When a character is so fearless or determined that, instead of fleeing, he attacks an overpowering enemy with a laughably underpowered weapon, such as charging a tank with a knife. This is often seen from soldiers (since they usually carry knives in addition to firearms), wherein upon facing an enemy way out of their league and possibly running out of ammo, they pull out their trusty melee Emergency Weapon. This trope is used to demonstrate that the character values whatever they are fighting for higher than their health and survival, since they are willing to bet both for it against overwhelming odds.
Contrast Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight and Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight. May be the mark of a Proud Warrior Race Guy or a Determinator of any kind. May take the form of Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat! if Played for Laughs. Compare No-Gear Level, when a game forces you to undertake a challenge under or unequipped, and can be done intentionally by gamers as a Self-Imposed Challenge.
- In the Yuri Genre manga Fusoroi no Renri by Mikanuji, after Minami is kidnapped by her abusive delinquent ex-GF, her current girlfriend Iori — an ineffectual Office Lady — shows up at their doorstep, awkwardly holding a baseball bat, ready to get her ass kicked in an attempt to save Minami. Luckily for her, Minami manages to convince her ex to let her go and meets Iori outside.
- In one issue of the Samurai Jack IDW comics, Jack's sword gets broken, and all of its power goes away. Naturally, Aku exploits this, and swoops down on him as soon as he finds him - whereupon Jack, who up until this point was constantly on the run, accepts his fate and attacks Aku with his bare hands.
- Carmen pulls a knife at a Brain Bug during the climax of Starship Troopers and actually manages to fend it off until Rico's squad arrives to extract her.
- In Man of Steel, Colonel Hardy wastes his ammo shooting Faora, then proceeds to pull out a knife and charge her in melee, thus becoming the only human who earns her respect. Of course, Supes saves him just in time to avert his inevitable death at her hands.
- Near the end of When The Last Sword Is Drawn Yoshimura Kanichiro charges a company of musket-armed troops with only his katana and wakizashi. His last words before charging?
Yoshimura Kanichiro: My honor compels me to fight!
- In the Biopic Lafayette about the US Revolutionary War general of the same name, he rallies his troops (who, due to supply shortages, are only given six bullets per soldier) with the following short speech:
You only have six cartridges, but I have only my sword! Follow me!
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Captain Jack Sparrow, after being handcuffed to the ship the crew was abandoning by Elizabeth Swan, decided that he wouldn't be killed by the Kraken without a fight and choose to charge the behemoth with nothing but his cutlass. It didn't end well for him, but he returned from the dead in the sequel.
- A little more than midway through The Last Samurai, Nobutada stays behind and to cover the retreat of his father Katsumoto and after running out of arrows, draws his swords and charges at his rifle-wielding enemies. He's repeatedly shot before he makes it close.
- Seen at the end of Saving Private Ryan, when lacking anything better to do facing a German tank, Tom Hanks' character draws a pistol and starts shooting at it.
- Pacific Rim: When an EMP blast completely disables the mecha Striker Eureka, the pilots Herc and Chuck Hansen decide to keep fighting until the bitter end. They climb out of the cockpit and shoot at the kaiju Leatherback with flare guns.
- Avengers: Infinity War: Heroes' determination coupled with desperation leads to acts that can be viewed as a demonstration of their extreme courage, extreme stupidity, or both:
- After Thanos has beaten the crap out of the Hulk, badly injured Thor charges at him with a short metal rod he has just picked up. Thanos barely notices his attack, and Ebony Maw immediately subdues Thor after that.
- Having run out of options, Loki attacks the Mad Titan with an ordinary dagger. The scene with Thanos towering over him invokes David vs. Goliath imagery, except Goliath non-nonchalantly strangles David.
- As Thanos slowly walks towards Vision and Wanda, Cap and Okoye can at least rely on their vibranium shield and spear, but Natasha rushes at him with a taser.
- Ciaphas Cain series. The title character once charged a daemon of Khorne with nothing but a rusty bayonet and a vial of holy water (presumably people were watching, forcing him into HERO OF THE IMPERIUM mode, or the alternative was worse). Also invoked, in that his reputation is such that (in his own words) when he asks something of someone, "they'd rather take on a Carnifex◊ with a broken chair leg than feel they'd let me down".
- The Charge Of The Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, an fictionalized account of an actual battle in which a small cavalry detachment attempted to make a break in a line of heavy artillery, with devastating results.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Sam attacks Shelob, the daughter of a monster even Sauron's former boss Morgoth had trouble handling, with a knife. The book itself points out how outmatched he is, but Sam is so furious that she dared to lay a claw on his beloved master that he runs at her without even thinking about it. Against all odds, he wins.
- In the season finale of Andromeda, Tyr and Harper are trapped in a room with Magog bearing down on them. Tyr fires his final shot at one then throws the gun at them and pulls out a large knife. He gives Harper one too, and together they prepare to face the Magog horde.
- In the Blackadder episode "Born to be King", Richard IV is believed lost in battle after he charged a Turkish army, on his own, armed only with a small fruit knife. Between Conservation of Ninjutsu, Rule of Funny, and the fact that he's played by BRIAN BLESSED, he triumphed "thanks to his trusty fruit knife".
- Republic players in Star Wars: The Old Republic can meet Sergeant Jolis on Balmorra: a Sole Survivor of a fighter squadron who is now determined to come back and to retrieve his comrades' black boxes from the overwhelming Imperial presence — even though he basically needs instructions from his astromech droid on how to operate his blaster rifle properly.
- Subverted by a warrior or rogue Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition, who pulls a dagger at the nigh indestructible, magic-slinging Big Bad during the latter's attack on Haven. While it looks like the Inquisitor will charge next, they instead lunge sideways to activate a trebuchet they prepared earlier to fire at the mountainside and cause a landslide to bury the entire town.
- In Act III of The Witcher, Geralt finds Carmen, the resident Hooker with a Heart of Gold, out in the swamps, mustering courage to cross them in an attempt to reach the druids' hideout. When Geralt points out that a frail city girl like her won't have a chance against the high-level monsters roaming the swamps, she says she's got a dagger and will make it somehow, because the druids may have a cure for her True Love's lycanthropy.
- Shining Armor from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has nothing more than the standard unicorn load-out: a basic horn blast and one spell related to his talent (raising shields and barriers). This doesn't stop him from taking on King Sombra and the tag-team of Discord and Tirek, knowing he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. Alone.
- In May 2004, during the early days of the war in Iraq, a detachment from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders responded to a distress call from 8 British soldiers near Al Amara. But it was an ambush, and the 30 or so men were soon surrounded by more than 150 Iraqi militiamen. After three hours of fighting, their ammunition running low, the commander of the Scottish troops ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge the enemy positions. The Iraqis were completely taken by surprise; 28 were killed and the rest fled with the loss of only 2 Highlanders.
- Cavalry charges in WWII:
- Aversion: That story about Polish cavalry charging German tanks you might have heard is actually not an example, in case you wondered, because it didn't happen. It would belong into Fan Fiction, as it was a piece of German propaganda.
- And then, played straight: That story about Italan cavalry charging Russian guns and winning that you most likely didn't heard is actually an example, in case you wondered, because it happened when a crack cavalry unit sent to reinforce the Italian infantry in the Russian front got itself surrounded by numerically superior Rusian infantry and artillery and was left with no other option than charging (or be wiped out in place).
- Say what one may about the Soviet during the early stage of World War 2, but it took brave men to charge head on towards the well-trained, well-armed, superior enemy forces.