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Pre-Asskicking One-Liner

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Boy, he must've done something really bad to have this comin'.

"This is the '90s. You don't just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first."
Joe Hallenbeck, The Last Boy Scout

It is almost an official duty of an Action Hero to deliver sardonic one-liners. And what better time to produce one than just before the execution of their other official duty - kicking ass.

Common variations on this trope include:

  • A form of comic subversion in which the one-liner is stupid or silly. This has the potential to stall or confuse the opponent.
  • A form of comic subversion in which the outcome of the intended ass-kicking fizzles, negating the one-liner or at least failing to justify it.
  • A Catch Phrase or Battle Cry that may have started as a one-liner, or may work as one to some degree.
  • Carrying an Improvised Weapon and matching the response accordingly (for example, Anchors Away or Batter Up!).
  • The hero does not clearly say his one-liner at first. The villain tells the hero who speak up, leading into a properly-delivered example.
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  • The Hero and The Rival, the Big Bad, or another suitably-meaningful nemesis exchange one-liners immediately before throwing down. This may or may not be followed up by Casual Danger Dialogue during the fight itself.

Chew Bubblegum is a particularly popular example. See also Badass Boast, Badass Creed, In the Name of the Moon, and My Name Is Inigo Montoya. Contrast Pre-Mortem One-Liner, which is often used to end a fight, or Bond One-Liner, which is used once the fight is over.


Examples subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Whenever Popeye uttered the phrase, "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!" who ever angered him up to this point was in for a world of hurt.

    Myths & Religion 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Played for drama at WrestleMania XXIV. Ric Flair was clearly on his last legs against Shawn Michaels, and if Flair lost, he'd have to retire. Though hesitant, Michaels said "I'm sorry, I love you" before hitting Flair with his Finishing Move, Sweet Chin Music. Michaels got the pin, and Flair's career was over.
  • CM Punk, a true comic fan, has been using the Thing's catchphrase "It's clobberin' time!" throughout his career. Right as he comes through the curtain, he stops on the stage and delivers the line right before his match. [1]
  • Goldberg: "YOU'RE NEXT!!!" Enough said.
  • Roddy Piper: (To Jimmy Snuka): “Am I making fun of you? Why no, I ... “ (grabs coconut).
  • Ryback: "WAKE UP! IT'S FEEDING TIME!!:
  • Braun Strowman: Occasionally, after it looks like he’s done beating someone up, he’ll yell, "I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU!" and beat them up even more.
  • At NXT Take Over: War Games 2018, Aleister Black faced off against the man who attacked and injured him for months, Johnny Gargano. At the end of the match, Aleister knocks Gargano out with a Black Mass, but Johnny remains on his feet. Before the final blow, Black gives Gargano one last message:
    Black: I absolve you... of all your sins.

  • Shakespeare's action scenes often use Pre-Asskicking One-Liners.
    • Macbeth:
      • When Macduff finds Macbeth amid the battle:
        Macduff: Turn, hell-hound, turn!
      • And Macbeth's last line:
        Macbeth: Lay on, Macduff,
        And damn'd be him who first cries, 'Hold! Enough!'
    • Henry IV, Part 1.
      Prince Hal: God for Harry! England and Saint George!
    • Several in Romeo and Juliet:
      • Before Tybalt and Benvolio duel in the opening street brawl:
        Tybalt: Turn thee, Benvolio: look upon thy death. ... What, drawn and talk of peace?! I hate the word, as I hate Hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward!
      • Before Mercutio and Tybalt's duel:
        Mercutio: Come sir, your passado.
      • And after Mercutio has been killed, when Romeo challenges Tybalt:
        Romeo: Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again
        That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio's soul
        Is but a little way above our heads,
        Staying for thine to keep him company:
        Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.
        Tybalt Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
        Shalt with him hence.
        Romeo: This shall determine that. [they fight]
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: BENJAMIN BARKER!

  • BIONICLE has Nidhiki's line to Tuyet:
    Nidhiki: Hi, dear. I'm home.
    • From The Mask Of Light:
      Onua: WELCOME TO ONU-KORO!!!

    Visual Novels 
  • Pretty much every fight sequence in the first Season of Rose Guns Days is preceeded by a witty line, almost to the point of parody. This pattern pretty much disapears from Season 2 on, though.
  • In Fate/stay night "Unlimited Blade Works", when Shirou uses the titular ability for the first time, against Gilgamesh: "Here I come, King of Heroes. Do you have enough weapons in stock?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pre Showdown One Liner


Metal Gear Rising Revengeance

When Raiden gets Jetstream Sam's sword, he says a one liner before fighting Armstrong, mimicking Sam himself.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / PreAssKickingOneLiner

Media sources:

Main / PreAssKickingOneLiner