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Animated

  • Mulan: Shan Yu and his council are the only Huns Badass enough to come popping out of the snow! Like daisies! During the climactic fight, Shan Yu does things like chopping through columns and bursting through roofs.
  • Skipper, the penguin leader in Madagascar, pulls off some of their most crazy stunts himself.
  • Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas is King of the Pumpkin Patch, and thus more than a match for Oogy Boogy, even in the seat of his trap-infested powerbase.
  • Epic:
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    • Ronin is the queen's highest-ranked soldier, and the most powerful Leafman in the movie.
    • Mandrake is the leader of the Boggans, and also the most powerful.
  • Strange Magic: Marianne is the heir to the throne and the best warrior of the fairy Kingdom. The Bog King rules the goblins and is their best fighter.

Live-Action

  • In Commando, Arius sees little action. But at the end of the movie, he ends up presenting a far more significant challenge to Matrix than his entire army was, with the exception of Bennett.
  • In Independence Day, the president is a former Air Force fighter pilot who leads the air attack at the end of the movie that destroys the alien mothership.
  • A Bridge Too Far includes a scene in which Robert Redford participates in a dangerous river crossing. Even though he is a Major, he does a great deal of the asskicking personally. In later interviews, Redford would point out that his character would have been directing the maneuver, and would have only actually fired his weapon in an emergency.
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  • In Equilibrium, Brandt fails to live up to his Badass Longcoat despite fighting Preston to a standstill in an earlier training match.note  By contrast, Vice-Counsel DuPont, the real leader of Libria, is a bureaucrat who seems harmless without his complement of bodyguards... but actually has Gun Kata skills almost on par with Preston himself and the ensuing final duel lasts longer than most of Preston's skirmishes with the Faceless Goons. Then again, there was foreshadowing in that DuPont is earlier glimpsed teaching a class of gun-kata students.
  • In Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, the toughest opponent Riki fights in the prison is the warden because as everyone knows "The warden of any prison has to be the very best in kung-fu".
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  • In the Ultraviolet film, also directed by Kurt Wimmer, the government's leader Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus is the hero's most physically dangerous adversary. Justified or handwaved by the fact that he was one of the original lab technicians researching and infected by the hemophage virus and used the abilities it granted him to aid his rise to power.
  • The movie Air Force One, justified or handwaved by the fact that the President was a member of the military with an exceptional record. Being played by Harrison Ford doesn't hurt, either.
  • Star Wars:
    • Yoda in Attack of the Clones and any of his appearances that chronologically take place after that. There's a reason why he is called the Master. Mace Windu too, to a lesser extent.
    • Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi. After being a Non-Action Big Bad in the first two prequel films, he battles Mace Windu and Yoda in two different lightsaber duels as such a formidable opponent that by the latter film, Yoda explicitly warns Luke to not underestimate him.
  • Apparently being Secretary of Defense in the live-action Transformers movie provided enough badass to try blowing away an alien robot with a shotgun.
  • In Big Game, the chief of Moore's security detail, Morris, is expert shot, tracker and fighter.
  • In Sha Po Lang, the Triad boss Wong Po turns out to be even faster and tougher than The Dragon, his personal assassin Jack. Not only can he throw down with the main character, who can literally punch people stupid, and take him and two of his partners at the same time, but he can survive getting over-the-head body-slammed into a giant tower of beer bottles and drinking glasses and then stand up a minute later to throw the hero out the window. Of course, the guy's played by Sammo Hung, who is known for his kick-ass action roles in the Hong Kong scene.
  • Played for laughs in Idiocracy. The President of the USA is a hulking pro-wrestler with a fondness for automatic weapons.
  • Seen in the finale of xXx: State of the Union, where after easily subduing in hand-to-hand combat a few dozen marines, a couple squads of Elite Mooks, and a The Dragon Navy SEAL, the hero finds himself being outmatched by the 60-year-old Secretary of Defense.
  • In Men in Black II, MiB leader Zed, despite being a 70-year-old administrator, nevertheless manages to deliver a rapid series of improbable flying kicks to the face of the main villain.
  • Subverted in the climax of the film Wanted. Although Sloan is briefly shown to have the same superpowers as the other master assassins, he's too smart to actually confront the hero directly in a fair fight (the hero, for his part, is also too smart to fight fair).
  • In Curse of the Golden Flower, the Emperor > you. Both in kung fu and magnificent bastardry.
  • In Batman Begins, Batman utterly owns everyone he fights pretty much instantly, including (leading up to the final fight) 4 ninjas in full body armor who presumably have the same training and skills as he does. However, Ra's al-Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows and Batman's Broken Pedestal mentor, is able to match Batman blow-for-blow and ultimately "wins" the fight, despite Batman wearing a high-tech suit of hardened combat armor, and Ra's wearing what's essentially very nice formal wear.
  • James Bond
    • Bond's official rank in Her Majesty's Navy is Commander, making him a moderate example, although very little of his career in the Navy has been shown onscreen.
    • Quantum of Solace ends with James Bond and Dominic Greene battling on a collapsing catwalk inside an exploding building which is also on fire. Greene doesn't exactly do well, but he puts up a much longer and involving fight than you'd expect a 5-foot tall, physically unimpressive corporate suit to do so against the world's most famous British murder machine, especially considering how Bond dispatches mean-looking, highly-trained professional killers much more quickly on several occasions earlier in the film.
  • General Miura from Ip Man throws down with three guys in his first appearance and takes them down without much fuss. Ultimately he is the only one who actually manages to land real hits on our hero.
  • In Scanners, Revok is not only the leader of the evil scanner underground, but also one of the two most powerful scanners in the world — which is, of course, how he started the underground in the first place.
  • At the climax of Cliffhanger, effete villain John Lithgow (!) proves to be a match for musclebound Sly Stallone.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In addition to the times the source material uses this trope, the fight with the Uruk-hai at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring shows the Fellowship effortlessly mowing down the Uruks, until the orc chief Lurtz shows up. Lurtz fatally wounds Boromir with his arrows, and he's only defeated after a drawn out, one-on-one fight with Aragorn, King of Gondor. Of course, Lurtz also had the Inverse Ninja Law on his side.
    • Legolas is an elven prince. He also quite memorably brings down an Oliphaunt singlehandedly.
  • Played painfully straight in Red Sonja. Nowhere in the preceding scenes did the Evil Queen show any kind of martial skill, but when she and Sonja face off, it's a battle royale, apparently just because the film needed a cathartic climactic final fight.
  • In Fist of Legend, the Japanese general is an incredibly powerful martial artist.
  • In Avatar Colonel Quaritch has his dropship severely damaged when Jake Sully throws a missile into a turbine. Despite this, and having his shoulder on fire, he climbs into a mech as the dropship spirals out of control, pats out the flames, and jumps out of the dropship to land safely as it crashes in a hulking flaming mass behind him. Half of this he does while holding his breath. Earlier in the film, he kicks open a door without an oxygen mask and unloads an assault rifle and a pistol into an escaping gunship. And finally, in the final battle he fights hand-to-hand (albeit in a mech) with two Na'Vi and one palulukan, and again a portion of this is done holding his breath.
  • Kick-Ass
    • Frank D'Amico in the climax of Kick-Ass, as foreshadowed by earlier scenes of him practicing martial arts, although he also has a couple of factors tipping the balance in his favor, such as the fact that he's, you know, fighting a ten-year-old girl. Hit Girl previously mows down his Mooks by the dozen in a firefight, but she runs out of ammo by the time she faces D'Amico and is forced to resort to kung-fu fighting him, getting completely thrashed in the ensuing fight.
    • In Kick-Ass 2 it is inverted and playing straight. It is playing straight at the "superheros" of "Justice Forever" because their leaders, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, are by far the strongest fighters among them. Likewise was Colonel-Stars-and-Stripes, the former leader of the strongest fighters among them. With the "supervillains" of "Toxic Mega Cunts" but it is inverted. Red-Mist is a weak fighter and buys other criminals to fight for him. Probably could defeat him almost any of his followers in combat.
  • The main villain is the only one in The Transporter to test the hero in a one-on-one fight. And he's even nicknamed "Wall Street", making it seem like he's just a corporate suit. So, for the final fight, both fight without their suits.
  • In Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole, Metalbeak and Nyra are able to hold their own in battle, and will fight alongside their armies.
  • The Emperor from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was a prodigy in every skill, surpassing all his teachers in elemental magic, martial arts, military strategy and pretty much everything else. How he lost to Brendan Frasier and co is a mystery.
  • In the 1989 film of Henry V, as in the original play, King Henry leads his men into battle at Harfleur and Agincourt. In the film, Henry is shown at Agincourt kicking all kinds of French ass.
  • The Three Musketeers (2011) briefly shows Cardinal Richelieu sparring with three Mooks at once. Possibly partly Real Life, since he received a military training before becoming a priest, and was still known as a good rider and fencer twenty years later.
  • Resident Evil film series places badass Albert Wesker as the chairman of Umbrella Corp, thus implying that he was given his superhuman abilities at his own order.
  • In Roman Polanski's adaptation of Macbeth the eponymous character just destroys a bunch of mooks trying to kill him.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers:
      • Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., jumps out of an out-of-control helicopter and shoots down a plane carrying a nuclear warhead with an unguided anti-vehicle rocket, among other things. His subordinates are not nearly as impressive, with some exceptions of course.
      • Likewise, when Captain America orders police officers to get people to safety and set up a perimeter, they initially question why they should be taking orders from him... until he quickly disposes of some attackers right in front of them.
    • Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3 is the most dangerous foe to the title character, despite the fact that most of his Mooks are veteran soldiers who have been enhanced by the Extremis Super Serum, while he himself was a cripple until recently. Despite this, he survives what some of his Mooks don't. He can also breathe fire.
    • Deconstructed in Black Panther. Wakanda's monarch are determined by ritual combat with only the strongest becoming king and gaining the title of Black Panther. The Killmonger crisis showed that choosing a king based on fighting prowess is a terrible idea. Killmonger, who is as poorly unsuited to ruling as he is good at killing people, manages to take over the nation in hours and create a totalitarian state.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Thanos is the leader of his empire, and he is the most powerful fighter in it. He ripped apart Tony Stark's nanotech armor barehanded; the same armor that Cull Obsidian could not penetrate even with weapons. With his double-bladed sword, Thanos broke Captain America's Nigh Invulnerable vibranium shield, which was able to No-Sell everything prior.
  • The French General Delatombe in The Brothers Grimm spends most of the film sitting around. However, when necessary, he shows that he handles a sword very well for an old man and nearly dispatches one of the brothers. His aide-de-camp is also pretty good, despite not looking it.
  • In The Wolverine, Shingen is by far the best swordsman out of the entire Yashida Clan, with the possible exception of his father.
  • In WarCraft, pretty much everyone in position of authority is a badass. Lothar has probably the highest kill-count in the film, his brother-in-law king Llane leads the army and kicks serious amounts of orc ass, and warchief Durotan and Sorcerous Overlord Gul'dan resolve their differences in a mak'gora.
  • Played for comedy in Black Dynamite, where Black Dynamite's greatest physical test is his final martial arts showdown with Richard Nixon.
  • In Jurassic World it is first inverted, because the "alpha male" of the pack of Velociraptors is a human. But later it plays straight, because the Indominus Rex the new alpha male is.
  • Natural Born Killers: The Warden of the prison (Tommy Lee Jones) that Mickey and Mallory are held at is no pencil pusher, personally breaking up a fight between two of the inmates without asking the guards for help. Lampshaded by Scagnetti who says that he should appear on American Gladiator.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001): General Thade is a Frontline General despite his advancing age. Earlier in the film he also murders two gorilla soldiers who tower over him by doing a backflip over them to kill them both from behind.
  • Johnny Reno: Mayor Yates boast that he can lick any man in town, and attempts to beat Johnny Reno into submission. He doesn't succeed, but he comes closer to beating Reno than anyone else in the film.
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