When Snake and Venus encounter him for the second time, he mentions before the fight that this time he brought backup, at which point several of his men enter the battlefield.
- An interesting inversion can occur in Fallout: New Vegas. You can challenge the Big Bad to a climactic duel, and he'll tell his flunkies to step off, so that he may fight you in honorable combat. Your party members, however, will happily stick around and participate in the fight.
- Knights of the Old Republic has a somewhat lengthy set of sidequests that involve killing off the three leaders of the Genoharadan, a shadowy organization that influenced the galaxy through assassination, among other things. After killing the leaders, the man who gave you the quests, Hulas, reveals that he was the fourth leader and that he used you to consolidate his power by killing his rivals. If you don't take kindly to being used like that, you can challenge him to a duel, for which he insists you come alone. Hulas brings two lackeys with him, but you can display some Genre Savviness of your own and bring your party members. Hulas actually expects you to not play by the rules, expressing surprise if you show up alone, and saying "I hoped you'd be gullible, but clearly you're not" if you bring your friends.
- Likewise in Star Wars: The Old Republic, many bosses summon reinforcements during their cutscene. Generally, these reinforcements are significantly weaker, but sometimes you'll wind up fighting an Elite and two or three Strong enemies.
- In Portal 2, when you arrive in GLaDOS's chamber for a confrontation with her, she reveals that she has several turrets standing by to kill you dead. Good thing you already replaced them with the Defective Turrets.
- In Kingdom of Loathing, each of the class nemeses will send their lackeys/bodyguards after you when you gain access to their respective inner sanctums on the Volcanic Island before you get to fight said nemesis. However, only Somerset Lopez, Dread Mariachi, nemesis of Accordion Thieves, gives the line nearly word-for-word. Your character is not amused.
Somerset Lopez: Hola, gringo. I had anticipated that my defenses would not keep you out for very long.
Player Character: This is it, Lopez. It's time to settle this once and for all.
Somerset Lopez: Sí, the great rivalry between the Accordion Thief and the Mariachi. After so many years, it has come down to you and me, eh?
Player Character: Damn straight! [readying weapon]
Somerset Lopez: You and me and my bodyguards. Bodyguards! Kill [him/her].
[several extremely burly mariachis step out from behind the statues, grinning and cracking their knuckles]
Player Character: Lopez, you are such a dick.
- While the rest of the B&B Corps of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots engage Snake one-on-onenote , Wolf brings along a never-ending stream of FROGS to help her during her battle.
- Either Defied or Played Straight in Dishonored, depending on the player's Chaos rating. In High Chaos, the battle with Daud will have a band of assassins helping him out. In Low Chaos, however, when his assassins attack the player, he immediately uses Bend Time and calls them off, allowing the player to take him on mano a mano.
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: When Karamazov tries to enter the palace, Descius stands in his way and summons palace guards to aid him, although Karamazov's weaponized throne proves more than a match for all of them. Later, Kitten does the same with Custodes, with much more success.
- Goblins: Done pre-emptively when Thaco challenges the Goblinslayer to single combat on top of a statue in full view of the entire town.
Goblinslayer: You three bowmen will accompany me.
Guard: Sir, it could be a trap.
Goblinslayer: That's imposs—
Goblinslayer: You six bowmen will accompany me.
- The Legend of Korra: Korra challenges Big Bad Amon to a duel at midnight. He brings a whole platoon of chi-blockers along with him and defeats her handily.
- Ben 10: Omniverse had an episode where Ben tries to defy Emperor Milleus in a duel, only for Milleus to summon his guards for help. Unfortunately for him, Ben being an One-Man Army, that doesn't really end up helping him.