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Pre-Asskicking One-Liner

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"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 catchphrase 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 to speak up, leading into a properly-delivered example.
  • 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 and The "Why Wait?" Combatant are particularly popular examples. 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 (namely before killing someone), 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.

  • The Protomen's song "Vengeance" might as well be made up of Mega Man one-liners, since the track is about Megaman slaughtering Robot Masters. An actual quote from the song is: "Send me the best you've got / Send me your strongest machines / The fight my brother fought / Here, now, will end with me". Also, after he actually trashes the first wave of robots he's not nearly satisfied so he says: "All you wounded!—those of you who can— / Pick yourselves off the ground / Hurry back / Tell your leader you'll need more men" as he prepares for the second wave.
  • In Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue", when the title character finds his father who named him:
  • Limp Bizkit gets one in their song 'Break Stuff', that leaves the ass-kicking to your imagination:
    "I pack a chainsaw. I'll skin your ass raw. And if my day keeps going this way, I just might BREAK YOUR FUCKING FACE TONIGHT!"
  • An example that is both this and a Post Ass-Kicking One Liner (after one ass-kicking, but before the next) from Tenacious D's Tribute
    Needless to say, the beast was stunned.
    Whip-crack went his whoopy tail,
    And the beast was done.
    He asked us: "Be you angels?"
    And we said, "Nay! We are but men! ROCK!"

    Myths & Religion 

  • Love of Find Us Alive, feisty as she is, is a fan of these. They're... not exactly as eloquent as some other examples, but she still manages to get in some good lines:
    • Episode 00:
    • Episode 18:
      (brandishing a flamethrower) DUMPTRUCK WOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOU ALL!
    • Even the soft-spoken Raddagher gets one, in Episode 13:
      Our hell dimension now.

    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? Oh, no sir, no sir, no sir... “ (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.

    Puppet Shows 

  • 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!

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

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night "Unlimited Blade Works": The title refers to Archer's Noble Phantasm, a limitless Field of Blades where he can recreate any weapon he has ever seen instantly. When Shirou, his past self, uses this ability for the first time, he faces Gilgamesh, the most powerful Heroic Spirit, who has a superficially similar ability to summon weapons due to his hyperspace arsenal: "Here I come, King of Heroes. Do you have enough weapons in stock?"
  • 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 disappears from Season 2 on, though.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Shuichi delivers one when he plans to break the audience through talking in response them erasing Keebo's personality.
    Shuichi: Keebo! Let me hear the voice of the outside world! And let them hear ME!

Alternative Title(s): Pre Showdown One Liner, Music


General Yan Lo

Recently enhanced Nathan Frost gets a look at what he might one day become when he confronts General Yan Lo.

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Main / CyberneticsEatYourSoul

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