"Troper, I'll give you to three to stop reading this description."
"Don't try to defy me! This technique is very effective. Parents, especially Sitcom parents, use this technique to keep their kids in line all the time! And it's most definitely based on a very effective real-life technique! Sure, the kids always defy their parents at one, but then we get to..."
"Sometimes, fighters subvert this trope by launching into action here. Of course, in our case, this is when the kids bolt to their rooms for fear of punishment. What's the punishment, you ask? Eh heh... Um... The other option here is that the kids realize that the parent doesn't want to punish them, and so they continue to be defiant instead. In that case, you might notice that the pace of the numbers becomes comparable to a Magic Countdown."
"Two and a half..."
"Come on now... Wouldn't you much rather read up on Rule of Three, Timed Mission, Just in Time, Race Against the Clock, Exact Time to Failure, or Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, which are all somewhat related to this trope? Or maybe you'd like to look through Insufferable Genius or Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist - the kinds of people who are often on the recieving end of this trope. And the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy also gets this a lot, but he actually lets the counter get to three before demonstrating that he knows kung fu. At least have a look at Knight Templar Parent, which is one type of character who often employs this trope. And this is not to be confused with On Three."
"Two and three quarters..."
- Black Lagoon. In "Roberta's Blood Trail" the Power Trio of Action Girls are about to attack the American special forces on the count of three, but the Russian Mafia snipers shoot their weapons from their hands.
- From the Metroid Manga:
Samus: Ridley! I'll defeat you on the count of three. If you're capable, let's count together.
- With each number she fires a different weapon, and Ridley's down after "Three."
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bandit Keith, angry over losing in the semi-finals of the Duelist Kingdom tournament (never mind the fact that he cheated), holds a gun to Pegasus' head and demands the prize money, giving him until the count of three. Pegasus calmly says, "Fine, one two three," and taps a button that opens a trap door under Keith, sending him falling into the ocean.
- Wolverine counts to 3 with his fist under another person's chin as added incentive for the person not to defy him.
- In Alone, Together, Will Du thinks he has Shego cornered and announces that he's coming in on the count of ten. He counts to two, bursts in, and tasers a green neon sign Shego left to cover her retreat.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, an irate John gives the guy pounding on their door in the wee hours of the morning a count of ten to take himself off before the four do something nasty to him (like drop him out of their tenth-floor window like the last set of buggers, and this time we might not be nice enough to catch you before you hit the ground!). John starts counting, but the guy hastily explains who he is just when John gets to three.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: In chapter 25, an HDA officer does this; refusing to believe that the rylo demon is not their pet and that Moka and co. aren't involved in the attack on the city, he gives them to the count of ten to either call it off or kill it before he just has his men gun them all down, and only then will they listen to anything they have to say. Just as he reaches ten, Astreal, aided by Hex's power, manifests the powerful Artimus Arrow and shoots the rylo down. The HDA gives in at that, and the director agrees to meet with Moka to talk things out.
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Roarke gives the Atlantean King to the count of ten to show him where the Heart of Atlantis is hidden.
- In Despicable Me, Gru tells the girls he's going to count to three and they better be in his, erm, vehicle by three. He counts one, then two, then the scene cuts to the girls' ballet class as the teacher says "three, four", showing that the girls overruled Gru.
- At the climax of The Jungle Book (1967), when Mowgli finally comes face to face with Shere Khan, the tiger decides to toy with him a bit by closing his eyes and counting to ten because "it makes the chase more interesting."
Shere Khan: One...two...three... [peeks and sees Mowgli wielding a branch] four... You're trying my patience. Fivesixseveneight, nine, ten! *ROAR!*
- In The Lion King 1½, when Simba is jumping around in a tree.
Timon: Young lion, get down from there!
Simba: Yahoo! All right! Hey, you guys look like ants down there!
Timon: I'm counting to three!
[Simba jumps onto a weak branch, it breaks]
Pumbaa: Uh oh!
[Simba continues to fall]
Timon: One! Two!
[Pumbaa jumps onto Timon, making a pillow for Simba to land on]
Timon: [Gasping for air] Threeeeee.
- In Tarzan, Jane does this when trying to get a sketch picture of the baby baboon from said baby baboon. But when she reaches two, she just makes the baboon look one way for bananas before getting it back.
- The Dark Knight Rises. Selina Kyle had been hired to steal Bruce Wayne's fingerprints. When the man who hired her looks like he's renaging on his side of the deal...
Selina: I don't know what you're planning to do with Mr Wayne's prints, but... I'm guessing you need his thumb. You don't count so good, huh?
Stryver: I count fine. [mook puts a gun to Selina's head] In fact I'm counting to ten, right now.
- Die Hard: Big Bad Hans Gruber likes this trope. First he uses the count-up on the Japanese executive. When the latter doesn't give him the access code on three, he gets a Boom, Headshot!. Later Gruber does the counting on the hero but this time his weapon wasn't loaded.
Hans: I'm going to count to three. There will not be a four. Give me...the code, please.
- Used very well in 1989's The Dream Team. The bad guy's got a gun on the girl when Michael Keaton comes up from behind pointing a gun at the bad guy's head.
Bad Guy: I'm a police officer. Drop the gun.
Keaton : I'm a mental patient. I'm not impressed.
Bad Guy: I'm going to count to three.
Keaton : [pulls hammer back] I'm not even going to count. Gimme the gun. [beat] GIMME THE GUN!
- Dredd. A group of armed gunmen are waiting for Dredd, so he turns on his crowd-control speaker and gives them twenty seconds to disperse, then drops this to ten seconds when they don't.
Mook Lieutenant: Fuck you, Judge. You've got five.Dredd: Thanks for the heads up. (sets off a flashbang and slaughters them all)
- In Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman tries this to get Zuul to release its hold on Dana Barrett's body. It fails spectacularly when Dana begins growling and snarling monstrously at him while also levitating off her bed.
- Played for laughs by the Shrunken Head on the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He's counting down from 10 though.
- Happens and played with in both of the first two Home Alone movies, through the films Kevin watches (and plays back to unsuspecting people he's trying to convince to leave). The first movie has a count of ten that goes: "One... two... ten! [gunfire]" and the second, a count of three: "One... two... [gunfire] three."
- Sinisterly subverted as per above in the Charles Laughton version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When confronted with a begger who refuses to pay his share into the common fund, Clopin gives him to the count of three to reconsider — and stabs him just as he says, "Three."
- In the Lethal Weapon series, this is played with as Riggs and Murtough discuss if it's 1, 2, 3, then go, or go on 3.
- Logan. The baddie cowboy messing with the farm's water pipes, does a Dramatic Gun Cock and says he will count to three for Munson and Logan to walk away. He only gets to "two" before Logan takes the rifle off him, butt-strokes him in the face with it, then breaks it over his knee.
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Max has to start a fight with Masterblaster as a pretext to getting into Thunderdome, the arena where anyone can be legally killed. Things don't start well when Giant Mook Blaster grabs Max in a Neck Lift.
- Mission: Impossible Fallout: During the Action Prologue, a member of Syndicate holds Luther hostage and counts to three for Ethan to hand over the MacGuffin. On three, Ethan decides to do both, Shoot the Hostage and Shoot the Hostage Taker.
- King Arthur is given very specific instructions from The Book of Armaments as to how to count to three in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once at the number three, being the third number to be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."
- Yet as the page quote indicates, he still manages to botch it. Luckily, their target (the Killer Rabbit) got blown up anyway.
- In The Monuments Men Lt Granger steps off a land mine on one giving everyone a fright when the detonator goes off but not the explosive. He later says he was too scared to wait for three.
- Played for Drama in Slumdog Millionaire. After rescuing Latika, the love of Jamal's life, Salim attempts to rape her. When Jamal protests, Salim holds a gun up to his brother's head and tells him to leave before the count of three. "One." Jamal doesn't move. "Two." Jamal doesn't move. "Three." Latika lowers the gun herself and tells Jamal to go, letting Salim sleep with her to save his life.
- Song of the South: In the "Tar Baby" story, Br'er Rabbit threatens to attack the silent Tar Baby unless it responds to him by the count of three. As Br'er Fox eagerly waits for his plan to work, he gets frustrated when Br'er Rabbit counts "two-and-a-half".
- Repeatedly Subverted in Space Cowboys. As a Running Gag and plot point, both sides would agree to a three-count, then immediately shout "Three!"
- From the first Transformers film: After having enough of Agent Simmons being an Obstructive Bureaucrat, Captain Lennox grabs him by the shirt collar and slams him against a vehicle as the rest of his squad point their firearms at the other Sector 7 agents, leading to this exchange:
Simmons: I'm gonna count to five, okay-
Lennox: Yeah, well, I'm gonna count to three. [cocks his pistol and aims it point-blank at Simmons' chest]
- The Untouchables (1987): Eliot Ness and George Stone have just engaged in a train station shootout with a bunch of gangsters in order to capture the bookkeeper who can help them arrest Al Capone. One of Capone's men is using the bookkeeper as a Human Shield, threatening to count to three and shoot him if the Untouchables don't let him leave. Ness lowers his gun, and the gangster counts "one". Stone shoots him where he stands and finishes "Two".
- The World Is Not Enough. James Bond does this while interrogating a man at gunpoint. As the man is a banker he asks sarcastically, "You can do that, can't you?"
- X-Men: First Class. Having witnessed his metal-bending powers in moments of stress, Dr Klaus Schmidt calmly informs Erik Lehnsherr that he's going to shoot his mother at the count of three unless he moves a coin. Only a child at the time, Erik fails to do so and his mother gets shot. As an adult Erik hunts down Dr. Schmidt, now the Big Bad of the movie, Sebastian Shaw. Erik announces that he's going to move the coin (which he's kept all these years) on the count of three. He then uses his powers to slowly push it through Shaw's head and out the other side.
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?: This is how Ulysses knows Penny's serious about something. The only time she uses it directly, it convinces him to go to his cabin despite Pete telling him there was an ambush waiting (although because the trio had just been pardoned by the governor, he thought that Boss Cooley would accept that) to retrieve her wedding ring. After the group escapes being hanged through sheer good fortune, and Ulysses presents the ring to her, she says it's not her ring, therefore she will not remarry him until he finds it (despite it being somewhere in a 9,000-hectare lake).
- Terror Birds: The villain's henchmen tell the protagonists to start running by the time they count to three, or they'll shoot. Just before three, a terror bird decapitates one of them.
- In the Discworld novel The Light Fantastic, Cohen the Barbarian does this to an opponent:
Cohen: I will count to three. One. Two. [knees the guy in the groin] Three.
- In the Newsflesh trilogy, Shaun and Georgia count to three, always stopping at 2, as one of many checks for Kellis-Amberlee Amplification. of course, when Shaun is talking to Georgia in his head, he only counts to one out loud.
- This fits perfectly with the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, as seen in 24
Jack Bauer: I am going to ask you one last time. Who are your co-conspirators? You have until the count of three, or I will kill you.
- That particular instance is a subversion, though. Jack Bauer needed President Logan alive so that he could plant a recording device on him. He never actually intended to follow through with his threats.
- Blake's 7.
- "Gambit" opens with a disgruntled patient who's going to shoot a Back-Alley Doctor on the count of three. The doctor's bodyguard shoots the gun from his hand on two.
Doctor: Thanks. Next time don't leave it so late.
- In "Hostage", a criminal takes Cally hostage and orders Jenna at gunpoint to teleport them both down to the planet on the count of three. On two Cally kicks him in the groin and Jenna teleports him into space instead.
- In "Powerplay", Vila realises he's Being Watched, so starts to order a non-existent squad of troops into position, commanding them to attack on the count of ten. When nothing happens, he starts his count again.
- "Gambit" opens with a disgruntled patient who's going to shoot a Back-Alley Doctor on the count of three. The doctor's bodyguard shoots the gun from his hand on two.
- In one episode of The Honeymooners, Ralph is worried that the I.R.S. is investigating his taxes. Ed Norton tries to relax him and to get his mind off of it, but Ralph becomes so agitated that he orders Ed to leave.
Ralph: Norton, I'm gonna count to five, and when I get to five, you better be out the door. Now I'm gonna count!
Ed: I'm not a-scared of you. If you could count, they wouldn't be investigating your taxes!
- Jessie: In "Karate Kid-Tastrophie" when Emma enters wearing an inappropriate outfit, Jessie slowly does this in an attempt to get her to change her clothes. She does not move once, and instead stares at her with a smirk and her arms folded as if saying, "Make me."
- An episode of Malcolm in the Middle had Lois enter a room, walk to the center and announce that she knew exactly where Dewey is hiding and that he'd better come out by the count of 3. Then she counts down, waits a second, and goes to do that until she hits the room where he is.
- On an episode of M*A*S*H, Winchester storms into Rosie's bar, furious to find out that Hawkeye and BJ are in the middle of a drunken party when they're supposed to be relieving him for Officer of the Day duties. He announces that he is "going to count to one." Unfortunately, he doesn't even get that far before the other officers hog-tie and gag him.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus, uses a count-down version of this trope as a warning of death by bazooka:
Brian: Right, you've got five seconds...Where are the fillings? [slowly] Five, four, three, two, one, Zero! Zero! Oh! Hah! Forgot to fire it!
- Star Trek: Voyager. In "Waking Moments" hostile aliens use a device to make the crew fall asleep. Chakotay tells an alien to shut off the device at gunpoint. He starts to count down from five and falls asleep on two.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: In "Strange Things", Derek discovers a bunch of photos of his protege John Connor in the apartment of his New Old Flame Jesse. When she comes out of the shower wearing just a Modesty Towel, she finds him pointing a gun to her and he gives her three seconds for her to explain herself before he shoots her.
- The Untamed: Inverted. When Jin Zixun continues to be reluctant in telling Wei Wuxian where the surviving Wens are being detained, Wei Wuxian threatens to use lethal force if he doesn't start talking and begins to count down from three to one. Jin Zixun caves after Wei Wuxian counts down to two.
- A few jokes are based around this trope:
- There's a joke about a newlywed settler couple. Every time the horse trips, the husband says "that's [insert number under 3]. Once he gets to three, smack-dab in the middle of death valley, he shoots it. The wife gives him a talking-to, and his reply is "That's one."
- "You have until I count to ten. I'm counting by fives/in binary".
- [bang] One. Two. Three.
- Referees will count certain things besides pinfalls, which they generally never get to the end of or it takes a long time.
- Illegal holds are to be let go of by the time the ref counts to 5 or the holder will lose by disqualification, but it's more likely that the ref will count, "1, 2, aw come on, get offa him!, 3, seriously, I mean it this time, 4, all right that's it break it up..."
- If a wrestler leaves the ring they have a 10 count to get back in or lose by countout. Different refs have different cadences but it's always at least 5-10 seconds between counts. Plus it's in the actual rules that if they get interrupted for any reason they have to start over at 1.
- In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Margaret uses her magnetic powers to keep Irene in place and repeatedly demand information out of her that Irene doesn't have. Feeling her anger bubble up, Irene starts counting down from ten- when she reaches zero, she plans to manipulate Margaret's throat muscles just enough to make her lose consciousness. It's perhaps for the best that they were interrupted before she could count down fully.
- When Cyrano de Bergerac first appears, he gives Montfleury (an actor he dislikes) to the count of three to leave the stage.
- In BIONICLE, Axonn gives Reidak five seconds to put that rock down and leave in one piece.
"One...two...FIVE!" [throws axe]
- Batman will occasionally threaten Riddler informants this way in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Batman: I'm going to count to one, and then I get mad.
Informant: You wanna know about Riddler?! I know lots about Riddler!
Batman: Thanks. [knocks him out anyway]
- William does this to his brother Ray in the end of the 'Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood''. It doesn't end well.
- Deus Ex: JC Denton does this to a punk for harassing a lady.
- Calo Nord in Knights of the Old Republic does this to some thugs who were harassing him in a Lower City bar on Taris, killing them after they foolishly kept bothering him. If the player character tries to talk to him, his only reply is tell them to go away before he starts counting down.
- Spec Ops: The Line: At the end of the game, Konrad has you at gunpoint. On the count of five, he will shoot you. Before he does, you have the choice of shooting him or yourself.
- In the trailer for Darksiders Genesis, Malgros the Defiler tells Strife he has until the count of three before he kills him, and feeds his corpse to his minions. After "one", Strife pulls out his pistols and ventilates two of Malgros' heads, calling "two" and "three" with his shots.
- In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Inspector Carmelita Fox has Sly dead-to-rights at the end, but because he just helped her take down Clockwerk, she gives him a ten-second head start to escape if he chooses. He counts down the seconds in the narration while dawdling at the scene, leaving her very puzzled... until he finally gets to one, planting a big kiss on her lips. This distracted her long enough for him to handcuff her to a nearby railing.
- Time Crisis 5 has Robert Baxter give Keith Martin this trope to hand the briefcase, which contains data on VSSE's traitor, over to him.
Robert: I'll give you to the count of three. Hand over the case. Three... two...
- In Jerma985's video "CS:GO Jailbreak: Grandpa Takes Control!", Grandpa, playing a warden, spotted a prisoner who went down the ramp without his permission and he gave the prisoner on a count to five or he will get shot. Of course, this being Grandpa, he got stuck to saying 3 three times during the countdown.
- In the All Dogs Go to Heaven TV series, Charlie and Itchy come across a guard dog chained up. Charlie's solution?
Charlie: Itchy, on the count of three, run like a mad dog. [Guard dog gets close, and Charlie runs off] Three!
Itchy: Hey, what happened to one and two?
- In The Crumpets, one episode ends with Ms. McBrisk counting to three (including 2.8 and 2.9) to offer a punishment to her daughter Cassandra. At three, she's unable to force her daughter to her bedroom because their house unfolds by opening the front door.
- When Danger Mouse instigates a circumstance with an "after three" rule, he bypasses one and two and goes straight to three.
- Occurs in Droopy short Blackboard Jumble, when a group of pups hide from the Wolf in a closet.
Wolf: Alright, you smart-alecs, I'm givin' y'all three to come out of there! One...
[the pups stick their arms out from under the door and pull the rug out from under him]
Wolf: Two, three!
- A favorite of the team in Extreme Ghostbusters, compared to their predecessors:
One of them: On the count of three!
- In the Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers", Nd-Nd, (an alien from the planet Omicron Persei 8) does something like this:
Nd-Nd: Little one, get out of there. I'm going to count to blorx!
Little Omicronian: But, elder one—
[Nd-Nd starts counting off her fingers]
Nd-Nd: Flingle ... glorg ... glorg and a gloob...
- In Goliath II, when the mouse has managed to scare off all the elephants except for Goliath II, the mouse tells him sternly that if he does not run away by the time he counts to three, "I'LL TEAR YA TO SHREDS!!!" Then he starts counting, all the while warning Goliath to run while he can. When the mouse reaches three and sees that Goliath had defiantly stood his ground, the mouse shouts, "OKAY — YOU ASKED FOR IT, BUSTER!!!!!" and charges at him, and they get into a tussle.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Cowboy Stackhouse gives Jimmy to the count of three to get out of the house with Sandy. Luckily, Jimmy gets out right on three.
- Happened once on Jungle Cubs. Louie said "two and a half" twice, the cheater.
- Justice League: In "Initiation", the heroes are trying to get information about a rampaging robot:
- In one Looney Tunes sketch, Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam were about to duel. Bugs counted off to 10, but stretched the count between 9 and 10 with crazy fractions just long enough to get Sam into the street to be hit by a bus.
Bugs: [checks his watch] Eeeeeyep, she's right on time!
Sam: [dazed] Ooh, what a night...
- In Wild and Woolly Hare, when Sam rides on his horse to rob a train, and Bugs follows to save it, Sam threatens to shoot Bugs on the count of five. He only gets to four before crashing against a post. He reaches Bugs already on the train and threatens with only counting to three, and this time he gets only to two before crashing into a tunnel. The third time, he says he's gonna count only to two and he does... only to pass by a bridge and fall into the river below.
- The "Two and three quarters" variation shows up in a Prometheus and Bob sketch.
- South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet"
I'm gonna give you a count to three to open this closet door. One - I'm gonna shoot you both; Two - I'm gonna cap some bitch. Three...
"Two and two hundred fifty-five two hundred fifty-sixths..."
- Superman: The Animated Series. Lobo of course doesn't have the patience to play it straight, as shown in his Establishing Character Moment.
Lobo: I'm givin' you geeks ten seconds before I frag everything in sight. One... TEN!
- Subverted and lampshaded in Schlock Mercenary, here.
Tagon: One. Two. Ten.
Tagon: I'm sorry. I think I skipped seven.
Kevyn: My mother would argue that you also skipped nine-and-a-half.
- Girl Genius: Vole yells that the Heterodyne has till the count of three to give themselves up before he starts shooting bystanders, and starts his count on two, but still gets interrupted before he has a chance to kill anyone.