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Half-Hearted Henchman

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Jack Slater: Sir, are you a henchman?
Benedict: No, I only go as far as lackey.

The opposing side is fleshed out by being given one or two one-off henchmen, not unlike the ones you usually fight, but having them slack off, have no motivation, and complain about it to their coworkers. Sometimes they honestly suck, but sometimes, they just don't care. All that matters is that it's their job, and they're bad at it. Compare Minion with an F in Evil who are more enthusiastic, but also more clueless.

Compare Bumbling Henchmen Duo and Mauve Shirt, who are part of the main cast rather than one-off characters and who tend to be more dangerous and sometimes more dedicated. Compare Punch-Clock Villain, who is motivated by the paycheck and doesn't generally put in any effort above and beyond the job requirements. Contrast Overzealous Underling, who is so motivated it often creates problems for his employer.


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    Comic Books 
  • Bone: The two recurring rat creatures were supposed to go and kill the heroes. They bungled it rather badly in every attempt, to the point where the heroes deliberately let them live because they're too incompetent and unmotivated to pose a threat.
  • Little Gloomy: Boris, Simon von Simon's hunchbacked lab assistant. Boris has literally no interest in Simon's plans, it's just that Mad Scientist lab assistant is the only job he can get.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Iron Man 3: After utilizing pieces of his suit to break free, Tony begins taking out the henchmen charged with keeping an eye on him until he draws his weapon on the last one, who immediately surrenders and informs him, "Honestly, I hate working here. They are so weird."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Pintel and Ragetti from Barbossa's crew decline into this trope after their first (energetically violent) appearance.

  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford almost succeeds in convincing the Vogon guard that his job sucks so much that he shouldn't even bother throwing him and Arthur out an airlock. In the end, the guard admits he likes the shouting aspect too much to give it up, but he'll be sure to take a good long look at his life, once he throws them out the airlock.

    Video Games 
  • Breath of Fire III: Most of the guards in McNeil's mansion. Depending on the guard, they can let you pass either after you bribe them, find their missing wallet or go beat up the guard dog so that it gets the blame instead of them.
  • Biggs and Wedge from Final Fantasy VIII sit between this and Bumbling Henchmen Duo. They're actually decently motivated, and really do try (well, at least Biggs does), but they always get beaten up and demoted, and then moan about it. At the end, when they've been assigned to guard the door to the boss lair, they see you coming — and then just up and quit, walking off to find a better career.
  • In Ittle Dew, the first Jenny Frogs that are encountered guard the castle by each patrolling a small area which Ittle can't even reach due to spikes being in the way. The rest of them don't seem very passionate about their jobs, either.
  • Demyx from Kingdom Hearts II... until he actually decides to fight you. Ironically, he technically isn't even half-hearted — as a Nobody, he has no heart at all. Don't tell him that, though.
  • Mega Man Legends: This exists as a game mechanic in The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. Going too long without using a specific Servbot builds his laziness up, and if it filled out, he becomes this, "goofing off somewhere" and being unavailable for missions until you punish him via a Mini-Game.
  • Johnny Sasaki of Metal Gear, the poor Butt-Monkey.
  • Razorbeard's henchman in Rayman 2: The Great Escape.
  • Late in The World Ends with You, one Support Reaper is found in the streets who was too lazy to go to the emergency meeting and skipped work that day. As they were handing out one-way tickets to the Assimilation Plot that day, it's all the better for him.

    Visual Novels 
  • The fake sea captain from Double Homework, who's spent most of the voyage making false appeals to "International Sea Law" to justify not returning to port for supplies, surrenders immediately when the protagonist and Morgan physically threaten him.
    Captain: I don't get paid enough for physical violence.

    Web Animation 
  • One short of RWBY Chibi introduces Mike and Marty, a pair of Beowulf Creatures of Grimm. From their perspective, we see them as Affably Evil who really aren't that enthused to be pulled into yet another of Cinder Fall's schemes, lamenting for some time off.


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Emotionless Girl Mai fills this role. In "The Drill", Mai refuses to chase after the heroes after they jump into a pipe containing slurry, the mixture of water and rock created as a byproduct by the drill. In "The Crossroads of Destiny", when confronted by Toph and Sokka, she decides not to put up a fight at all.
  • Kim Possible: Shego, despite being The Dragon. She'd much rather lounge around painting her nails or reading magazines while snarking at Dr. Drakken, though when she does get motivated (usually by Kim's arrival), she can be quite the dangerous villain. She's also much more competent than Drakken himself, and contents herself to be The Dragon because she (usually) is too unmotivated to become the Big Bad in her own right. One Bad Future shows that it's a very bad thing when she gets motivated enough.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Bebop and Rocksteady are very much this trope. At the orders of their boss Shredder, they fight the Turtles and seem to have fun doing this; Shredder also gives them other, more laborious duties that they don't enjoy as much; but to all appearances, what they really want to be doing is just playing around, like children. They are actually reflective enough to realize that their relationship with Shredder is that of a lazy slave to his master; but while they may feel a little uneasy with the lifestyle of a Punch-Clock Villain, they rarely seem to have any kind of wish that they could quit and do something else with their lives.
  • Thundercracker from The Transformers has doubts about the Decepticon cause, which sometimes impede his effectiveness.
  • The Venture Bros.: Basically every Monarch henchman, every time they talk. When the Flying Cocoon's engines failed mid-flight, none of them were willing to go into the engine room to fix it because "that place is spooky, man." 21 and 24 are kind of borderline. 21, at least, is completely clueless to his costume's features (like functioning wings and night vision).