[-[[caption-width-right:223:[[ThisIsGonnaSuck Well... That's gonna leave a mark.]]]]-]
->''"'''Maxim #37:''' There is no "overkill". There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload."''
-->-- ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', "The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries"
There are some opponents you want to defeat. There are some opponents you want to kill. Then there are the opponents whom you're not satisfied with [[RasputinianDeath until you've]] [[BackStab stabbed them in the back]], [[GatlingGood shot them a lot]], [[BoomHeadshot in the head]], [[StuffBlowingUp blown them up]], [[AttackAnimal unleashed the hounds on them]], [[ShockAndAwe electrocuted them]], [[ILoveNuclearPower irradiated them]], [[GoombaStomp jumped up]] [[FinishingStomp and down on them]], and then shot the remains into space on a rocket full of time bombs [[HurlItIntoTheSun heading towards the sun]].
This trope comes in three categories (with some overlap): the killer either [[ComedicSociopathy loves violence for its own sake,]] or [[ThePowerOfHate wishes to express dislike for the target,]] or (usually due to fighting TheJuggernaut or an ImplacableMan) know that ItsTheOnlyWayToBeSure. There Is No Kill Like Overkill may be played for comedy or for drama. If the former, another character may [[LampshadeHanging remark]] [[CaptainObvious "I think he's dead already"]] near the end of the process.
May be employed successfully: see NoOneCouldSurviveThat. Unfortunately often leads to NeverFoundTheBody, thus setting up OnlyMostlyDead or UnexplainedRecovery. JokerImmunity means even overkill is useless, but even ''that'' is better than a NoSell.
It is sometimes justified if the opponent can come back FromASingleCell.
Much, much more common in fiction (especially of the 'revenge fantasy' type) than in RealLife violence. To a strategist, overkill is AwesomeButImpractical because the ''risk'' of enemy survival is vastly outweighed by the ''certainty'' that you're spending a fortune in time, material and (usually) manpower to ensure the enemy's death. The weaker and less numerous the target, the more wasteful overkill is.
For common forms of overkill, see MultiDirectionalBarrage, BeamSpam, MoreDakka, MultipleGunshotDeath, and/or MacrossMissileMassacre. For situations in which the overkill destroys the whole point of the combat, see PyrrhicVictory. Compare ChunkySalsaRule, RasputinianDeath, CriticalExistenceFailure, VideogameCrueltyPotential, SurplusDamageBonus, DisproportionateRetribution, and DeaderThanDead: contrast CherryTapping and OnceIsNotEnough. Characters who don't have enough overkill at their disposal just might resort to crossing the GodzillaThreshold instead.
'''Please note as this is occasionally related to a major character's death, ''be wary of unmarked spoilers.'''''