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Unflinching Faith in the Brakes

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The hero is standing directly in the path of an oncoming large, heavy, extremely fast moving object. However, he shows no signs of nervousness. This is because he has just done something that will bring said object to a halt. Specifically, it will bring the object to a complete halt, a matter of inches in front of the hero, thus allowing him to stand there unflinchingly.

If the object in question is a vehicle, this requires Unflinching Faith in the Brakes. It's not a Moment of Awesome (though it can be a part of one); it's just a little bit of awesome thrown in as seasoning.

To some extent, the opposite of Unflinching Walk.


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    Anime and Manga  
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, Gogeta uses the Soul Punisher on Janemba while the latter is charging at him, which takes effect just as Janemba's fist is less than an inch from Gogeta's stone cold and unflinching face.
  • Dr. STONE: Crosses over with Awesomeness by Analysis. When the group's Medusa device somehow launches its Petrification Wave without prompting, Senku and Ryusui outrun it, but then stop running, with it coming to a stop just a short distance ahead of them. By that point they'd seen it activated often enough that Senku had realized the distance it travels is proportionate to its speed, letting him estimate where it would end.
  • In the anime version of Haruhi Suzumiya, Yuki stands still while a giant cave cricket charges at her. It collides into an invisible forcefield so hard, it forces it into the visible spectrum. That, or Yuki made it at the last second. Whatever the case was, it's made even more badass because she took Kyon's words literally and didn't move until he reminded her that they should leave.
  • In Murder Princess, after titular character becomes The Berserker and is about to attack the closest living thing; a small child; her Meido steps in front and holds her hands out; confident that the Murder Princess will not kill her; either due to their close relationship or the fact that it's her old body. Despite a sword lunge from the height of a three-story building, the sword stops at just minorly grazing the maid's cheek; who is smiling the whole time because she apparently knows this would happen.
  • Naruto
    • Kimimaro fires bone bullets at Gaara and he protect himself with his sands. The bone bullets penetrate and deform the sand wall, continuing to drill through it and toward Gaara's unflinching face, until they finally run out of momentum and fall to the ground.
    • Kakashi gets within inches of stabbing Deva Pain in the face, who remains ever expressionless as he sends Kakashi flying backward.
  • In the Street Fighter II animated movie, Guile threatens to run over Chun Li if she doesn't get out of his way and leave him alone. She calls his bluff. Vroom, screech.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the climax of Moana, the titular heroine walks calmly towards a charging Te Kā, embodiment of volcanic rage and destruction, and doesn't even flinch as a cloud of ash and cinders washes over her. She has perfect faith that Te Kā will remember who she really is.
  • Yellow Submarine. While Old Fred is in the mansion, Ringo drives a car right at him. Fred stands with his hands out, calmly assuming that Ringo will stop in time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300, in which a Spartan performs this maneuver with a charging rhinoceros he's just brought down with a spear—he does have to step to the side just a bit, as the animal's body slides a bit before it actually comes to a complete stop.
  • The Assignment (1997). Done in a Training Montage, with The Handler sitting on a chair in the middle of a snow covered road, with the trainee driving the vehicle. In this case it's a more realistic swerve-and-brake rather than a direct stop.
  • The A-Team movie. At their first meeting, Hannibal steps out in front of BA's oncoming van.
  • The Avengers (1998). Alice calmly stands in the path of Mrs. Peel's oncoming car. Mrs. Peel manages to brake to a stop just inches away from her.
  • Back to the Future: Inverted. Doc Brown has unflinching faith in his time machine's accelerator. If the car doesn't get up to 88 mph before it reaches him and Marty, then they're going to get flattened. As it happens, the time machine blinks out about 20 feet before it hits them.
  • Michael Keaton in Batman (1989). He steps directly into the path of the speeding Batmobile, and murmurs "Stop" into his glove. The Batmobile stops with inches to spare. Batman: The Brave and the Bold pays homage to this scene.
  • Dennis Farina does this near the end of Big Trouble. After he and his assistant abandon their rental car in the middle of a traffic jam, he steps into the path of an approaching airport bus. Not only does the bus stop just short of hitting him, he also manages to plant a hundred dollar bill on the windshield.
  • In Black Panther (2018), Okoye steps in front of a charging rhinoceros to prevent it from running someone down, and nature's juggernaut skids to a halt inches away and licks her face—though this may be more unflinching faith in rhino loyalty or training.
  • Invoked in Brick, where Tug puts Brendan through a test of character by driving a fast-moving car just an inch away from running him over. Brendan doesn't get the "unflinching" part right but at least he doesn't jump away, which impresses Tug enough.
  • A Death Eater does this to the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, stepping onto the tracks as it puffs to a halt.
  • Averted in Hellboy, where the SUV in question refuses to stop at all and our hero has to resort to other means to avoid a car to the face.
    Hellboy: Red means STOP!
  • The ending of Men in Black. This case is particularly funny, as Jay clearly wants to beat feet and get out of the way, only staying in place because of how Kay is stoically standing there.
  • In Police Story, Jackie Chan stands in front of a car and fires his gun into the air to stop a bus some bad guys are escaping on. It stops so quickly that some of them are sent flying out the front.
  • In the movie Priest (2011), the eponymous Priest leaps into the air, stepping off a couple of rocks flung by his Priestess sidekick, and slices the guts out of an enormous vampire Hive Guardian. The Priestess stand perfectly still as it flies, then slides, directly at her, coming to a halt with inches to spare.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies has both James Bond and Q stand in front of a remote controlled BMW 750i, the remote of which Bond was using for the very first time, steering towards them at at least 30 mph. Bond makes the car brake (break it he does, too, but later) and the two-ton vehicle stops very close to their shins. Makes Q quip: "Grow up, 007!"

  • Realistically averted in a demonstration of the bowling-ball-pendulum described below in the book Contact. Ellie, to make a point about faith and science, puts the pendulum against her nose, lets it go, lets it swing back at her—and then, despite fully understanding all the scientific principles involved, despite knowing full well that it cannot possibly hit her, flinches anyway.
    Ellie: That was a million years of brains fighting a billion years of instincts.
  • Death did this in Reaper Man when the Combination Harvester (possessed by the New Death in a last-ditch effort to claim him) charged at him. Death had secretly pulled out the three-eights gripley, so the elliptical cam had gradually slid up the beam shaft and caught on the flange rebate, with disastrous results, before it reached him.

    Live-Action TV  
  • Beakman's World demonstrated the "bowling ball pendulum" experiment from real life with way too many rhinoplasty jokes to be a sane demonstration.
  • Done in an episode of The Bill where a rookie policeman stands in front of a speeding getaway car with his hand out in the stop position. And the bad guys actually stop, as per this trope, mere millimetres from running him over.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Villains", Willow does this with a bus while tracking down Warren. Seeing as how she was charged up with an insane amount of magic and was using THAT to stop the bus...
  • In the "Liars, Guns & Money" trilogy of Farscape, Zhaan stumbles back when a retrieved bank vault (moving at high speed) stops mere inches from her face. This is greatly amusing to Natira (the bank supervisor), who doesn't flinch as she knows exactly where the vault will stop.
  • In the very first episode of The Invaders (1967), a little old lady with suspiciously stiff little fingers does this in front of the approaching car of David Vincent's business partner.
  • Person of Interest. Root stops a prison bus by lying down in the road in front of it. Though rather than faith in the brakes, it shows her unflinching faith in the Machine whose every instruction she obeys without asking for explanations.
  • Ruby performs this action in Supernatural in the third season. Given that demons cause electricity to go a little wonky, she's actually causing the boys' Impala to come to a stop by killing the engine; she still has unflinching faith that the car will stop in time with no real braking from Dean.
  • An episode of Top Gear had James May introducing drifting legend Ken Block as his car approached dangerously close to him and turned away, without May so much as looking behind him.

    Tabletop Games  
  • One Paranoia mission has an NPC who stands still while a vehicle fails to stop in time, wrapping its bumper around his knees. "He appears not to notice. (Can you say Macho bonus?)"
  • Depending on the character in the vehicle's path, Death or Glory attacks (wherein a character stands and shoots at a charging tank rather than leaping out of the way with the rest of his squad) in Warhammer 40,000 are either this or sheer desperation. Specifically, if the attack succeeds in either destroying or immobilizing the vehicle, it stops just inches from the shooter. If it fails...

    Video Games  
  • Nero doesn't flinch at all when his business partner Nico pulls their trailer van to a sliding stop in Devil May Cry 5, even quipping "Perfect timing."
  • Played straight in one of the trailers of The Force Unleashed, as Starkiller pulls a Star Destroyer out of the sky and stops it just before it hits him. This trope holds true in the game's Wii version; it's averted in the other versions as Starkiller holds the destroyer for as long as he can, but eventually has to retreat before it flattens him.
  • Subverted in Jurassic Park: The Game. When Nima escapes the Dilophosaurus pack early in the game, one of the dinosaurs sees her car reversing towards it, and responds by flaring its frill and shrieking at it, apparently trying to scare off two tons of speeding metal. It ends as well as you'd expect, and Nina crashes the car seconds later without even realizing, let alone caring, that she made roadkill out of the poor dino.
  • In Max Payne, you can comfortably watch as the crane rolls at you after you block its path in the first shipyard level.
  • At the end of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, after their final battle, Samus stands calmly as Dark Samus makes a last stand and menacingly advances on her. Fortunately for her, Dark Samus's body comes apart inches away from touching her.
  • In Resident Evil 4, a truck at the end of the village will crash just before the point you step onto to trigger the event. So if you shoot the driver or the engine, you can get this trope just by not moving forward after the cutscene with the truck starting (you do have to shoot the truck first, or else splat).

    Web Comics  
  • The xkcd comic "Flinch" plays with the real life bowling ball pendulum example. Cueball has the pendulum set up and asks three people if they'll flinch when it swings back towards their face. The physicist, with their faith in the law of conservation of energy, doesn't flinch. The biologist, with their faith in human reflexes, flinches. The engineer doesn't think Cueball set up the pendulum correctly.

    Web Original  
  • Parodied in Kickassia when the reviewers are charging at President Baugh. He stands perfectly still as they approach, then puts his Unflinching Faith in the machine gun he has hidden behind his back.
  • Used in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog when Captain Hammer stands unflinchingly in front of a speeding van, trusting in his super strength to stop it when it hits him. Doctor Horrible's damaged remote control device starts working again just long enough to finally hit the brakes, and the van stops with inches to spare.
  • The Big Bad in Suburban Knights does this, stopping a car inches from him by blowing it up with his mind as he crosses the street.

    Western Animation  

    Real Life  
  • A common science trick is to dangle a bowling ball on a rope, stand off far to the side with the rope taut, hold the ball in front of you, and let it swing like a pendulum. It's impossible for the ball to reach you on the return trip with just the potential energy it has at the level of your face, as the swinging can't be perfectly efficient. This can end up backfiring if you mess any of a few things up:
    • When you are holding a heavy object in front of you, you naturally lean backward. If you lean forwards again when you release the bowling ball, it will hit you right in the nose. Standing firmly against a wall can both add to the theater of it with some increased (perceived) danger, as well as providing a fixed point.
    • Make sure not to add any extra energy to the ball by pushing it forwards or downwards.
    • Only do this indoors, because wind can end up adding enough energy to the swing to reach your face again.
  • This video, where a group of twenty-three well dressed Dutch do not react whatsoever to a speeding tank bearing down behind them.
  • A Russian physicist named E. Frenkel believed that he had acquired the psychic power to stop vehicles. He tested this by standing in front of an oncoming train. It didn't stop.


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