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Bantering Baddie Buddies

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"'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."

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.

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.


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    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.
  • Eternals: Morjak and Gelt, introduced in Neil Gaiman's Eternals (2006) miniseries. Two persistent hired killers — Deviants (although they prefer "the Changing People") in Human Disguise suits. One talkative, one quiet. One tall and muscular, the other short and stout.
  • Invincible: The Mauler Twins are supervillains who act in tandem (with the rapport and the squabbling and the being evil thing), but they're Mad Scientists, not assassins or anything like that.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars, 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.
  • The Umbrella Academy: Hazel and Cha-Cha, providing the page image, 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 
  • The Boxtrolls: Obliviously Evil henchmen duo Trout and Pickles, who have several philosophical debates about whether or not they are the "good guys" and eventually make a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole has Jutt and Jatt, two long-eared owl brothers. The two are menacing upon snatching Soren and Kludd from their home, but they quickly go into this when comparing evil faces, either complimenting or teasing each other.

    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.
  • Bullet Train: The Twins, Lemon and Tangerine, a pair of brutal British hitmen who can't help but engage in longwinded banter with each other. It actually dooms them; they're so distracted by their conversation they don't notice that their Briefcase Full of Money has been stolen, and while they're busy arguing over that they don't notice that their charge, the Son, has been assassinated. In their ensuing quest to cover their bases, they still get a number of jokey exchanges in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • James Bond: 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.
  • 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 (well, Jules anyway; Vincent not so much). Jules is also prone to quoting the bible, making him seem more eloquent.

  • Christopher Shouldered and Hong Chi-Mei from Baccano! are two murderous homunculi prone to Seinfeldian Conversations in between their murderous escapades — Or rather, Christopher is prone to Seinfeldian Conversations while Chi plays his Straight Man.
  • 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 Pin is smarter than drug- (and not-drug-) addled Tulip, though Tulip 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...
  • In James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl gave us James's tyrannical aunts Sponge and Spiker (the names indicating their exaggerated combination of Fat and Skinny). When not terrorizing their nephew, they spend the rest of their time bickering in The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry. Miriam Margolyes and Joanna Lumley respectively depicted Sponge and Spiker in The Film of the Book, playing them as even more actively criminal and generally nasty.
  • 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. They're also ambiguously Humanoid Abominations with undefined supernatural powers. 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. 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 
  • Breaking Bad has an example of such a duo as Villain Protagonists, in the form of small-time meth cook Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and his former high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Since they're the leads, the series became notable for fleshing out the antivillainous duo's dynamics with each other as well as with other characters.
  • Cowboy Bebop. In "Blue Crow Waltz", we discover that this was the relationship between Fearless (now Spike Spiegel) and Vicious when they worked for the Syndicate. Their Establishing Character Moment has them debating the subject of manscaping while disguised as cleaners waiting for their target to exit his office so he can be stabbed and garroted to death.
  • Day Break has Fencik and Buchalter. Ex-policemen who stopped caring long ago. In the original version of the "Groundhog Day" Loop they install hidden microphones and cameras (killing an accidental witness), tail the hero, filming his every step, deliver threats to a corrupt policeman, who wasn't helping the conspiracy diligently enough, and stand guard while the hero is being beaten. In the subsequent iterations they prove to be the smartest and toughest agents of the conspiracy the hero has to face again and again. By the way, they are neo-Nazi.
  • 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.
  • Veronica Mars: In season 4, two Mexican cartel hitmen, Alonzo and Dodie, travel to Neptune to find the killer of one of the boss's nephews, who died in an explosive attack on a boardwalk motel. Most of their time together is spent bantering about the nature of their mission, the peculiarities of Southern California, and the high turn-over rates in their line of work.
  • Chris Partlow and Snoop Pearson on The Wire. Chris doesn't talk much, but he and snop have a specific rapport when they work together. Brother Mouzone and Lamar also have a dynamic of banter where Brother mostly uses Lamar as a rhetorical target for his own monologues.

  • 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.

  • 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 
  • Dawn of War 2: Retribution has Kap'n Bludflagg and his first mate Miss'ta Nailbrain, a pair of ork Space Pirates who get hired by an imperial inquisitor to assassinate a Khorne cultist. While Bluddflagg being in charge puts a twist on the standard dynamic of the trope, the two spend pretty much the entire ork campaign playing off each other and never failing to use the polite address.
    Bluddflagg: Miss'ta Nailbrain, it looks ta me like dese Eldars want ta run off wiv all dese nice shiny bitz an' gubbins.
    Nailbrain: Well Kap'n, dat's jus' rude dat is. An' after we came all da way down 'ere ta steal 'em! Wot should we do sir?
    Bluddflagg: Well Miss'ta Nailbrain, I reckon' we should kill dem. 'Orribly of course.
  • 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.
  • In Lackadaisy, Marigold Gang's Nico and Serafine, Siblings in Crime, tease and crack jokes at each other even after narrowly avoiding a Tommy Gun barrage that's blown their windshield during a Car Chase Shootout, while they were both in the front seat.
    Nico: Hoo! *Begins to cough while Serafine laughs* I think I swallowed a bug.
    Serafine: *smiling* You got a big fat bebette for dinner? No fair!
    Nico: *coughs, spits in his hand, and grins, showing her his palm.* Naw, jus' more glass!
    Both: *Laugh raucously*
  • 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 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has the two bounty hunters hired to track down Toph: Xin Fu (the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who runs the Professional Wrestling–style earthbending ring where Toph competed) and Master Yu (Toph's coolly analytical earthbending tutor).
  • 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.
  • TaleSpin: The two raccoon goons in "Vowel Play" are a bit more witty and competent than Mad Dog and Dumptruck and have a casual banter. When they receive instructions to surround City Hall during an extortion scene, one of them jokes "Who says you can't fight City Hall?"