The Brute

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brute.jpg

"H-he's like a bear! He's like a big, shaved bear that hates people!"
The Scout on the Heavy

The powerhouse of the Five-Bad Band, this is Evil's answer to The Big Guy. A Giant Mook with personality, the Brute is huge, all muscle, loves to fight and is very good at it. However, while he may first appear to be The Hero's equal or even superior in combat, subsequent battles will establish the Brute as being inferior to the hero in combat.

He is usually a bully with a hot temper, and more often than not, also very stupid, though there are exceptions. Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability are common among powered varieties. Female brutes are rare outside of all-women groups, although not unheard of.

If The Dragon isn't the one that gets sent out to antagonize the heroes on a regular basis, it's this guy. He is usually the lowest-ranking member of the inner circle's hierarchy, and his abrasive personality means he generally gets little respect from them, though he may exercise authority over the mooks.

He is often the first opponent the heroes face after their successes require that someone more capable be sent to take care of them. He tends to be either blindly loyal or just too thickheaded and incompetent to ever stand a chance of overthrowing the leaders. Despite his role as the primary brute force of The Evil Army, he is rarely ever as strong as The Dragon.

One thing to keep in mind with this character type is that it's the role and rank as opposed to just the personality that defines it. Pete from the Walt Disney canon is a classic example of the Brute personality type: a big dumb bully that just loves to throw his own weight around. However, he's generally used as a Big Bad (or, in works like Kingdom Hearts II, The Dragon). As such, in most appearances, he is not technically a Brute.

This character type often shows up as part of the Five-Bad Band dynamic (in fact, his presence is often what defines it). He can also show up as a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, but (like all the other members) will lose most of his threat level by virtue of his quirkiness.

A Brute whose demeanor becomes implacable will quickly ascend to the status of Juggernaut, while the more emotionally volatile risk becoming The Berserker. Be wary too, recruiters, of a Brute who pets the dog, lest he prove to be a closet Gentle Giant and may very well eventually Heel–Face Turn on you.

Considering his aforementioned general role as the mean, stupid, and disrespected meat shield for his team, the Brute tends to be especially susceptible to Humiliation Conga and The Worf Effect.

Compare: Smash Mook.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Slayers: Gaav, one of the five Mazoku Lords of Lina Inverse's world, played this to Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo, the local Eldritch Abomination, until he turned The Starscream.
  • A female example is Smeddy from Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, a gruff, muscular swordswoman with a sadistic streak who fought the heroes as one of Ashram's Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Prince Dozle Zabi from Mobile Suit Gundam. Noticeably, he was a 7 ft tall Genius Bruiser (meaning, he was no dumbass) made of pure Bad Ass who led his troops heroically in the Battle of Solomon.
  • Digimon Xros Wars has Blastmon, a huge blue guy made of diamonds that works for Bagramon
  • Although there aren't as many of them compared to The Dragon, One Piece has had quite a few:
  • This fits the depiction of Thymilph from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann pretty well. A gorilla that is Large and in Charge and the first of the four generals that Simon and crew encounter.
  • Dragon Ball Z has a few examples of this, including Nappa, Dodoria, Recoome, and Android #19.
    • Nappa, the Older Sidekick to Vegeta, is one of the more notable examples. The first thing he did after landing on Earth was blow up an entire city, and he proved himself to be a nearly indestructible Hero Killer before Goku arrived.
    • Recoome is the nigh-invulnerable brute of the Five-Bad Band of the Ginyu Special Force. He is actually quite smart, but very sadistic and cruel without an ounce of sympathy, ending his "fight" with Gohan by breaking the kid's neck.
  • Viede from the Sinners in Chrono Crusade fills this role, although in the manga he's actually something of a Gentle Giant and a Genius Bruiser. The anime, however, plays him completely straight — most of what he does involves punching his hand into his fist and laughing evilly when he's about to smash things.
  • During the Nazi arc in Black Lagoon, Revy, having just come down from a bout of Whitman Fever, faces off against Fritz Stanford (or in the manga, Blitz Stanford), the biggest member of the Neo-Nazi Aryan Socialist Union. He carries a big-ass golden Luger Hand Cannon whose destructive power he shoots his mouth off about. This shooting off at the mouth gets him killed, as Revy spends the rant reloading her gun and then gunning him down mid-sentence.
    • Normally she's The Dragon to Mr. Chang, but Shenhua arguably fills this role in the Bounty Hunter gang that Russel hires to go after Rock, Revy, and Eda in the Greenback Jane arc. She's tough, persistent, and a physical match for Revy (though not nearly as bright), and is a secondary threat when compared with Russel's lunatic Dragon, Claude Weaver.
  • Vita of the Wolkenritter from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's ties this trope in a knot. Yes we are looking at a hot tempered, rude, and arrogant warhammer-wielding berserker. However, not only are the Wolkenritter in general the platonic ideal of anti-villains but Vita herself is an (apparently) eight-year old redhead in a poofy dress and matching hat.
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, there are several brutes among the Numbers. Dieci has the strongest firepower, Deed is the best in armed close-combat, Nove has a very hot temper whose very strong in close-combat, Sette has a heavily combat-orientated personality, and Cinque is one of the strongest, but isn't one of the Co-Dragons.
    • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha FORCE, Deville of Hückebein is probably the best example in his family, having the largest build, An Axe to Grind and the most drastic change when Reacting so far. Arnage also fits, thanks to her reckless Macross Missile Massacre/More Dakka fighting style, and if they aren't enough, she switches immediately to a Wave Motion Gun. On the other hand, she could also be a Dark Chick.
      • Quinn Garland is the special attacker of the Grendel Family, and has some anger issues in contrast to the more level-headed dragon, Mariya Ranevskaya.
  • Anji the Destroyer of Rurouni Kenshin serves as Shishio's brute. He's physically the strongest of Shishio's men, is the first one to be defeated (and the only member of the inner circle, other than The Starscream, to be defeated by someone other than Kenshin, specifically Sano who's halfway between The Lancer and The Big Guy). Interestingly, he's also the most moral of Shishio's henchmen, and is neither a pushover nor an idiot, being a seven foot tall, Badass Preacher, ex-Buddhist monk, with some serious culture and brainpower, as well as a genuinely sympathetic backstory. Still very much The Brute though, especially in combat. Inui Banjin (Thuggish, brutal, and stupid.) and Kujirinami Hyogo (See previous description, but add a legitimate greivance against Kenshin, berserker tendencies and an inability to fall down or give up) are Enishi's Brutes during the final arc of the manga.
  • Maro, the sumo-wrestler-esque, gravity controlling Taoist from Black Cat is definitely Creed's Brute. He's big, none-too bright, a purely physical fighter, and intesely loyal. He's also the highest ranking member outside of Creed's inner circle, and often relays Shiki's orders to the other grunts.
  • In the Band of 7 arc in Inuyasha Ginkotsu is The Brute to Bankotsu, the temporary Big Bad and leader of the Band of 7. He's big, stupid, very loyal, and relies on Brute force to win, while being the lowest ranking member of the group and subordinate to Renkotsu, The Evil Genius.
  • Gluttony and Sloth in Fullmetal Alchemist are both Dumb Muscle giants who rely on overpowering their opponents. They're also clearly at the bottom of the homunculus totem pole.
  • In Naruto Jiroubou of the Sound Five is definitely The Brute. One could argue that Hidan, Kakuzu, or Kisame fulfills this role for the Akatsuki, and that Jugo (his bloodthirsty side, at least) is Sasuke's in Hebi / Taka.
    • Sasuke is The Brute in Tobi's post-pain Akatsuki; Zetsu and Kisame are Tobi's Co-Dragons, with Zetsu being more of the right-hand man and Kisame being more of the strong right arm, but both have Tobi's absolute trust and display Undying Loyalty to him. Sasuke, on the other hand, is well-known for his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, so while he sees himself as an Aloof Ally or Dragon with an Agenda, Tobi tends to throw him and his followers at difficult problems, like softening up a priority target such as a jinchuuriki and a kage. The assignments he gave Zetsu and Kisame and their roles in his plans compared to how Sasuke is used makes it abundantly clear that Sasuke's quest for revenge has put him under the power of a guy who sees him as expendable muscle. The revived Madara Uchiha is this for Tobi and Kabuto's alliance (alongside Sasuke), due to him having both the Mangekyo Sharingan and Rinnegan. Then Kabuto gets taken out of the picture and Madara takes his spot in the Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Bleach: Yammy is an unskilled mass of raw temper and rage, who lives for destroying and consuming souls and never develops the spiritual skills that make other Espada and even Fracciones so dangerous. He is the lowest-ranking member of the Espada until his rage-fuelled Resureccion is released, which powers him up to become the strongest, angriest, most violent and most thoughtless of all Espada. As a result, he is viewed as an embarrassment by the Espada and an unworthy opponent by the Soul Reapers.
  • Conrad, the huge, apparently mute member of the Godhand from Berserk. He's almost psychopathically destructive (what with the whole, unleashing a plague thing) and seems to be lowest on the totem pole.
  • Valon from the Dartz arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! favours an armour deck, attacks his opponents himself, and is extremely violent. One could also make the case for Johnson of the Noah arc. He uses Judgeman for his physical body, has a special ability that just plain kills everything on the field, displays almost no subtlety in his duel with Joey, and as the company lawyer, was always the first one into a fight.
    • In the Duelist Kingdom arc, Panik is The Brute to the rest of Pegasus' eliminators. A gigantic man with a sadistic streak, Panik gets a real kick out of tormenting opposing players, but is really a coward at heart. He uses flamethrowers to disorient his opponents, and after losing to Yami, actually tries to kill him. Bandit Keith Howard is essentially a Brute who got away, having the personality, but being loyal to no one but himself. Among his henchmen, Dumb Muscle Zygor could also be seen as a Brute-ish type.
  • Ryudou "The Undead" Hishiki, in Get Backers. He's actually the only villain the titular heroes go to great lenghts avoiding to fight.
  • Fairy Tail has several examples: Toby Horhorta from Galuna Island, Aria from Phantom Lord, and Bickslow from Fighting Festival.
  • While Gamagoori is the largest member of Kill la Kill's Elite Four, Athletics Committee Chairman Uzu Sanageyama is the actual Brute, being the challenge-seeking Blood Knight and offensive powerhouse of the team.
  • Stinch is this to the Engineers of Hollow Fields. Designed to be "the perfect watchdog" by Miss Weaver, he serves as a hall monitor, intimidating and bullying the students into following his command. Unfortunately for him, because this is a setting full of Evil Geniuses, he gets taken advantage of because of his dimness, causing him to have a Villainous Breakdown in the climax.
  • Tessai from Ninja Scroll. He is a giant who can turn his skin to stone at will and wields a BFS that doubles as a boomerang. How he's able to move with the grace and agility of a ninja is up for debate.

    Comic Book 
  • Blob is usually portrayed this way in X-Men media and adaptations.
  • Rhino, in Spider-Man, has generally been portrayed this way. His Dumb Muscle personality was even used in a Homage to Flowers for Algernon where he briefly became smarter. Subverted in the Ultimate Spiderman game, where Rhino is a geeky genius in a robotic Suit who only speaks Latin until he's defeated.
  • Validus of the Fatal Five from Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Bambi Baker from Strangers in Paradise is a female example, but then most of the SiP cast is female.
  • Parallax, despite being an Anthropomorphic Personification of fear itself, acts like a bully and is the first of the Sinestro Corps' five leaders to be defeated.
    • For more Corps-specific examples, the Sinestro Corps have Arkillo, and the Red Lanterns have Skallox.
  • Most incarnations of Batman's foe, Killer Croc. When he was introduced in 1983, he was actually portrayed as a dangerously cunning Genius Bruiser with a chip on his shoulder, but as time went by, Flanderization set in as writers focused more and more exclusively on his brute strength at the expense of his other traits, and at his worst (around Batman Hush), he was written as little more than a hungry animal. The introduction of Bane, another Genius Bruiser, rendered the original characterization of Croc redundant - few people remember that running Batman ragged and breaking his back was how Croc was introduced.
    • The current in-universe explanation/retcon is that his mutation is degenerative, slowly making his brain more reptilian as well as his body.
    • On the other hand, another of Batman's enemies, the Man-Bat, is usually just a near-mindless beast.
  • Darth Nihl and Darth Stryfe from Star Wars: Legacy are the least cunning of the main Sith characters but are their two strongest warriors. Stryfe in particular is single-minded about killing anything that his boss, Darth Krayt, doesn't like.
  • Abomination is The Brute to Hulk's The Big Guy.
  • Blockade, from the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Titania from the Marvel Universe is a somewhat rare female example.
  • Patch from Scourge's Suppression Squad in Sonic the Hedgehog
  • If a Sin City mafioso needs a big guy to smack the hero around, they will call Manute everytime. Subverted in that he is quite intelligent and rarely loses his cool.
  • Due to Superman's powers, several of his "normal" foes (especially Lex Luthor) often resort to a super-powered brute to do the physical work against Superman. Examples include Bizarro, Metallo and the Parasite, all of whom Luthor used as brutes in the Last Son of Krypton storyline.
    • When Luthor is dealing with a normal human being he instead resorts to bodyguards like Hope and Mercy.
  • Most of the enemies that Werewolf by Night fought were big dumb monsters out to smash stuff and hurt people.
  • The Astro City villain Slamburger looks like a half-ton of sulfurous ground beef and has the personality to match.
  • Ulik the Rock Troll from The Mighty Thor shows up nine times out of ten as muscle for the main bad guy of the story.

    Fanfic 

    Film 
  • Blackout could count seeing as he's the most heavily armed character and the largest one in the movie.
  • In the second film, Grindor acts as this during the 3-on-1 battle in the forest while in the final battle, the role clearly belongs to Devastator.
    • Demolisher could count due to his large size and that he just uses his weight instead of a weapon.
  • Shockwave's Driller in the third film.

    Literature 
  • Ser Gregor Clegane (AKA "The Mountain that Rides") from A Song of Ice and Fire is this to a T. He's not on any inner circle, in part because he's too psychotic for that, and because Lord Tywin Lannister doesn't really keep an inner circle, (he has one or two people he genuinely consults with, the rest are dupes that he manipulates) however he is Tywin's choice for virtually all of the dirty and bloody work that needs to be done, and shows real taste for and skill at it. He's also the World's Strongest Man, and will gleefully show it off.
  • Adus in David Eddings' Elenium trilogy. "Just put armor on a gorilla and you've got him." He's a mentally-handicapped thug who serves Martel as his best enforcer and killer. Martel considers Adus to be little more than a weapon ("I use him for killing people") and everyone who meets him looks down on him due to his stupidity and lack of hygiene. He has all the hallmarks of the personality type too, being dumb, but a savante when it comes to small unit tactics, willing to cut through his own men just to get to the heroes, and lacking the ability to so much as read.
    • He may be the King of Cthol Murgos, but one could definitely make the case for Taur Urgas being The Brute in Eddings' other major series, The Belgariad. He's got all the hallmarks of the personality: no empathy, Axe Crazy, a Berserker in combat, and he also seems to fit in terms of his position and role in the villainous hierarchy: he's the ruler of one of the largest countries subject to Torak, and provides manpower and muscle for the Angarak armies, while still being subject to Ctuchik, Torak's Dragon.
    • In Eddings' stand-alone novel, The Redemption of Althalus Pekhal and Gelta are the ones that Ghend calls in when he and Daeva have a situation that requires straight up brute force, as opposed to cunning or subtlety (which Evil Genius Argan and Dark Chick Koman deal with). Both are relics from the Stone Age, and are vicious, cruel, more than a little stupid, and in Gelta's case prone to fits of psychotic rage. They don't get much more brutish.
  • Lu Bu in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Initially, he is able to handily intimidate all dissenters from taking down Dong Zhou, drive away Cao Cao when Cao Cao comes to assassinate Dong Zhou, and take on Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Liu Bei at once. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Liu Bei are held up as amazing warriors because three on one they didn't flee Lu Bu and forced him to retire. Lu murders his lord and adopted father for a horse, his next lord for a 16 year old dancer (not that kind), and dies an alcoholic wreck of a man.
  • Ronald Niedermann from The Millennium Trilogy is able to deal out a lot of pain, being able to break normal people's necks like sticks. Coupled with the fact that he is unable to feel pain due to a neuralgic defect, it makes him nearly unstoppable.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born," Khumbanigash.
  • In Malevil, Armand serves as the Sinister Minister's enforcer; big, dumb, and cruel, a man who only understands bullying people.
  • Goliath, is probably the most triumphant example of this trope.
    • Not necessarily; all we are really told about him is how big he is and that he's his army's champion.
  • Crabbe and Goyle fill this role in the Harry Potter series, along with actual giants.
    • Crabbe and Goyle's fathers, both who are Death Eaters, seem to be this for Lord Voldemort.
    • Thorfinn Rowle is a better example. He is one of, if not the largest of the Death Eaters and usually duels in a very skilled and aggressive manner.
    • Another good example is the savage werewolf Fenrir Greyback.
  • René St. Charles from Samhain Island is described as having "muscles that could rival a wrestler" and does most of the dirty work. If it wasn't for the intervention of Miss Vargas he would have ended up shooting a thirteen-year-old.
  • Tool in Ship Breaker is set up to be The Brute to first Lucky Strike and then Richard Lopez. Subverted, as he's actually a Genius Bruiser & The Unfettered, and is thus works for no one. Regular Halfmen, who are The Fettered fullfill the stereotype better.
  • In the Black and Grey Morality world of The Godfather, Luca Brasi is a rare protagonist version of this, but man is he brutal! Read 'throwing a newborn baby in a furnace because he didn't want illegitimate children' brutal.
  • In the late Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure Of The Mazarin Stone" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sam Merton fills the role of the brute.
  • Wild Rhona, the protagonist in A Harvest Of War, almost seven feet tall and over 300lbs of solid muscle. She's fast and smart for this trope and on the good guys' side to boot, but her mean streak is so wide that, together with the even heavier and less vicious Baindur, it pushes her into this trope.
    • Baroness Shelby is a straighter example, if much smaller and also not lacking in brains, skill and agility.
  • Cato in The Hunger Games, and the aptly named Brutus in Catching Fire.
  • The Osthan from The First Dwarf King could be seen as this; however, unusually for this trope, they avert Dumb Muscle, instead being a group of Genius Bruisers.
  • In the Erebus Sequence, Golia, the most physically imposing of the Orfani, is also both the nastiest and stupidest. He's being prepared for a role as dumb muscle, but thinks he's being prepared to be the next king. (He doesn't genuinely care, and just wants to strike out at people who think they're better than him.)

    Live Action Television 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Kakistos comes more from the "Hulk Smash" school of approach.
  • Eliot Spencer, The Big Guy in Leverage sometimes acts more like this trope than is usual. The show also provides a number of straight examples, most of whom eventually fight Eliot at one point or another:
    • From "The Wedding Job", there's The Butcher of Kiev, who's probably the most archetypal Brute on the show. A hulking thug in the employ of the Russian Mafia, The Butcher is a Knife Nut who uses his massive size and fondness for meat cleavers to overpower his opponents, and is far too stupid to be anything more than a leg-breaker. He has a personal grudge against Eliot for scarring his face in an earlier confrontation.
    • Mr. Quinn, of "The First David Job" is a nondescript Badass in a Nice Suit retained by Nate's Evil Counterpart, Sterling, for the specific purpose of beating Eliot into submission. Not important enough to be The Dragon he displays enough personality to avoid being a simple Elite Mook, and his role as the muscle puts him firmly in this trope. He later reappears during "The Last Dam Job" to help Eliot when Eliot is recognized by the mark. He and Eliot seem to get along despite their previous conflict.
    • Finally we have Roper, a member of the kidnap gang in "The Carnival Job." He's a Psycho for Hire who seems to have a personal history with Eliot and is probably the best fighter the gang has available, as well as a ruthless Combat Pragmatist (seriously, he attacked Eliot in a funhouse, while he was injured, and still made sure to have a little girl as a hostage). However, he's not the Number Two, and seems to have been contracted for his skills at breaking heads and nothing else, not even appearing until the end of the episode.
  • Branken from Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He's the most hot-headed of the villains, and the only character in a magic-themed series to rely on a BFS rather than spells. He'd also qualify for Disc One Final Boss if N Ma hadn't been present, if trapped, from the beginning.
  • In the 2010 version of Nikita, Roan fills the role. A Cleaner who Nikita scarred by his own acid and silent badass, the universal reaction to encountering him is to wet your pants and run.
    • Roan may be so deadly that he qualifies as a Hero Killer. To date, Nikita is the only one who managed to get one-up on him, and she still runs if she has the chance when he shows up.
      • As of mid-Season 2, it can also be argued that Roan has elements of The Dragon — he's Percy's most loyal and deadliest remaining agent, and the one organized the Guardians into action when Amanda and Oversight locked Percy up.
  • Leo Johnson on Twin Peaks. Hired goon, abusive husband, profane loudmouth: the whole package.
  • The appropriately named Eartha Brute from Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego.
  • The Wire has at least one for each major organization. The Barksdale Organization has Roland "Wee-Bey" Bryce in Season 1, (and later Slim Charles after Wee-Bey gets life in prison) Husky Ukrainian Sergei Malatov for The Greeks, and the rare case of a female brute in Felicia "Snoop" Pearson for the Stanfield Organization.
  • Revenge: If you go by Alternate Character Interpretation, Jack Porter is this to Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke.
  • In Season 2 of Justified Coover Bennett plays this role to his mother, Mags and brothers Dickie and Doyle. A hulking, dim-witted Mighty Glacier with a marijuana problem, and a penchant for descending into Unstoppable Rage, Coover's about as archetypal a Brute as you can get.
    • Boyd Crowder has the less obvious Jimmy Tolan, a quiet, loyal thug who plays back up to whoever Boyd's Dragon of the moment is, displays some Blood Knight tendencies and acts as his enforcer while being at the edge of the inner circle.

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The wrestling term for a Brute is a "Monster." This usually (but not always) distinct from The Giant wrestling archetype. Notable examples include Kane, early Mankind, The Big Show, Vader, Brock Lesnar, the Great Khali, André the Giant, and TNA's Abyss.
  • Another type of Brute that pops up occasionally in professional wrestling is the most physically imposing member of a heel stable, such as Barry Windham in the Four Horsemen or Batista in ripoff group Evolution. This can sometimes overlap with being The Dragon to the stable leader's Big Bad, such as Mason Ryan in The New Nexus
  • Big Titan, Giant Singh and Giant Silva, of TEAM2000 in New Japan Pro Wrestling, going from big, to bigger to biggest. Silva would serve as such again in the Makai Club.
  • A recurring trope in Chikara. Mano Metallico for Sweet 'n' Sour International, The Horny Vikings Tursas and Nøkken in the BDK, STIGMA in the UnStable, combANT in the Swarm, ect
  • The 300lbs Giant Bernard and especially the 500 lbs Big Daddy Voodoo in All Japan Pro Wrestling's Voodoo Murders. Defacto "leaders" TARU, Minoru Tanaka and MAZADA weren't even half Big Daddy V's size.
  • The Beautiful People ended the suspension of their fashionist Cute Kip, to instead have him serve as their brute after they decided they were going to bully Awesome Kong.
  • Knux and DOC in Aces & Eights. There was also Tito Ortiz, but he was just their because Spike TV was using TNA to promote Bellator and he was pulled out by Bellator before he could do anything.
  • Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga in Bullet Club. Fale is even called "the under boss", while Tonga serves twice over in both New Japan and CMLL.

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    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


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