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Mugging The Monster: Live-Action Films
  • A lot of direct-to-video martial arts and action films will feature an early Establishing Character Moment where some bikers or rednecks in a bar harass the hero or a waitress or local girl and he teaches them the error of their ways.
  • The Alibi: Towards the end, one of the bad guys is trying to elude the cops in a hotel, so in the corridor he grabs a woman coming out of her room in the corridor, stucks his gun in the small of her back and forces her back in the room to take her hostage. He locks the door, turns around... and discovers about fifteen cops pointing their guns at him. Turns out the woman's a detective, on a loosely related stakeout in the hotel. Whoops.
  • Bangkok Dangerous: In the original Thai version, two random street thugs make the mistake of targeting a deaf mute while on a date with a woman, not realizing he is a skilled hitman.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies movie has a Shout-Out to the above Crocodile Dundee knife scene. Goons point a handgun at Jed as the Clampetts had cut them off on the freeway, then gave them a Californy Howdy. Jed stands up and points his double-barrel shotgun at them: "That's nice son... This here's what I carry!" Goon waves with a sheepish smile and signals his friend to drive faster.
  • Big Trouble: The film's hitman makes a call from a pay phone. When gangstas approach him, he drops a napkin and, while bending down to pick it up, he produces a revolver from his ankle holster, points in their direction and says: Not right now. Okay?
  • Blade Trilogy:
    • Blade II: Vampires running a blood bank attempt to strap down a homeless man for a generous and involuntary donation, but the homeless man turns out to be a far greater monster than they are.
    • Blade: Trinity: A gang of vampires attack a woman pushing a baby carriage in a subway station. The "helpless" victim turns out to be Jessica Biel, resident Action Girl, and the baby turns out to be a booby-trapped doll. Unusually for this trope, she was deliberately trying to get attacked.
  • The Book of Eli: Done very frequently. It becomes much more hilarious/embarrassing when you realize that Eli might have been, in fact, a blind man all along.
  • In The Bourne Identity, Swiss police wake a man who is sleeping on a park bench. Instead of a bum, it's Jason Bourne, who takes down both cops in seconds. Bonus points for the fact that as an amnesiac he had no idea he was capable of doing that. This trope actually happens quite a few times in The Bourne Series as people either do not know what Bourne is capable of or underestimate his abilities.
  • Carrie. Though at least, not even the eponymous character knows she's a Person of Mass Destruction until too late.
  • Collateral: There's a scene where a couple of thugs steal a briefcase from a ziptied-up Max. Vincent confronts the two, one of whom brandishes a pistol right at him. A few double-taps to the chest and one in the head later, Vincent has his briefcase back.
  • Crocodile Dundee:
    • The scene referenced in the page quote and picture.
    • The second film also has a random punk try to rob Dundee of his leather jacket.
    Punk: What are ya chances of getting out of here with that jacket on?
    Dundee: (throws his knife, pinning the punk's mohawk to the wall) Better than average.
    • The second film has a similar sequence with a would-be hit man.
    Dundee: You know, for a guy who supposedly makes a living killing people you ain't very good at it.
    • This became a "once per movie" trope, because the third movie also features a similar scene in which Dundee and his friend/rival Jacko easily disarm a group of robbers before trapping them in their own convertible by jumping on the roof.
  • Damien Omen II: A bully attempts to pick a fight with Damien Thorn. Not a good idea, as Damien is the Antichrist (although he didn't know it at the time).
  • Deal Of The Century: A mugger gets the drop on Eddie Muntz (Chevy Chase) while Eddie is opening the trunk of his car. Eddie, who is an arms dealer, hands over his wallet, then pulls one of his product samples (a fully-loaded machine gun) from his car. Eddie then proceeds to take his wallet back, then takes the mugger's gun and cash.
  • Death Warrant: In the opening, a couple of gangbangers try to rob the hero cop Louis Burke (Jean-Claude Van Damme). He hasn't got time for them, being in the neighborhood solely to avenge his dead partner by catching his killer, so he quickly dispatches them and gets on with his mission.
  • Death Wish: When Charles Bronson's character Paul Kersey becomes a mysterious vigilante, anybody who approaches him armed will get shot.
  • Desert Heat: The Hogans unwittingly attack a war veteran Eddie Lomax, who's on his way to deliver a parting gift of a motorcycle to an old friend (as his final act before taking a long journey), and steal said motorcycle. The only reason their inevitable demise is postponed is Eddie is too drunk to defend himself at the time of the attack.
  • Didier: In this French movie, some skinheads harass a mixed-race couple (nicknaming them "John and Yoko", as they look like the famous couple) driving a van. Only to find out the van is carrying a bunch of martial artists from the local "Tae Kwon Fu" [sic] club. Cue Neo-Nazis whomping.
  • Dirty Harry: The first movie has a group of muggers making the mistake of setting upon Callahan while he's running around with Scorpio's ransom money.
  • Escape from New York: As Snake is wandering through the back of an old theater, tracking the President's homing beacon, he runs across an old man next to a fire. ("Hi Chief... Nice night. *looks down* Nice boots... Nice boots...") That's when the old man's henchmen step out of the shadows, only to find out the hard way why one should never mug a muscular guy wearing an eyepatch. The old man himself takes the hint when Snake puts him in the sights of his Uzi. (*flinches* "Easy now, chief... I'm walking... I'm walking...")
  • Falling Down: D-Fens is having sort of a bad day, and he doesn't take getting mugged by two gangsters too kindly. Revenge ensues and they get what they asked for a second time.
  • Fear No Evil: In this 1981 film, Satan himself spends 17 years growing up to be an ordinary-looking high school student. That way, when he decides to cut loose and terrorize the whole school, he can avenge himself on the kids who bullied him in the gym shower.
  • The Fifth Element: Some lunatic tries to rob Korben Dallas at his door. He is quite calmly convinced otherwise, and even hands over his gun. Which gets added to a pile of other weapons, presumably acquired in the same manner.
  • First Blood: The local small-town cops see Rambo as just a disreputable-looking drifter and start pushing him out of town. This turns out to be the last straw. (In the original novel, it's more a case of mutual misunderstanding than a real example of this trope.)
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan: At one point a bunch of punks threaten Jason Voorhees after he kicks their stereo. He turns around and lifts up his mask. They take off at top speed.
  • Ghostbusters: A deleted scene (never filmed, but the storyboards appear on the DVD) has Lewis, possessed by the Keymaster, warding off some muggers with fire breath.
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai: In a throwaway scene, a hoodlum tries to mug an elderly Asian man carrying two grocery bags. It doesn't end well. Later, two poachers threaten the main character for asking too many questions. It ends worse.
  • Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze is arrested for the destruction he inadvertantly caused the first time he transformed into the Ghost Rider. Despite Johnny's insistence that he should kept far away from other people, the cops toss him into a large cell with about two dozen extremely rowdy criminals who immediately turn their attention on their newest cellmate. When it's all over, the only survivor is the one kid sitting in the corner minding his own business, who Ghost Rider claimed was an innocent, with his newly ruined jeans and a classic Oh Crap expression permanently frozen on his face.
  • The Godfather Part II: An elaborated one; Senator Geary tries to extort and bully Michael Corleone for a gambling license. A nonchalant Michael bides his time and turns the tables with a cold frame-up.
  • Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) had some car thieves with their recent steal. A carjacker attempts to steal the car at gun-point. The car thief slammed the driver's door into the carjacker, then berates him for his lack of skill at stealing cars.
  • Halloween II (2009): A redneck duo decide to pick a fight with Michael Myers when they find him crossing their property on his way to Haddonfield. It doesn't end well for them.
  • Heathers: In J.D.'s first scene, the resident school jocks Kurt and Ram decide that it would be a good idea to try to bully J.D., not knowing that they're dealing with a murderous psycho. He grabs his revolver and fires at them in front of the whole cafeteria, only for it to be revealed later that he was using blanks, but Kurt and Ram were still scared shitless.
  • Hellboy: The backstory for Liz Sherman has her as a young girl running from a group of attacking kids who throw rocks as she tries to escape over a fence. It ends badly. She accidentally burns down the fence. And the kids. And the entire city block. Then again, since they were deriding her as a freak, they may have known about her powers and thus deserved to die.
  • Highlander III: The Sorcerer: A variation with a con scheme. Two street card hustlers try to rip off the immortal warrior Kane, but he uses his magic to turn the entire card deck into winning cards and takes their money. After he takes one guy's glasses with another magic trick when they protest, they take the smart option and run away.
  • A History of Violence: Two small-time criminals try to rob an Indiana town coffee shop with the intent to rob/murder/rape everyone inside it. The restaurant owner, Tom Stall, is an ex-Philadelphia Mafia hitman/enforcer, who, in the words of one his former associates, "Is very good at killing people."
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Gandalf recounts a tale where he encountered some "unsavory" types who mistook him as a vagabond.
    Thorin: I imagine they regretted that.
  • Home Sweet Home: A character tries to steal gasoline and the battery from the killer's seemingly abandoned car, only for the killer to hop out and slam the hood down on his head while he's trying to get the latter.
  • House of 1000 Corpses: Near the beginning of , armed robbers makes the mistake of targeting the Monster Clown Captain Spalding and his truck stop of horrors. It doesn't end well for them.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner stops some greasy co-workers from sexually harassing a female co-worker and is threatened by them because of it. Later on, they corner him and beat him up a bit... Until Banner becomes his big green other self. It doesn't end well for his harassers.
  • Kick-Ass: Two bullies try to shake down Hit-Girl for lunch money when she's out of costume. Cue Hit-Girl cracking her knuckles. The bullies no doubt had a hard time living the result down.
  • Kill Bill: Whether Buck knew that Beatrix was the world's deadliest assassin or not doesn't really matter. He and the guys he brings in - aside from being completely vile - are quite unprepared for the possibility that she might wake up from her coma.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
    • The misanthropic Officer Mooney performs an act of Police Brutality on a klown, thinking it's a prankster in a costume. The klown, which had been playing along with Mooney's attempt to arrest it, instantly bashes his head against the cell bars hard enough to kill him.
    • Happens a second time when a gang of bikers tries to bully another Klown. It decapitates one of them and chases the rest away.
  • Killshot: A fancy-talking hoodlum and wannabe Badass decides to steal the cadillac of a middle-aged man who looks dressed like a modern-day cowboy after the man grabbed a bite at a cheap diner. After driving around for a while at gunpoint they park the car somewhere, and the hoodlum peruses through his wallet. Then the man shoves a gun in his face and reveals that he's a contract killer. Interestingly he doesn't kill the punk, but hangs around with him for the remainder of the film.
  • The Ladykillers: In the 2004 remake, two robbers try to shake down a convenience store owner. It turns out the man is an ex-Vietnamese General Ripper. The General and his no-nonsense wife quickly dispatch the muggers with two fingers to the nose and a pot of scalding coffee.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: A classic example occurs when a mook tries to take a vampire hostage. It ends about as well as can be expected for him.
  • Little Deaths: This 2011 horror anthology has the segment "House & Home". An amoral couple decides to kidnap a homeless woman and turn her into their Sex Slave. She eventually manages to slip out of her restraints, and it doesn't end well for the couple. She and the other homeless people turn out to be demons. They eat the wife and string the husband up, intending to keep him as a supply of fresh meat for the days to come.
  • Love at First Bite: Dracula's coffin has been misdirected while being shipped to New York City, and he has to walk the night streets to get to his hotel. Some muggers see this rich-looking white guy and think he's an easy target...
  • Man of Steel:
    • A random diner patron decides to verbally abuse, pour his drink over, and assault a server who stops him from sexually harassing a waitress, only to find himself physically unable to move the tall, muscular man. So the guy decides to throw a cup at his head as he walks away. He later walks outside to find his truck crumpled up and stuck onto some sharpened pieces of lumber.
    • The kids bullying young Clark.
  • The Mask: A comedic version occurs when a street gang makes the mistake of targeting protagonist Stanley just after he puts on the eponymous artifact for the first time. ("And last but not least, my favorite: a tommy gun!")
  • Men In Black II: The alien Big Bad Serleena takes the form of an underwear model. "She" is then immediately attacked by a rapist, who ends up as the prop in a throwaway gag about bulimia.
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan: A man steals Miss Piggy's purse. She screams after his retreating form, and then, very politely, walks up to a gentleman sitting on a bench and asks to borrow his roller skates. Hilarity ensues as the thief frantically tries to get away from Miss Piggy, who, of course, has her trademark psychotic look on her face. Later, when she gets him, and a cop takes him away, he makes a valiant effort at revisionist history:
    Thief: She stole my purse!
    Miss Piggy: What?!
    Cop: Nice try, buddy.
  • Near Dark: As the film proves, trying to carjack a couple of vampires is a really bad idea.
  • Nothing To Lose: A car-jacking is how Terrance meets depressed Nick Beam. Boy did you pick the wrong guy on the wrong day.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow flees to the blacksmith shop to get his shackles removed... only to find out that the blacksmith is Will Turner, who is not only the best swordsman in Port Royal but also the true love of the woman Jack just used as a human shield. It's only by "cheating" that Jack manages to escape intact.
  • Observe and Report: Played for surprise when the seemingly clueless Ronnie is abandoned on an inner-city street corner, far from his familiar suburban mall. He's soon accosted by a group of tough drug dealers. After some cowering and pleading, he suddenly unleashes the fury with a telescoping baton.
  • Old Dracula: Dracula is accosted by muggers, but he doesn't even need to use his powers; he has a swordcane that is quite well up to the job.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure: Played with. While Pee-Wee is wandering the streets at night looking for his lost bicycle, he's attacked by a street gang. He snarls at them, hissing like a vampire. They run off in terror.
  • The Perfect Host: This is the premise. An attempted bank robber on the run fibs his way into the dinner party of a nebbish guy played by David Hyde Pierce, and threatens him with a knife once he's discovered only to pass out from some drugged wine the latter served earlier. Turns out not only is Pierce's character utterly Ax-Crazy, but he's also the police lieutenant investigating the robbery.
  • The Perfect Weapon: In this Jeff Speakman vehicle, a group of thugs attempt to mug Speakman's character, not realizing that: 1) he is a kenpo karate master; and 2) he had just been chasing down the man who killed his sensei and failed to catch him. What happens next is pretty much what you'd expect to happen to a bunch of thugs who catch a martial arts master in the worst of all possible moods.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1989): Three men decide to rob Erik after learning about his wealth. One gets stabbed, one gets his head sliced off and the last one gets stabbed and flayed.
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • When Pumpkin and Honey Bunny try to rob the diner, Pumpkin goes to get the wallet of a dorkily dressed guy with a briefcase, demanding that the guy hand over his briefcase and threatening to shoot him when he refuses. Unfortunately for Pumpkin, said dorkily dressed guy with briefcase is Jules, badass hitman, who quickly gets the drop on Pumpkin, resulting in a Mexican Standoff. Unusually, however, this example ends without bloodshed, Jules having tired of his life as a professional killer.
    • Zed and his pawn shop buddy kidnap two guys for a little rape. It turns out their captives are a boxer and a mob boss. The boxer breaks out and frees the mob boss, who promptly swears to "get medieval" on Zed.
  • Predator 2: A gang of thugs attempt to rob a subway passenger, leading him to pull a gun on them. While this fails to disuade them, every passenger in the entire subway car proceeds to pull guns to back him up. Somewhat subverted, as it's the very escalation of violence that causes the Predator to stop simply tailing Harrigan's partners and go on a kill spree through the subway car.
  • RoboCop 3: A guy attempts to rob a doughnut shop. He gets lit up by twenty laser-sighted police firearms, from all the uniformed officers sitting in the shop at the time. The clerk turns to the robber and says "What's it like to be a rocket scientist?"
  • Secondhand Lions: A humorous example occurs that also serves to illustrate Uncle Hub's Retired Badass / Badass Grandpa status. Four teenagers start harassing Hub in a diner, whereupon he decides to teach them a lesson in respecting their elders.
    Hood: Hey, who do you think you are, huh?
    Garth: Just a dumb kid, Hub. Don't kill him.
    Hub: (to Garth) Right.
    (grabs Hood by the throat)
    Hub: I'm Hub McCann. I've fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am. NOW, GO HOME, BOY!
  • Shanghai Knights: In this Jackie Chan movie Jack the Ripper tries to attack Chon Wang's younger sister. Now we know why the killings stopped so suddenly.
  • Sherlock Holmes: In the 2009 movie, two thugs try to rob Irene Adler. Bad move.
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Two cantina thugs attempt to pick a fight with Luke. ("He doesn't like you...") Unfortunately for them, Obi-Wan just happens to be sitting next to Luke. Obi-Wan tries to avoid a fight by telling them that it wasn't worth it, but they wouldn't listen. And the rest is history.
  • Streets of Fire: A gang member pulls a knife on Tom Cody, who takes it away from him — and then returns it, lets the mook try to attack him, and takes it away again. Then he throws him through a plate glass window.
  • The Substitute: Two inner-city high school students pick a fight with the new substitute teacher early on in his new assignment. The "teacher" is actually a Vietnam veteran and mercenary who is undercover to investigate the conspiracy leading to his girlfriend's attack.
  • Supergirl: Kara is accosted by two truckers seemingly intent on raping her. Attacking a Kryptonian goes about as well as you'd think.
  • Superman: In the first Christopher Reeve movie, a mugger points a gun at Lois Lane and... Clark Kent. Since Lois was around, however, ol' Kal El couldn't open his special Kryptonian brand of whoop-ass on the crook for fear Lois would notice — although he did snatch the mugger's bullet out of midair when it otherwise would have hit her.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Also serves as an Aesop to anyone who didn't realise that attempting to blackmail someone who has literally nothing to lose while invading their home and personal space is not a good idea. This someone just so happens to be the eponymous Sweeney, whose master plan, concocted over fifteen years of torture, the monster-mugger is threatening to foul up. Oh, and did we mention that he's also mighty handy with a straight razor? Good job, Pirelli.
  • The Terminator: A trio of hoodlums decides that it's a good idea to pick on a Herculean naked man walking around at night. While it's generally not a good idea to start fights with crazed weightlifters, the punks probably would have been at an advantage had their intended victim not been a killbot from the future. Also played with, in that the Terminator is essentially mugging them (of their clothes, that is) before they decide to take out their knives.
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead: The contract killer Mr. Shh (played by Steve Buscemi) stumbles upon a mugging in progress. When the muggers turn their attention to the weasely guy in the fedora, they end up on the receiving end of some Kung-Foley.
  • Tough Guys: A bunch of thugs try to rob the title Badass Grandpas who show them how it's done old school.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Agent Simmons is speaking to some former Soviet Cosmonauts, while his campy assistant Dutch is standing next to the bartender. Eventually, it starts to get tense and firearms are drawn. After some yelling between the interested parties, Dutch effortlessly relieves the bartender of her shotgun, knocks her down and aims it and his own pistol at everybody, until Agent Simmons tells him in a foreign language to get back in the cage.
  • Transporter 2: The movie opens with a violent gang of carjackers attempting to steal badass courier Frank Martin's car. When they try to beat him into giving them the code to start the car, Frank opens a can of whoopass that leaves the four men on the ground and their female accomplice fleeing in terror.
  • Trick 'r Treat: Happens repeatedly. One kid steals candy from the house of a Serial Killer, and get killed. The Serial Killer is himself a victim of this when a young woman he's stalking turns out to be a werewolf.
  • Twins: A guy on a motorbike tries to steal Arnold Schwarznegger's character's suitcase. Arnie simply hangs on to his suitcase, causing the guy to sprawl off his bike.
  • Undercover Blues: A nasty knife-wielding punk insists on one more score, who turns out to be Jeff Blue (Dennis Quaid), who beats the would-be assailant into submission while holding his baby in one arm.
  • In the Wayne and Shuster, "Dr. Jekyll and Mrs' Hyde", Jekyll is on the comical rampage as the clownish villain Mrs. Hyde and is about to be attacked by Jack the Ripper. Hyde easily beats him up and robs him, followed by a headline, "Jack the Ripper Ripped Off!"
  • Vampires Suck: Almost happens when the trio menaces a fisherman. He knows Tae-Bo and punches one of them in the face repeatedly. Unfortunately for the fisherman, the vampires kill him anyway.
  • Wolf: A classic example occurs in this film, starring Jack Nicholson. Jack's character, Will Randall, is taking a nighttime stroll through Central Park (as a Werewolf), a trio of hooligans attempt to mug him. Needless to say, Will found a finger in his pocket the following day.
    Mugger: Hey buddy, can we borrow some cash?
    Will: All of ya? Well I've got about a thousand dollars on me, how much would you like to borrow? Five? Ten?
    (carnage ensues)
  • Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies: Happens a lot to the Djinn when he's in prison. Everybody is just screaming verbal abuse and threats at him, and he just smiles through all of it before doing his thing. He's disappointed when they eventually stop.
  • Witness: Detective John Book is disguised as a member of an Amish family. A group of rednecks bully the Amish, unaware that there is a dedicated non-pacifist in their midst. Book warns one of the bullies that he's "making a mistake," and when he persists, Book cleans his clock.
    Eli: It's not our way!
    Book: But it's my way.
  • Subverted in X-Men: First Class. When young Erik goes on a crushing spree in Shaw's office after the murder of his mother, his random attacks never reach Shaw, since he has neither the control to aim them nor the immediate metal on Shaw's person to offset that weakness. Even if he had the chance, though, Shaw's powers would have easily stopped Erik from harming him.
  • Young Frankenstein: Seen in a deleted scene, where a highwayman calling himself "Jack Spratt" (he tells this straight to the camera; there's a reason it's a deleted scene) tries to mug young Frankenstein's monster. Bad move.

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