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Pre-Asskicking Mutter
A specific sub-trope of Pre-Asskicking One-Liner, this is where the hero has already been fighting the villain, and are now pinned, with their foe's hands around their neck, their defeat imminent. In a last bit of defiance, the hero tries to say something, but cannot. The villain, overly cocksure of their victory and superiority, lightens their grip and leans in, asking the hero to speak up.

This is always a bad idea, as it turns out the hero was faking, or managed to find some Heroic Resolve. They say what they meant to, and open a can of whoopass, sometimes leading to the villain's defeat (or at least giving the hero time to escape and regroup).

Examples:

  • From the 2009 Star Trek movie: The Dragon has Kirk by the throat, holding him over a ledge and gloating about how weak humans are. Kirk makes some vague choking noises, prompting the villain to observe that Kirk "can't even speak!" Kirk's response? A suddenly lucid "I've got your gun!" at which point he promptly gives The Dragon back his ammo. Right in the chest.
  • In X-Men, Sabretooth ambushes Storm and has her by the neck. He says he wants to hear her try to scream... She responds with a lightning bolt.
    • This was done earlier and better in the X-Men comics, though: Sabretooth had Jubilee pinned and asked if she had any last words. Her response was too tiny to read, even with a magnifying glass...
    Sabretooth: "Wussat? Ya gotta beg louder!"
    Jubilee: "Yu-yeah sure... I s-said... 'EAT HOT PLASMA BURSTS'!"
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker had one of these: While fighting on a high-speed hovercraft flying high in the city, Bonk has Terry by the throat. Terry, while struggling, sees behind himself (where the hovercraft is flying) and he tries to warn his opponent of a "flgpkl".
    Bonk: "What did you say?"
    Batman: "Flag... pole!" -KLONK!-
    • And later in the movie...
    Joker: "C'mon, McGinnis! Laugh it up now, you miserable little punk! LAUGH!"
    (Terry gasps)
    Joker: "I can't hear you!"
    Terry: "Ha. Ha." (electrocutes Joker with his own joy buzzer)
  • A Sinfest strip played with this concept. Poochie wants Percy to take Bally from him, but he can't enunciate properly with the ball in his mouth. So when he spits it out to say "Try to take it from me!"... Percy grabs the ball and runs off!
  • An episode of Burn Notice provides an example from Jesse:
    Jesse: Man, why you wanna *mumble*?
    Thus: What'd you say?
    Jesse: I said, "why do you wanna lose your TEETH?!" *face, meet door; Jesse exit, stage left*
  • In The Bone Collector tetraplegic Lincoln Rhyme is at the mercy of the killer. He gasps something, a desperate plea perhaps. The killer leans in to listen... and Rhyme promptly bites him in the neck and hangs on. The killer is in debilitating pain long enough for sidekick Amelia Donaghy to show up and put him out of his misery.

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