: An Innocent Bystander
gets caught up in a dangerous situation better suited to professionals.
(accidentally sits on a terrorist.)
- Straight: Alice is a maintenance engineer working on the computer systems of an idle nuclear reactor when terrorists take over the building with ill intent. She does her best to stay alive and even takes out a few terrorists in the process if she's lucky.
- Exaggerated: Alice is a wheelchair bound asthmatic up against highly trained and equipped rogue spies.
- Alice is an ex Marine, although she's heavily outnumbered and far away from the weaponry that she is expertly skilled at.
- Alice is a security guard.
- Alice has Chekhov's Skill in various fields that help her outwit the terrorists, as well as intimate knowledge of how to use the Geo Effects and Defensive Feint Traps of the reactor to her benefit, since she designed/built it.
- Alice is an ordinary citizen...but she is a citizen in a World of Badass where even the wimpiest person is capable of kicking at least some ass.
- Inverted: Alice is a highly trained and equipped professional counterterrorism expert thrust into a situation a normal person would be better suited for. Since she Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training, she's spent so much time stopping terrorists that she has no idea how to calm down Bob (a baby) when he starts crying.
- Alice turns out to be a retired action hero who can totally handle the situation.
- Alternatively - she dies halfway through, barely seeing any action, and definitely not surviving.
- Double Subverted:
- Alice was in the army... which does her a whole lot of good when the terrorists turn out to be supernatural monsters.
- Alice was in the army... as a Desk Jockey.
- Parodied: Alice never notices the terrorists, while getting Mistaken for Badass as she unknowingly escapes by the skin of her teeth while somehow randomly killing a terrorist or two in the process in increasingly humorous and embarrassing ways.
Alice:"Why did the chair just scream in pain?"
- Zig Zagged: Alice is a meek office worker, but she sure knows her way around a shotgun, but then she runs out of ammo and hides in a closet for the next few hours, but when found by the terrorists demonstrates martial arts skill that had never been foreshawdowed or mentioned before. But then the terrorist leader calls in literal kung-fu proof mooks and it's time to hide again.
- Averted: Alice is highly trained and well equipped for the mission that she chose on her own free will to go on.
- Enforced: "We need a hero whom our audience can relate to — let's make her a computer programmer!"
- Lampshaded: "Is my name secretly John Mc Clane? I mean seriously, this plot is Die Hard on an X to a T."
- Invoked: Bob is trying to escape a conspiracy with the MacGuffin, but doesn't know who to trust ... so he chooses a random passerby with no connection to anything.
- Exploited: When the terrorists realize that they are fighting someone without military or police training or equipment, they start using tear gas grenades and gas masks to force her her out in the open.
- Defied: The Genre Savvy terrorists search every square inch of the nuclear plant to root out any any potential spanners in the works.
- Discussed: "Why is it my life keeps turning into a cheap copy of Die Hard? I'm not even that resourceful or a cop!"
- Conversed: "I like everyday heroes as much as the next guy, but why do they put them up against whole platoons of bad guys like they were Action Heroes?"
- Implied: The movie follows an outside team of counterterrorism experts who, halfway through, pick up a signal Alice is sending from within the plant.
- Alice doesn't have the skills or abilities to take on the terrorists, so Mission Control talks her through the grisly task of making a series of brutally efficient traps and very messy kills because of her inexperience. In the process of which she has to become The Unfettered and put aside her moral convictions and fears just to get enough of an edge against them. When she's congratulated by the counter-terrorism chief on being a hero, she just breaks down.
- The situation goes about as well as you would expect, what with an untrained civilian with no equipment going up against a team of heavily armed terrorists.
- Reconstructed: Though she knows she's no hero and horribly outmatched, Alice realizes it's not just her life but many thousands who depend on her, and digs deep to find out that she is smarter and stronger than anyone ever gave her credit for. This, combined with the fact that the terrorists are preoccupied with the law enforcement professionals outside, and the fact that she knows the building quite well and the terrorists don't know where anything is, allows this trope to be played straight but in a realistic way.
- Played For Laughs: Alice is The Fool, and survives through sheer dumb luck.
- Played For Drama: Alice had an acrimonious estrangement from her father, a cop, but as the action goes on she finds herself resorting to more and more of what her dad taught her.
We need someone to get back to Action Survivor
- you're not the ideal person for the job, but you're the Closest Thing We Got