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Is That the Best You Can Do?

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"After being abandoned by your alliance, several serious injuries, two separate mutt attacks, and near starvation and dehydration, never ask the Gamemakers if that's all they've got. They always, always, always have more."
Antigone, The Victors Project

Stock phrase: "Is that the best you can do?" or "Is that the best you got?" Optional responses include "Not even close" (if the first speaker's been beaten to a pulp), "I'm just getting warmed up" (usually just before a devastating attack or counterattack), or "Unfortunately, yes..." (if the first speaker doesn't even have their hair mussed).

Often said defiantly, only rarely despairingly. Usually said by a person that abides by The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort. If it's followed up by Now It's My Turn, you better hope you have your legal affairs in order.

See also Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... and No-Sell for situations where this is most often said.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Rurouni Kenshin
    Sanosuke Sagara (Zanza): [after being punched in the head with a dagger and being completely unharmed] Is that the best you can do? Even with a dagger? Man, I sure picked a boring fight.
  • Happens a lot in Dragon Ball Z when the Saiyans aren't at the level of the moment's big bad...or vice versa, sometimes.
    Frieza: [after laying into Goku at full strength] Well, now! Satisfied?
    Super Saiyan Goku: [getting back on his feet] Is that the best you can do?
    Frieza: What?
    Goku: I said, is that the best you can do?
    Frieza: WATCH YOUR TONGUE! [charges at Goku...right into a punch that makes him spit blood]
  • The Nightmare King from the Animated Adaptation of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland says something similar as Nemo attempts to remember the incantation to activate the Royal Scepter, the only thing that can defeat him.
  • Occurs frequently in Bleach, both from bad guys to good guys and good guys to bad guys: "Is that all you've got?" Generally indicates that the loser is in dire shape, but somehow they will still triumph in the end.
  • Jack in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s makes this kind of statement when he believes he has won the duel against his opponent. This trope gets combined with Tempting Fate for him during his duel with Kiryu when he thinks he's won (to be fair, he just managed to wipe out Kiryu's Life Points to 0 at that point, which normally ends the duel... except, this time, Kiryu has a duel combo strategy that lets him continue to duel even with his Life Points reduced to 0).

    Comic Books 

  • Marv's Last Words in Sin City: The Hard Goodbye: "Is that the best you got, you pansies?" This is after the electric chair failed to kill him.
    • He says it earlier during his second fight with Kevin, while he takes a vicious beating waiting for Kevin to leave himself open.
  • In the The Superman Adventures, Superman has this to say to Lex Luthor after his nemesis has just tried to kill him again: "Today, you thought you saw me at the limit of my power. Sorry, Luthor...I was only at the limit of yours!"
  • Le Petit Spirou has the village priest get roped into a prizefight, reassured by the carny that it's fixed: Langelusse just has to say "Hit me harder, you wimp, I didn't feel a thing!" and the carny will stop the fight. Unfortunately, he then gets distracted, leaving Langelusse to keep taunting the wrestler and getting several different kinds of crap beaten out of him.
  • Judgment Day (Marvel Comics), when Uranos attacks Arakko.
    Narration: The Omega-One Pulse Rifle is the most powerful gun in Cable's arsenal. It fires bullets of ultra-dense solid light along a tunnel of hard radiation that can melt osmium. In the year 3877, it will be classed as a weapon of absolute destruction, and be banned from use in warfare. It weakens Uranos.
    Uranos: Is that all?
    Narration: That is all.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Spectrem angrily attacks Paul in an effort to force him to fight back. But the Nigh-Invulnerable, Actual Pacifist Paul isn't harmed in the slightest (though he's irked), and he says, “Right, if this is the best you can do, I rather doubt you'll be able to do anything to me. You can spend all day at this if you like, but nothing's gonna change, so you may as well quit now and save yourself a bit of frustration.”
  • Said by Commander Hildread to Shining Armor during their duel in the final battle of Loved and Lost.
    Hildread: Ignorant, pampered, lovesick colt! Is this the best you've got?
  • Shadows over Meridian:
    • Jade throws this taunt at rebel soldiers while high on Oni bloodlust during the battle at Snowpoint, and adds that even the Dark Hand Enforcers could put up a better fight.
    • As Tyrian effortlessly evades Quinn's attacks in Chapter 21, he mockingly says a soldier under Phobos and Jade can't be this unskilled.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Jungle Book (1967): When Mowgli attempts to climb a tree with a large trunk, Bagheera scoffs "Is that all the better you can climb?"
  • Madagascar
    Gloria the Hippo: Smiles, everyone. Let's get it together. Is that the best you can do, Melman?
    Melman: Oh, I'm not smiling. It's gas.
  • Meet the Robinsons: Franny during the food fight. "Surely that is not the best you can do."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: Stelios (Michael Fassbender) shouts "IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO?!" at the first wave of Persian footmen as they hopelessly try to break the Spartan phalanx.
  • Man of Steel. Played for Dramatic Irony when a flashback shows a gang of school bullies trying to provoke Clark Kent into fighting them, with the leader taunting, "Is that it? It that all you've got?" After they leave, we see Clark has bent a steel pole with the effort of not showing them even a fraction of what he's got.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen
    [Mikaela discovers Wheelie and captures him]
    Wheelie: Is that the best you got, huh? Is that the best you can do?
  • The Truman Show: Truman responds this way when the TV crew whip up a giant artificial storm to sink his boat and prevent him escaping.
    Truman: Is that the best you can do? You're gonna have to kill me!
  • Fantastic Four (2005)
    [Johnny engulfs Dr. Doom in a huge fire cone that burns away his clothes and outer skin]
    Victor Von Doom: Is that the best you can do? A little heat?
  • The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain
    Betty: "I'll try?" Is that the best you can do?
  • The More the Merrier (1943)
    [Carter and Dingle are reading a "Dick Tracy" comic strip]
    Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Is that the best you can do with your time?
  • Mary Poppins. Bert, to Michael Banks while riding merry-go-round horses.
  • Lord of Illusions: Harry D'Amour (Scott Bakula)
  • Keeping the Faith: Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton)
  • Vertigo: Line said by Judy when she presents herself to Scottie in a new dress but his reaction remains underwhelming.
  • Tank Girl. Kesslee, after TG drops a bucket of water on his head.
  • August Rush.
    Marshall: [Backing away as Louis continues pushing him] That the best you got? Is that the best you got man?
  • Spider-Man 3 has symbiote possessed Peter no selling goblin serum enhanced Harry’s kick and respond with a “That all you got?” before kicking Harry the exact same way, doing double the damage.
  • Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
    Tillover: How does a week in the hole sound?
    Djinn: A week, is that the best you got? I was once in a hole for 3000 years, this should be a breeze.
  • Treed Murray.
    Shark: Is that the best you got, Murray?
  • Rocky said this at least once during his climactic fight with Clubber Lang in Rocky III, and much more than that.
  • Wikus during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in District 9.
    Is that all you got? Is that all you fokken got?
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008): "Mere" Super-Soldier Emil Blonsky to the Incredible Hulk. Hulk responds by launching him into a tree with one kick, breaking most of his bones. After Blonsky becomes the Abomination, however, this is his reaction to the Hulk whaling on him with police-car-boxing gloves and punching him full-on in the face.
  • Dragonheart: Draco says this word for word when Bowen throws a spear at him, seemingly impaling him.
    Draco: Is that the best you can do?
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Thor yells "IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO?!" after a barrage of attacks by Ultron. The automaton chuckles and summons an entire legion of Ultron Sentries.
    Captain America: ...You had to ask.
    Ultron: This is the best I can do. This is exactly what I wanted, all of you against all of me. How can you possibly hope to stop me?
  • In The Two Towers, with the defenders holding Helm's Deep, Theoden asks "Is this it? Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?" Cut to some Uruks laying bombs in a drain in the wall, detonating them shortly after and successfully blowing a hole in the wall. In fairness, given the look on Theoden's face, he didn't seem to know gunpowder even existed.
  • Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz. After Arkadi and Dolokhov beat to death the first zombie sent into their cell, they challenge Strasser to do better. Strasser agrees that a former cake decorator-turned-zombie might lack the appropriate aggressive attitude. "Send in the Child Killer." Cue Giant Mook zombie.


  • Gods and Warriors: Kreon makes this taunt at Hylas when the heavily armed warrior has the Outsider boy outmatched in the climax of Eye of the Falcon.
  • Iofur Ragnarson to Iorek Byrnison in His Dark Materials:
    Iofur: Is that all? Is that all?!
    [Iorek rips off Iofur's jaw]
    Iorek: Yes. That is all.
  • Q gets an epic one at the end of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch novel I, Q.
    Q: And if you think you can stop me just by ending the universe, then I'm here to tell you that you're going to have to do better than that!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape. Used for comedy in "Revenging Angel" when Aeryn finds herself in Crichton's imagination as a cartoon character in a revealing nightrobe. His response to this trope is to redraw her as Jessica Rabbit, which she doesn't find impressive either.
  • Sharpe: From ''Sharpe's Sword''
    Patrick Harper: There must be something you can do for him, Father!
    Father Curtis: I'm a priest. I pray for him.
    Patrick Harper: Is that the best you can do for him?
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground"
    Kyril Finn: You haven't tasted real fear yet, Doctor.
    Doctor Beverly Crusher: Is that the best you can do? Is fear the only weapon you have?
  • NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Hand-to-Hand"
    Kensi Blye: Crashing in the spare bedroom, is that the best you can do? You were lucky I didn't shoot you.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 episode "Scared Very Straight" [concerning a bag full of drugs]
    David Silver: I was thinking we could take it down to the beach somewhere and bury it.
    Dylan McKay: It that the best you can do?
  • Monk episode "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall"
    Adrian Monk: Ok, fine. His name is Doctor...Door.
    Harold Krenshaw: Doctor Door? Is that the best you can do? I suppose if we were standing by that alarm you would've said Doctor Bell.
(His name actually is Doctor Bell.)
  • Married... with Children episode "Buck the Stud"
    Peggy Bundy: [off-screen, implying they're having sex] Come on, Al. Is that the best you can do?
  • Red Dwarf episode "Thanks for the Memory"
    Lister: What time is it?
    Rimmer: [drunkenly crawls over to the alarm clock] Saturday.
    Lister: Is that the best you can do?
    Rimmer: There are some numbers next to it but they could be anything.
  • Johnny Ringo episode "The Assassins" (1960)
    Johnny Ringo: Go ahead, Chet. Go ahead and draw!
    Chet Tomstedter: Sure. I shoot an unarmed man and you and that fancy shot kid gun me down for murder legal. Is that the best you can do, Ringo?
  • Smallville episode "Exposed". Jonathan Kent, "Is that the best you got?" variant.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, "Changing of the Zords"
    Tommy: Is that the best you can do?
    Lord Zedd: You're going to be sorry you said that!
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Doggie Cruger, after he cuts his way through more than half of a 100-mook army without breaking a sweat. "Is this all you've got, Benaag?"
  • Saying this line is often Tempting Fate in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    Warren: Is that all ya got? (archway collapses on top of him)
    • In "Primeval", Demon!Forrest and Zombie!Walsh and Angelman overpower Buffy, prompting Forrest to say "Is that it? Is that all you got?"
    Riley: No. She's got me. (kills Walsh and Angelman before engaging Forrest).
    Caleb: (unimpressed) So, what else you got?
  • Deadliest Catch
    Cornelia Marie Crewmember: Is that all you got?
    [A few minutes later, a rogue wave washes over the aforementioned boat's deck]
    Mike Rowe: It's not wise to taunt the Bering Sea.
  • Accidental subversion: Christopher Lee appeared on the 1950s live BBC show Kaleidoscope as a police officer scolding an underling for not handling an investigation well. Unfortunately, the poor actor playing the underling had just let loose a very audible fart on scene, making the line "Is that the best you can do?" unintentionally hilarious — especially since, as it turned out, it wasn't. To quote Sir Christopher, "He must have been filled with the four winds of heaven."
  • Andromeda, "The Dark Backward":
    Tyr: If you want to kill me, I'd prefer you give it some real effort and stop wasting my time.

  • The Protomen song "Vengeance" has Mega Man give the "Is this the best you've got?" version when making his way through Wily's hoards.

  • Destroy the Godmodder:
    • The godmodder does this a lot. What makes it worse is that it often ends up being justified.
    • Other entities with plot-significant roles will do this too when players try to insta-kill them.


    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In the Dragon Ball Z Abridged Cooler 2 special this is played for laughs when Cooler is choking Goku.
    Cooler: My god you take an eternity to choke.
    Goku: [strangling] Is... that all you've got?
    Cooler: As a matter of fact... [chokes him harder]
    Goku: Regret, regret!

    Western Animation 
  • The Ben 10 episode "Last Laugh". Frightwig to Ben: "Is that all you've got?" Never a good question to ask a superhero.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "A Creep from the Deep":
    Wheeler: We're gonna try to tickle the clam open? Is that the best you can do?
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, "Johnny Storm and the Potion of Fire": a Brainwashed Johnny Storm.
  • In Martin Mystery, when the gang is fighting a really evil baddie, Martin dodges a really nasty fireball.
    Martin: Is that the best you've got?! [Quietly] Because that was pretty good.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "Crown Fools":
    King Rat: That's the best you got? Bird, that is some weak sauce!
  • Teen Titans: "Robin, is that the best you can do?"
  • Spoofed in the Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Groundskeeper Willie is killed off in every story. During "The Shinning", he comes running into the house after Homer goes crazy.
    "Alright, loony! Show me what you've got!" [Homer sneaks up behind him and axes him in the back] "Ach! Is that the best you can do?" [dies]
  • Transformers: Animated, "Mission Accomplished"
    "Is that the best you could do, Starscream? And to think, you actually believed you could take over as leader of the Decepticons." [Powers up fusion cannon] "You couldn't lead a parade." [Va-voom]
  • Gargoyles, Most episodes with Macbeth
    "You'll have to do better than that!"
  • Static Shock
    • In the two-part "A League of their Own" crossover with the Justice League the showdown between a Brainiac (who was using mind-control circuity on the League) -controlled John Stewart (who was the last of the Leaguers yet to be freed) where Static just tossed all he had at John who'd had his energy shields up:
    John Stewart: That all you got, kid?!
    Static: [nervously] Unfortunately... Yes!!
    • Which has a Big Damn Heroes by the freed Leaguers a moment afterwards when John's felled by Hawkgirl's mace.
      Hawkgirl: You can remove the circuitry now, kid.
      Static: [undoes the circuitry] Is he okay? [John groans as he comes to.]
      Hawkgirl: Yeah, that was just a tap.
  • The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Log Rollers" has Heckle taunting Powerful Pierre:
    Heckle: You're not so tough, chum. You're muscle-bound. Why you couldn't punch your way out of a paper bag.
    [Pierre punches Heckle in the face] Ha-ha! What'd I tell ya? I didn't even feel it!
    [Suddenly goes catatonic and falls unconscious]
  • This happens at the beginning of Book 4 of The Legend of Korra where Korra asks an earthbender she's fighting with if throwing a few rocks in her general direction is all she's got. Cue Korra getting her ass kicked.
  • Justice League: From the first big battle in "Hereafter":
    Kalibak: (knocks batarang out of the air) That all you've got?
    Batman: Not quite.
  • An early Popeye cartoon shows Popeye enticing a ruffian into socking him in the chin several times. Popeye never falters.


Video Example(s):


The best Ultron can do?

Thor asks the question, Ultron gives an answer.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (29 votes)

Example of:

Main / IsThatTheBestYouCanDo

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