The forces of good and the armies of darkness have gathered on opposite ends of the battlefield. Weapons have been drawn, Rousing Speeches have been given, and nerves have been steeled. The Final Battle is upon them, and there is nothing left to do but fight it. With a deafening roar, the enemies charge and... the audience howls in dismay as the story cuts away to something else.
The Charge-into-Combat Cut is a Camera Trick that is used when a fight is about to start, but the camera cuts away to another scene immediately beforehand or shortly after the fighting begins. This can be done to build suspense as the audience have to wait to see the outcome of the battle, or it may simply be used to pad time before the finale. While in many cases the narrative will return to the fight with the action already in progress, this can sometimes lead to a Fight Unscene if the audience only get to see the aftermath of the combat. If done poorly, this can end up being an Offscreen Moment of Awesome for some viewers.
Compare Commercial Break Cliffhanger, when a show cuts to a commercial just before a pivotal moment, and Anti Climax Cut, when a scene turns out not nearly as dramatic as it was originally made out to be. Also compare Battle Discretion Shot, where instead of jumping to a different scene, the camera just focuses on something else so that the audience cannot see the gory details of the battle.
The Charge-into-Combat Cut may involve Two Lines, No Waiting. It can also overlap with the Bolivian Army Ending when the Charge-into-Combat Cut also heralds the end of the work in question, or be played for laughs when the impending battle scene cuts away to a nonsensical Gainax Ending.
- This happens with the first Angel in Episode 1 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. We only find out how the first battle went through flashbacks in Episode 2.
- Quite common in Claymore, which uses this to build drama and to avoid long fighting scenes. (Yes, you heard that right: a Shōnen manga avoiding fighting scenes.)
- In the opening scene of Trigun, after an armed gang demolishes the bar that Vash was drinking in, he slowly stands up after finishing his drink, adjusts his glasses and points his gun at the gang...cue a cut to another town, in which the insurance adjusters on Vash's trail are introduced.
- Ultimately subverted, as it turned out that Vash was out of ammo. He ran.
- Done again after the Time Skip, when some local thugs kidnap a friend of Vash's who had antagonized before. Vash and Wolfwood head to their hideout, calmly walking toward it while the thugs open fire. It then cuts to Vash suddenly getting a haircut by said friend.
- Princess Resurrection loves this trope as most of the chapters involve trying to figure out what they're fighting. Once they do and overcome their tricks, we see Hime and her group prepare to fight...before it goes to the epilogue of the chapter with the heroes going about their usual lives.
- Present a few times in the anime series version of Fate/stay night, mostly to account for fights that weren't narrated within the visual novel. Most notably, it happens for Archer's last stand against Berserker.
- A Flower's Touch: After Angeal's mother kills herself, he flies into a rage, punches Sephiroth through a wall then comes at him with sword drawn. The scene then cuts to the two of them arriving battered and bloody back at Shinra Tower.
- Undead or Alive uses this as part of the finale, when Sue is about to square off against the zombie-fied pair of her former companions, Elmer and Luke. She charges at the pair with her sabre in hand before the camera cuts away, and only the aftermath is later shown.
- In the movie Pink Floyd The Wall, we see the charging soldiers at the Battle of Anzio, cutting back and forth between a young Pink years later, whose father died in the battle.
- This occurs in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, when Jack Sparrow charges the Kraken with sabre in hand.
- Galaxy Quest cuts away just as Alexander starts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- The ending of 300 consists of the Spartans charging the Persian army, beginning the Battle of Plataea.
- The ending of The Grey showcases Ottway squaring up to fight the black wolf, but smash cuts to black before the actual battle.
- During the climax of Thor: Ragnarok, the camera cuts away to Heimdall leading the people over the Bifrost when Thor and Hela charge at each other.
- Happens in The Hobbit, due to Bilbo being knocked out near the end of the Battle of Five Armies when The Cavalry shows up (the Eagles), and he only learns how it ends when he comes to hours after it has finished.
- The battle near the end of ''The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is done this way, only showing the aftermath of the battle and a brief description of some of the highlights by one of the characters.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: In cases such as the Battle of Riverrun, the Battle of Craster's Keep, and the Red Wedding, George RR Martin builds up an epic battle, describes the preparations in detail, then cuts away to a different plotline, returning to the battle when it's long over and the characters remark on what an epic and exciting sequence it was.
- Robert Jordan also does this in The Wheel of Time. Most notable, the decisive battle against the Shaido, during which Couladin dies, is entirely skipped over in favour of, um, something else.
- The Grand Finale of Angel ends with the main heroes (or what's left of them) about to face down an army of demons sent to kill them. The eponymous protagonist delivers the first blow, and... (However, a canon sixth season exists in the form of a comic book, picking up from where the show ended.)
- One of the most famous and poignant examples comes from Blackadder Goes Forth, which cuts from Blackadder and company charging over the trench to a field full of poppies. Note that this show is a comedy, albeit occasionally a dark one, and this was a (somewhat inevitable) Sudden Downer Ending. What's more unusual than the darkness of the situation, though, is the tenderness and sincerity of the scene in an otherwise very cynical, silly and iconoclastic series.
- Game of Thrones does this for most of its battles, to save money and screen time. The main subversion, the Battle of the Blackwater, is the Moment of Awesome of the entire second season.
- Another HBO Series, Rome, also does this for most of its battles, also to save money and screen time.
- In The Goon Show episode "Dishonoured" (remade as "Dishonoured Again"), Neddie Seagoon goes off to fight, and we only learn what happens next from Bloodnok's narration.
Bloodnok: How that battle raged - I watched it all on television, you know. Seagoon fought like a madman - how else? But alas... On that spot is now a little white stone. Once a year, Min lays flowers on it. The stone bears a simple inscription in Hindi - I haven't the heart to tell her that, roughly translated, it says "Bombay, 49 miles".
- This is fairly commonplace in Homestuck, although the author is always kind enough to cut back to the fight in time for it to begin...eventually.
- Naruto: The Abridged Series:
- In episode 9, Sasuke gets cut off in this manner twice before going into a fit of profanity and later refusing to do the scene.
- In episode 31, doubly subverted by Sakon and Kiba. Sakon starts saying that he wishes their fight won't be cut off, but stops at mid sentence. When Kiba asks him why he did that, Sakon starts answering that he was expecting the fight to be cut off... only for the fight to be cut off at that precise moment.
- The Dragon Ball Z Abridged version of Cooler's Revenge, Goku and Vegeta think they've finally taken down Cooler only to find out there's an entire army of Coolers coming their way. Despite being battle worn and obviously low on power, the two power up and go for a last stand, claiming they can each take a side of 100 (or 101 in Vegeta's case). And... it then cuts to them beat up and strung up mid-air by wires.
Goku: I can't believe they all kicked you in the dick.Vegeta: (Groans weakly)
- In the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, this trick is used a few times to cut between Aang's battle with Ozai and Zuko's battle with Azula.
- The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy episode Here Thar Be Dwarves'' has a more comedic example where a large scale war between dwarves and elves is about to be fought, but the narrator, claiming it's going to be too intense, censors it by playing footage of a koala eating a eucalyptus leaf over the battle.
- In the episode "Flash and Substance" of Justice League Unlimited, this takes place when Batman Dual Wielding batarangs is about to face Captain Boomerang dual wielding boomerangs.
- The Simpsons: In a far far future epilogue, two factions of Bart followers wage Holy War.
"Bart" Soldier: "We believe that God's last prophet, Bart Simpson, preached a message of tolerance and love.""Bartman" Soldier: "We believe the holy Bartman preached a message of understanding and peace, before he was betrayed by his follower, Milhouse! And pulled apart by snow-mobiles, until he died.""Bart" Soldiers: "Eat my shorts!!!""Bartman" Soldiers: "Cowabunga!!!"fade to black as they charge each other