Strolling Through the Chaos
I don't think you noticed, but those stairs you were walking on just exploded...note .
He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him. You just knew he wasn't going to get so much as a scratch here.
When the bullets, fists or pies are flying, expect one character to be able to wander through it all without so much as a nick, a scratch or a drop of cream.
Usually played for laughs, this trope will have one person able to maneuver about the chaos while completely avoiding damage. This could be either through skillful dodging or simple blind luck. Often the character will take advantage of the pandemonium. If a bar has erupted into battle royale
, this guy will be leisurely enjoying the top shelf booze while bodies slide along the bar and fly into the stacks of bottles behind him. Sometimes they may try to play peacemaker. Other times they are simply trying to find the nearest exit.
Sometimes the trope will be played seriously as our hero dodges his way through a vicious firefight to reach some important goal. If they are hit at all it will be just before the final task that accomplishes the mission.
Variants of the trope can find the person caught between two combatants and ducking just as their punches slam into one another's faces. Very often the last punch or pie thrown will be the one the character can't avoid.
See also Unflinching Walk
, Dissonant Serenity
, and While Rome Burns
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- In Uncanny X-Men #141, Kitty Pryde underwent her first Danger Room session. She had to get past a gauntlet of deadly traps to reach a designated area and turn off the simulation. She simply closed her eyes and walked forward, phasing all the way. This scene is notable for being the very first recorded instance of Wolverine laughing.
- Plastic Man's buddy Woozy Winks started out as "The Man Who Nature Protects!"— natural disasters would spring up around him to protect him from enemies. (It was dropped after a few issues.)
- In the Naruto fan fic, Here and Now Yugito Nii, host of the Two-Tailed Cat, casually strolls through a battle between Cloud and Leaf ninja. Sasuke decides to take her out and finds out exactly why she was so calm. That changes when she starts fighting Naruto.
- The Great Race had The Great Leslie strolling through a massive pie fight in a royal kitchen. It was his attempt to dodge one pie too many that led to his diving face first into the one pie that got him.
- Star Wars had R2D2 and C3PO amble across a corridor during a pitched firefight between Rebel and Imperial forces.
- And again in Attack of the Clones, this time with C3PO "beside himself".
- A serious example of this would be in Akira Kurosawa's Ran, where a king survives the seige of his own castle without making any effort to avoid his death.
- Lord Cutler Beckett's death scene in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie was very much the serious version. He's walking down the stairs, which are blowing up behind him with chunks of wood flying around, and finally dies engulfed in the fireball which annihilates his ship.
- Jack does this in the second movie. After the fight starts, the man starts wandering aimlessly through the pub, randomly trying on people's hats to replace the one he lost at the beginning of the movie. He narrowly avoids getting injured in some spectacularly funny ways (such as ducking to get a dropped hat off the floor and avoiding a flying bottle that smashes on the wall above him).
- Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, grimly closing in on the possessed Théoden while his party held off the guards.
- The Longest Day features a group of nuns calmly walking through the intense battlefield to join up with the Allied troops to help wounded soldiers.
- Hedley Lamarr, the Big Bad of Blazing Saddles, seemed like he was going to make it out of the pie fight untouched, and being somewhat Genre Savvy, attempted to duck out of the occasion and hide in the bathroom. He emerges from the bathroom after a moment however, with his face completely covered by a cream pie.
- Bill the Butcher pulls this in an opening battle of Gangs of New York; he swiftly dispatches any opponent unfortunate enough to get between him and Priest Vallon though.
- Apocalypse Now: Col. Kilgore strolls around in the midst of a battle as his fellow soldiers duck and cringe at the bullets and explosions. The narrator says that he's the kind of guy who won't get so much as scratched during the war.
- In Support Your Local Sheriff a brawl breaks out as James Garner's character is trying to get some lunch. He says "Hold it!". Everyone freezes. He steps out of range, carefully taking his plate of overpriced food with him, then tells them to "Go ahead on!" He calmly eats as they brawl, discouraging the one man who tries to attack him with a warning glance, and helpfully handing another combatant a two-by-four.
- Later in the same film, he pulls the same trick during a gunfight.
- In Tim Burton's Batman there's a scene where the Joker's thugs tommy-gun rival mobsters on the steps of the courthouse. Naturally everyone hits the deck except Bruce Wayne, who's so busy staring at the Joker he doesn't even notice when a bullet clips his shoulder.
- Aurora does this in the New York shootout in Babylon A.D. But that's hardly surprising as she turns out to be impervious even to miniature guided missiles.
- During Prudence's "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in Across the Universe, she walks straight through a football field in the middle of practice without getting tackled. A keen eye will be able to see the football players are actually dancing.
- "Now or Never", the first sequence of High School Musical 3: Senior Year sees Troy walking straight through the middle of a basketball court, singing, without being tackled; he even catches a pass and travels with it before passing it on, still singing.
- In one scene of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a group of British officers in the middle of the Zulu war go about their morning routine completely oblivious to the fully pitched battle going on around them.
- Blackhawk Down: Lt. Col. McKnight had a habit of walking around in the open during intense urban firefights, while bullets and shrapnel land all around him, at one point standing in the open talking to a Ranger who is taking cover to avoid being shot (actually, he was announcing the arrival of his convoy of reinforcements for the besieged Rangers by asking him "Need a lift?") Interestingly enough, the one time McKnight gets injured is while riding shotgun in a Humvee barreling down the city streets and a lucky shot grazes him.
- In Little Big Man, the blind Cheyenne chief Old Lodge Skins believes himself to be magically Immune to Bullets and crosses a battlefield where his people are getting cut down all around him by the U.S. Cavalry. His attitude makes the scene almost comical, despite the terrible death and destruction occurring close by.
- The Thief and the Cobbler: In the climax, the thief enters a huge warmachine. The machine is on fire and collapsing, and all the millions of weapons inside it are being constantly fired, creating a true Bullet Hell. Miraculously, he doesn't notice any of the chaos surrounding him, managing to steal the items he was after and escapes completely unharmed.
- Here is the whole scene in question, with non-relevant parts edited out. It lasts over eight minutes.
- In Mean Girls after the female population of the school has descended in to madness over the Burn Book, Regina stands at the top of the stairs and admires her handiwork as people run past and debris flies through the shot.
- In Walker, William Walker does this in all of the battle sequences. He simply walks straight down the street and shoots at people without making any attempt to duck or dodge the return fire. This was apparently based on real accounts of Walker's Nicaragua campaign, in which he was never injured.
- Given a stationary variant in The Amazing Spider-Man, when Stan Lee makes his Creator Cameo. Stan remains standing at the desk, listening to music on his headphones while the library is destroyed around him. He, of course, remains oblivious because Headphones Equal Isolation.
- Spidey doesn't even need to try to avoid the police's bullets. Of course, the one stray shot after the chief calls "Cease Fire" cripples his leg.
- Looper. This is how Old Joe catches sight of his future wife, a beautiful Asian woman calmly walking through a Bar Brawl in a hotel lobby; Joe stops fighting to stare at her and make an (unheard) pass. She responds by Flipping the Bird.
- A minor plot point in the Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, through psychic trickery.
- War does this in Good Omens. Justified in that she's War.
- Lord Rust in the Discworld novels. An Upper-Class Twit to end all Upper-Class Twits who thinks he's a military man because of his breeding, he's been described as confusing "idiot stubbornness with bravery." In Snuff, it's mentioned that for all the horrific losses his regiments would suffer in battle, Rust himself would often emerge without a scratch, "the arrows turning aside in midair to avoid striking him."
Live Action TV
- The classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" had Cyrano Jones enjoying some quality time with the liquor synthesizer while Humans and Klingons were happily beating each other with the furniture.
- The Doctor does this in "Battlefield" and "The Christmas Invasion."
- In fact, in the former, The Doctor takes this a step further by casually walking inbetween two people having a swordfight, cheerfully raising his hat to them as he does so.
- In Farscape, Scorpius wanders through the corridors of his exploding Command Carrier in a state of shock, drifting unharmed past hordes of evacuees, exploding energy conduits, and bursting watertanks. For dramatic effect, apocalyptic choirs are singing in the background, cementing this moment as Scorpius' great Villainous Breakdown.
- A vehicle variant occurs in Top Gear, during the review of the Ford Fiesta. The test was to take part in an amphibious assault alongside the Royal Marines, which culminates in a wonderfully, brilliantly awesome shot of the cheerfully green Fiesta winding its way up a beach filled with gunfire and explosions.
- Blaine from Glee does this on the football field during his number of "Hopelessly Devoted to You", as a homage to Across the Universe above.
- Commander Black's first scene in Ultraman Leo has him calmly walking around Tokyo, oblivious to the mayhem and destruction his Saucer Monster caused.
- Fiona Apple did a cover of "Across the Universe" by The Beatles. In the music video, she is flowing through the riot without getting hit by their baseball bats, or cut by the broken glass. In fact; she doesn't even notice or acknowledge them.
- Various mediums portray Ares, the God of War, to do this is the midst of heated battles. Cause ya'know, he's the god of war.
- Justice League Unlimited
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys often portrayed him as raving fanboy getting front row seat action.
- Subverted in The Iliad, in which Ares is impaled by a spear thrown by a soldier under the guidance of his sister and subsequently is forced to withdraw from the battlefield.
- Used in the game God of War: Ares is depicted as being enormous, yet still eludes the arrows of the enemy.
- In Scion, this is the first power of the Chaos purview: as long as the Scion in question doesn't interact with the violence/whackiness/chaos that's going on in a scene where he/she activates this power, he/she can't be harmed by it.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 gave us Fortune who, through some Applied Phlebotinum caused bullets to bend around her and grenade to defuse near her body. That coupled with her huge Railgun made her practically impossible to defeat.
- Super Smash Brothers: Peach strolls across the deck of the Halberd as Fox and Falco strafe it with laser blasts, starting a chain of explosions directly behind her. She doesn't seem to notice, and in fact, merrily twirls her parasol as she does.
- Happens in Red Dead Redemption at the end of the Mexican revolution, John Marston walks calmly through the embattled Escalera past the dying civilians and soldiers.
- A dramatic variant from Mass Effect 3: Mordin Solus walks briskly through an exploding building on Tuchanka on his way to cure the genophage, shielding his eyes from shrapnel, but never breaking stride. Depending on your exact choices, this can either be Subverted by making Mordin struggle a great deal to reach the end and succumb to his bullet wound before making it, or turned Up to Eleven as he'll actually sing quietly to himself as he makes the trip.
- Occurs in this Aki Alliance strip when Aki starts up a fight and simply walks around.
Truth In Television
- Wyatt Earp. Despite being a real-life iconic badass, a U.S. Marshal, and perhaps the Ur Example of the Wild West lawman, he was never in his life grazed by a single bullet. There's even a story that says a thug fired on him with a 10-gauge shotgun, and every single piece of shot missed, passing harmlessly through his duster.
- General Douglas MacArthur had a habit of not seeking cover during major battles. An anecdote said that during World War One he told a young George Patton (who flinched when an artillery shell landed nearby) that "You never hear the one that gets you."
- While advising on A Bridge Too Far Lt. Colonel Frost objected to a scene where the actor playing him (Anthony Hopkins) runs across a street under fire. He always walked. It was decided to leave the scene as it was, for fear the audience would have a What an Idiot reaction.