Follow TV Tropes

Following

Bantering Baddie Buddies

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hazelchacha2.png
"'But, Mister Croup, we hurt people. We don't get hurt."
Mr. Croup turned out the lights. "Oh, Mister Vandemar," he said, enjoying the sound of the words, as he enjoyed the sound of all words, "if you cut us, do we not bleed?"
Mr. Vandemar pondered this for a moment, in the dark. Then he said, with perfect accuracy, "No."
Advertisement:

The Bantering Baddie Buddies are an inseparable pair of hitmen, criminals, or other Hired Guns who dish out violence and witty banter with equal measure. They engage in Seinfeldian Conversations, Snark-to-Snark Combat, philosophical dialogue, and Bond One Liners as they go about their violent business, and are typically eloquent (or so they think), Wicked Cultured, suit-wearing badasses.

The Bantering Baddie Buddies are rarely the top antagonist, but they are dangerous, and often fill the role of The Heavy. Their wit often endears them to audiences, and sometimes they can be Affably Evil Punch Clock Villains, but more often than not these characters are Faux Affably Evil and use their eloquence to mask their dark core.

The Bantering Baddie Buddies may refer to each other as Mr. X and Mr. Y, as a Shout-Out to Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd of Diamonds Are Forever, one of the Trope Codifiers.

Advertisement:

Compare/contrast Bumbling Henchman Duo. In both cases, a villainous duo provides entertainment, but the Bumbling Henchmen Duo is amusing because of their incompetence, whereas here the duo is entertaining and scarily competent. May overlap with Those Two Guys if the pair provides recurring, Greek Chorus-style commentary on the story's events, and Evil Duo if one of them is more cerebral than the other. See also Big Bad Duumvirate, Co-Dragons, and Villainous Friendship. Compare Boss Banter for when video game bosses provide witty banter in their battles, which may overlap with this trope if the bosses are Dual Bosses.


Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Blueberry: Cole Timbley and Walley Blunt, a pair of assassins posing as bounty hunters in The Lost Dutchman's Mine and The Ghost Fires Golden Bullets, repeatedly interspeak with each other during conversations, finish each others' sentences, and ask each others' opinions. However, when Blueberry shoots Cole in self-defense, Walley steps into action as a much more competent villain, actually matching Luckner, although eventually getting killed by him.
  • Clone Wars Adventures: "Thunder Road" features two Separatist mercenaries who seem more interested in whimsically speculating about how the canyon got its name than trying to capture Anakin and Obi-Wan. Their boss repeatedly tells them to shut up.
  • Mr. Schlubb and Mr. Klump of Sin City, a pair of criminals-for-hire better known as Fat Man and Little Boy. The banter between them is in the form of overly-eloquent speeches.
  • The Umbrella Academy: Hazel and Cha-Cha are a pair of super-effective assassins who are never seen apart, with basically the same personality. Their banter in particular is of the childish variety.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Although they're not necessarily bad, this is the dynamic between the jovial, sinister Thigpen and Clarence in the segment "The Mortal Remains." Claiming to be bounty hunters (or "reapers" in Thigpen's words), the two make their kills by the Englishman Thigpen distracting them with stories and words while the Irish Clarence handles "the thumping." They regale their fellow stagecoach passengers with songs, spooky stories, and philosophy while transporting their latest catch on the coach's roof; it's heavily implied that the pair's purpose is to ferry souls to the afterlife.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Virtually the whole film is a vehicle for this trope. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, perpetually on the run from the law, exchange the snappy dialog this 1967 classic is famous for from start to finish.
  • Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever, possibly the Trope Codifiers. (Quite a few other examples listed here are based on them, at least partially.) They have a strange habit of dispatching everyone else in the diamond smuggling ring and tried to off James Bond three times: once by leaving him to meet a fiery end in an incinerator; again by leaving him to rot in a pipeline; and the third and final time by appearing to him in person disguised as the cruise ship's kitchen crew. Each time, they out-quip even Bond himself. For example, when they dispatch a guy by blowing up a helicopter:
    Mr. Kidd: If God had wanted man to fly...
    Mr. Wint: He would have given him wings, Mr. Kidd.
  • Peter and Paul from Funny Games, most definitely. Although they are not as comical as you'd expect them to be (and Paul is more the brains and the dominant one, while Peter is his considerably less intelligent and more passive sidekick, they are every bit as bantering and bickering as the typical examples (which makes them a bit humorous given Paul's sardonic comments and Peter's whiny retorts) and make a great, murderous team of sociopaths.
  • In Bruges: Older, contemplative and fatherly Ken and younger, disinterested Ray — a pair of Irish hitmen — are sent by their vicious London mob boss to the medieval Belgian city of Bruges at Christmas after a job goes wrong to lay low. While Ken muses about the lovely city, Ray is bored and misses his home, while their exchanges throughout the movie from cross-generational perspectives steal the show, demonstrating a subtle affection between the two whose jobs are anything but subtle. Like Vincent and Jules in Pulp Fiction, a rare example where the duo are the stars, not just bit players provided as a sideshow.
  • Mean Guns: Crow and Hoss are best friends and gangsters who are constantly trading wisecracks as they navigate the prison, killing other criminals left and right.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Jules and Vincent are a pair of hitmen working for crime boss Marcellus Wallace. As they get their guns ready and prepare to do a hit, they have rambling, Seinfeldian Conversations (including an infamous one about the social meaning of foot massages, though that one had plot relevance given that Vincent was being hired to watch over Mia Wallace, their boss's wife, who was the subject of the foot-massage talk). As Villain Protagonists, they're rather likable, but also capable killers (at least Jules anyway; Vincent not so much). Jules is also prone to quoting the bible, making him seem more eloquent.

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin, two criminals hired to discredit Vetinari in The Truth, were designed as a homage to several other examples on this list. They engage in banter inspired by Pulp Fiction, and are collectively referred to as The New Firm in reference to Neverwhere's Old Firm. They're quite violence-prone, and Tulip is smarter than drug- (and not-drug-) addled Pin, though Pin does have extensive knowledge of art.
  • Bookend killers, bonebreakers, and all round intimidators Crask and Sadler from Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. stories fit this trope like a kidskin glove. After all, they do give people a sporting chance... if you can make it from the middle of the lake to the shore faster than them, they'll let you go, no hard feelings. Did they forget to mention the 100 pounds tied to your legs? Oops...
  • Mr. Skruff and Mr. Valdemar from the Norwegian-only children's book Kampen om Speilet (The Battle for the Mirror) fits this trope to a T, up to and including tall-and-thin/short-and-plump builds and eloquent speech. Chief lackeys to Evil Sorcerer Vesperon, they are notable for obsessing over finding the right answers for the right questions and cheerfully killing forest animals by blowing cherry stones at them.
  • Neverwhere: Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar (the Old Firm) are an inseparable pair of Ax-Crazy, violence-loving assassins who deliver dark jokes and philosophical observations as they murder. Croup is eloquent and philosophical, while Vandemar delivers deadpan, earnest lines.
  • Cathy and Anna from SeaFire. At one point, they disguise themselves as men and put on an exaggerated act of being duo of killers who talk to each other very formally and dress impeccably.
  • Simon R. Green also plays with this one a bit in one of his Secret Histories books: first he invokes it straight with the Russian werewolf/gangsters, the Vodyanoi brothers, and then he parodies it with a couple of Mooks who get so caught up bickering with one another that they forget they're supposed to be intimidating the hero.
  • The Somnambulist and its sequel The Domino Men: Exaggerated to the point of parody with the demonic Prefects, Hawker and Boon, two insanely powerful creatures in the obscene form of grown men dressed as Victorian schoolboys. Basically Chaotic Evil incarnate, the Prefects think nothing of slaughtering hundreds of people in seconds while joking together like two bullies having a lark. The best part? Apparently they're almost completely unstoppable.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fargo: Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers are two violent enforcers from the Fargo syndicate, sent to Bemidji to look into the murder of a trucking affiliate. In between shootouts and drowning victims in a frozen lake, they use sign language to banter in front of people and occasionally argue like an old married couple.
  • Justified: Jay and Roscoe are a pair of Psycho for Hire siblings working for Hot-Rod Durham. Jay provides a nonstop stream of humorous dialog, while Roscoe doesn't speak much but proves to be quite the intellectual when he does, dropping references to Shakespeare, among other things.
  • One episode of Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators had a pair of thugs (actually friendly actors) menacing the client (actually an unsympathetic Domestic Abuser), who called themselves R and G, one being talkative and the other quiet.
  • The Umbrella Academy: Their dangerousness masked by both the weariness of encroaching middle-age and by the boredom of the grind of being time-traveling assassins just going through the motions, Cha Cha and Hazel, both suit-wearing badasses as well as Punch Clock Villains in The Umbrella Academy, engage in a great deal of work-wife/husband dialog about subjects as banal as their benefits package and profound as their small place in keeping the time continuum in order, at least until their inevitable breakup. Until then, though, it's almost easy to overlook their bored brutality — for example, while torturing a garage worker they mistake for their mark, Number Five, with a car battery charger, or interrogating Klaus in the throes of drug abuse withdrawal — while squabbling with each other like a couple just doing dishes for the umpteenth time. Cha Cha stone-cold shooting Detective Patch in the back to get Hazel out of a jam speaks volumes to their bond without saying a word.

    Roleplay 
  • Enter the Arena... As Your Avatar!: Susamaru and Yahaba are a pair of demons serving under Gravitas and paid to fight in the Arena, who engage in frequently humorous and sometimes oddly heartwarming conversations as they carry out their missions.

    Theatre 
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: Gangsters 1 & 2 are a pair of mooks disguised as pastry chefs there to threaten Feldzeig into sabotaging Janet's wedding. As they are disguised as pastry chefs, the gangsters pepper their speech with dessert puns.
    Gangster #1: Now we hope we have made ourselves perfectly Eclair.
    Gangster #2: One cannoli hope.
    Gangster #1: You biscotti be kidding me.
    Gangster #2: A trifle much?
    Gangster #1: Don't tart with me.
  • Kiss Me, Kate: Likely the inspiration for the gangsters in The Drowsy Chaperone, this musical has First Man and Second Man, two witty gangsters who show up to collect a hefty debt from the leading man, who needs to keep the titular show open in order to pay this off. They sing the comedic "Brush Up Your Shakespeare", chock full of Shakespeare references.
    Just declaim a few lines from "Othella"
    And they think you're a heckuva fella.
    If your blonde won't respond when you flatter 'er
    Tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer,
    And if still, to be shocked, she pretends well,
    Just remind her that "All's Well That Ends Well."
    Brush up your Shakespeare
    And they'll all kowtow.

    Video Games 
  • Tales from the Borderlands has Kroger and Finch, two goons working for Vallory who serve as her muscle and depending on the situation are either threats or allies of convenience. While by the series standards they're pretty much mooks, since the protagonists are schlubs just trying to survive they're still comparatively dangerous.

    Web Animation 
  • Bowser's Kingdom: This old Flash animated series centers around two low-ranking minions for Bowser, Jeff the Goomba and Hal the Koopa. They often made cracks at the series' logic and whatever wacky misadventures they got themselves into.
  • RWBY: Emerald and Mercury make their debut going to a bookstore and commenting on the book selection before getting annoyed that the store's slogan, "Home to Every Book Under the Sun" is inaccurate and then killing the owner for running out on the White Fang. This characterization fades after Volume 3, due to minimized screen time in later volumes, Mercury being Put on a Bus, and Emerald's Heel–Face Turn in Volume 8.
  • RWBY Chibi: Mike and Marty are a pair of cynical Beowolf Grimm who work for Cinder. Together, they criticize Cinder's leadership, get coffee, and try to eat humans.
    Mike: Ugh, I hate that floating idiot!
    Marty: Mike, he's not worth it, man.
    Mike: Yeah, okay.
    Marty: Say. What do you say we go and devour the flesh from some innocent humans?
    Mike: ...Heh. You always know what to say to me, Marty.

    Web Comics 
  • Lackadaisy
    • The Savoy siblings, Nico and Serafine, are a Brother–Sister Team of Professional Killers working for the Marigold Gang. Serafine is a sadistic voodoo lady whereas Nico is a laid-back Boxing Battler, but both of them have a twisted sense of humor.
    • Mordecai Heller and Viktor Vasko used to be partners in crime when they worked for Atlas May, though after the death of Atlas, Viktor stayed with his widow Mitzi whereas Mordecai joined the Marigold Gang. Mordecai is an eloquent, well-dressed Wicked Cultured assassin, whereas Viktor is large, intimidating and stoic. In flashback scenes where we see the two of them working together, Mordecai sometimes goes into rants, to which Viktor responds with brief, snarky answers.

    Western Animation 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Mr. Wink and Mr. Fibb, who are most likely meant to parody Wint and Kidd from the James Bond example, are always cracking jokes on how badly the KND is doing against whatever chair-based Mecha they bring out to fight.
  • The Magician: Spade and Diamond are Blackjack's henchmen, and their back-and-forth is pretty versatile: sometimes it is Played for Laughs, and other times they convey a part of the plan to the viewer by discussing it between themselves, e.g. Diamond reminding Spade that gas masks are hidden inside clown noses.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report