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Video Game / Kane & Lynch

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Crossing the Despair Event Horizon since 2007.

A mercenary, a psychopath and a bunch of cash. What could go wrong?


Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a third-person cover-based shooter with squad-based gameplay inspired by IO Interactive's previous such game, Freedom Fighters (2003). The plot follows the titular characters through a story of escape, betrayal, and redemption. The game opens with Adam "Kane" Marcus being transported to jail. His prison bus is then assaulted by a very well-organized group of men, and one of the prisoners being transported with him shoots his cuffs off and threatens to kill him if he doesn't follow. You see, Kane was one of The 7, a group of mercenaries - until he ditched them with the money, during a mission that went bad.

Now they have his family. He's a dead man, but they'll let the family go if he gets the money back for them. To keep tabs on him and make sure he follows through, The 7 pair him up with James Seth Lynch, a fellow death row inmate who helped with the breakout.

Of course, things quickly go south when Kane is unable to find all of the money and Lynch turns out to be a paranoid schizophrenic prone to black outs and fits of psychotic rage. It doesn't take long before everything goes to hell.

Its sequel, Kane & Lynch: Dog Days, was released in late August 2010, and ditches the original game's squad-based mechanics in favor of a greater focus on 2-player co-op gameplay. After a Time Skip of 3 years, the plot focuses on the pair reuniting in Shanghai, China to oversee a black market arms deal. What initially seems to be an amiable if tepid rendezvous between the pair quickly escalates into a mounting crisis that threatens to either destroy them or the city itself. And we all know which one they will choose...

The games have received polarized reviews, with criticism towards the gameplay, but praise for their harsh, brutal tone and uncompromising, genuinely bleak atmosphere.

Kane & Lynch provide examples of:

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     Both Games 
  • Anti-Heroes: Kane is a borderline Type IV/V because at the root of it what he really wants is to rescue and reunite with his daughter. He was plenty rotten before, but in the game's narrative he has an understandable and sympathetic motive.
    • Lynch is more of a straight-up Villain Protagonist, depending on how sympathetic you are to his obvious mental illness; by the time the sequel rolls around he's a bit more likable.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Not that present in the first game, but is more apparent the 2nd game, due to the greater focus on co-op. Best shown in this trailer
  • Being Evil Sucks: This is essentially one of the main themes of both games. Kane and Lynch are a pair of violent criminals who have no problem killing anyone who gets in the way - and nothing works out for them because of it. They lose their loved ones or become alienated from them because of their actions, everyone they encounter wants them dead or betrays them, and by the end of both games, they've gained nothing from their experiences.
    • This really becomes apparent in Dog Days, where the pair seek to do one last job and finally retire with the money from it. Of course, everything goes wrong, and they only dig themselves into a deeper hole as the story as goes on.
  • The Caper: The main focus of Fragile Alliance, the multiplayer mode for both games in the series.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The titular characters pretty much say "Fuck" every other word, or well, every character does.
  • Crapsack World: Oh so very much.
  • Deconstruction Game: Both games are surprisingly subtle deconstructions of crime-themed action games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row. Unlike the colorful and darkly humorous worlds of those games, the criminal underworld in Kane and Lynch is presented as deeply harsh and cutthroat, full of greedy scumbags who won't think twice about betraying their allies for a quick buck or to save their own skin.
    • Both deliberately avoid glorifying violence or playing it for laughs, going out of its way to portray the realistic consequences of it, such as the firefights being messy with civilians very frequently being caught in the crossfire.
    • Unlike the charismatic anti-heroes of these kinds of games, Kane and Lynch are portrayed as miserable, desperate, selfish and destructive, as to show how morally bankrupt one would have to be to commit the actions of the anti-heroic protagonists found in the aforementioned titles as well as how horrible they would actually be in reality.
  • Evil Duo: The franchise is arguably based around the premise of letting the player portray the half in charge of this team dynamic while emulating the cinematic stylings of Michael Mann. In any other series the protagonists would probably be mid bosses for a more heroic protagonist to take out before the end of the first act.
  • Loading Screen: Used to provide exposition between levels in both games.
  • Hostage Situation: One of the most prominent set piece tropes in the series, seeing as our protagonists are career criminals to whom subtlety is anathema. Whenever this situation develops it turns out incredibly badly for them and quickly escalates events beyond their control.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Lynch gives these whenever he's accused of something.
  • Implacable Man: The "heroic" duo have huge overtones of this that runs contrary to the otherwise "realistic" style of the series, able to shrug off gunshot with rebounding health as well as suffering gruesome punishment as part of the plot without going down for good. The first trailer for Dead Men even depicted Kane getting shot repeatedly to no effect, leading some to presume the protagonists were in some way supernaturally empowered.
  • Made of Iron: Both Kane and Lynch. Killing them is a task that seems borderline impossible at times. The 2nd game, from Chapter 6 and beyond, takes this into flat-out absurd territory. Not only do the duo get lacerated with a box cutter on pretty much every inch of their body, with Lynch getting tossed into a dumpster after passing out, but they also proceed to engage in intense firefights. Then they survive a helicopter crash, not really worse for wear, and fight across a ton of PMC and hijack an airplane.
  • One Last Job: Kane will claim numerous times that this will be his last job that he will do, turns out it isn't as Dog Days shows.
  • One-Man Army: It's a third-person shooter, what did you expect?
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The titular duo have a penchant for being this. Anywhere they go is not going to look pretty once they're done with it. Best exemplified in Dog Days' Airstrike chapter, in which the two make a well-kept office building look like it was a victim of 9/11.
  • Psycho for Hire: The main characters, particularly Lynch who actually is schizophrenic with psychotic episodes, and thus prone to bloodthirsty rages.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Every character has one thing in common: a love of cursing. Although the situations they get themselves into don't leave much else to be said.
  • The Stoic: Kane seldom lets his temper get the better of him, but when he does...
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Kane and Lynch are not the best of friends. Sometimes wavers into Enemy Mine territory, especially in Dead Men.
  • Villainous Valor: To quote one of the trailer subtitles:
    What would you not do for love? For acceptance? When would you give-up? For Kane & Lynch, there is no limit. When there are no options, when the situation is broken beyond repair, they'll never give-up.
  • Vulnerable Civilians: A present part of both games. They appear in the form of random civilians who have the horrible luck of being present in whatever location Kane and Lynch are blasting their way through, being caught in the crossfire between the duo and whatever enemies they are fighting. They'll run away or hide and take cover, though some of them will inadvertently get killed in the crossfire.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Averted. They would do this frequently with and without player input.

     Dead Men 
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Subverted with "Reunion"—the entire opening (including the audio that plays during the loading screen) seems to indicate you'll be spending some time playing as Lynch, but unless you're Player 2 in a co-op game, it never happens.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: After the first few levels you're never going to use your pistol, ever.
  • Ax-Crazy: Lynch.
  • Bank Robbery: The Withdrawal level.
  • Blood Knight: Lynch!
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Once again, Lynch.
  • Company Cross References: Sort of. Retomoto, the Japanese Yakuza boss, is named after a company which IO Interactive, the developer, was the branch of. However while IO Interactive made games, Retomoto laid dormant until 2016, in which they develop Heroes & Generals.
  • Continuity Drift: While the games function well as standalone stories, tying together both games' stories, the multiplayer, and the story of Hitman: Absolution will turn your brain into a pretzel. For one, Kane and Lynch are spotted a few times in the town of Hope, with Kane's nose broken, probably placing the events of this part during the period where before Kane and Lynch break the various "dead men" out of prison...despite the fact that the events of the first Kane & Lynch game are supposed to happen some time during Hitman: Blood Money. As if that's not enough, the multiplayer mode of the second game follows the expats and ostensibly takes place during the events of the singleplayer game according to the descriptions of various buyable weapons...including events that take place after Kane and Lynch kill the expats. The duo are also shown organizing the heists in Shanghai seen in multiplayer in various promotional videos for the Fragile Alliance mode, which they're never shown doing in the singleplayer story. For added fun, the Hitman games are among the DVD cases shown in a video store after the restaurant shootout, leading to a sort of weird one-way Mutually Fictional. Needless to say, the MST3K Mantra is in full effect here.
  • Crosshair Aware: When enemy snipers are preparing to fire, their crosshair camera appears at the bottom-left corner of the display.
  • Cryptic Background Reference / Canon Fodder: Kane's and Lynch's pasts intersect with quite a few of the other characters'.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The fact that Jenny is still alive in Dog Days strongly suggests the "bad" ending of Dead Men is canon. While it is possible that she somehow managed to survive being shot through the chest in the "good" ending, it is far more likely that Lynch eventually got over his complete loss of respect for Kane after his decision to abandon his allies and leave with Jenny in the "bad" ending.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Both of the protagonists have this in spades. We learn more about Kane's past than Lynch's, but you can get a pretty good summary of both if you go to the official site.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Things will always go from bad to worse for the duo. The best example would be the part where Kane's wife is shot in front of him. He freaks out and beats the shooter to death with a shovel. You can also count the part in the boat ending where Jenny supposedly dies, or the short, purely auditory flashback in which Lynch finds his wife murdered and breaks down.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The first mission has Kane and Lynch gunning down waves of cops near - wait for it- a donut shop.
  • Double Caper: The bank robbery in which only half the money is obtained leads to the kidnapping of Retomoto's daughter in an attempt to get the other half. Might even qualify as a Triple Caper, since the catastrophic failure of the hostage exchange eventually leads to the raid on Retomoto's office tower, where they finally get the remaining money back...but not for the original reason they needed it.
  • Downer Ending: There are two endings in Dead Men - Damned If You Do, and Damned If You Don't. Note these are the ending achievements' official names. If you do, then Kane goes back and rescues as many of his men as he can from the church they're getting burned out of. However... they ditch him. His daughter gets wounded and dies. Lynch gets wounded and seems to be dying at the fade to black. That's how the game ends; alone on a boat with a corpse and someone who is about to become one. And if you don't... Kane takes his daughter and flees. The daughter vows to hate him forever, Lynch calls him a traitor, and fade to black.
  • Dueling Games: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was announced and released around the same time as the original Army of Two, and had a similar premise (Automatic Cover-Based Third-Person Shooter set in a Darker and Edgier version of the real world with emphasis on Co-Op play between snarky and morally repugnant protagonists). By odd coincidence both games had sequels set in Shanghai, although Dog Days was announced several months after Army Of Two: The 40th Day.
    • They also have the same basic plot—A job goes south, and the title characters have to get out of Shanghai. Both received average reviews—although Dog Days received more praise for its plot than The 40th Day.
  • Escort Mission: Pops up a few times.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Grey if you're being generous.
  • Extreme Mle Revenge: Kane beating a man to death with a shovel for shooting his wife.
    • Subverted in Dog Days. After Hsing murders Xiu in front of him, Lynch simply tackles him to the ground and uses an armlock to asphyxiate him. Lynch does however stare directly into his eyes as he expires.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Even if you try to turn Kane into The Atoner, the ending will kick you where it hurts.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Averted. They hate each other even more by the game's ending.
  • From Bad to Worse: Kane's life seems to be made of this. His son shoots himself with his dad's pistol, he goes off to become a mercenary, a job goes bad, his comrades supposedly die and he goes to jail, he's broken out of jail only to be taken to his (not dead) comrades, stuck with a schizophrenic watchdog, and forced to find the money from the failed job to save his family, he gets half the money only to find out that his former associate Retomoto took the other half, he almost negotiates to get it all back until Lynch fucks it up, his wife is killed in front of him, his former friend Carlos betrays him, his daughter hates his guts, and depending on what ending you get, he either saves his daughter, leaves everyone else behind, and proves that he's a traitor, or saves the men in the church (one of who dies and one who ditches him) and gets stuck on a boat with a dying Lynch and his (probably) dead daughter.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: Averted with Lynch and his insanely depressing life.
  • Giant Mook: Scattered throughout the Retomoto Tower level in Dead Men are a handful of large, extra-tough goons armed with heavy machineguns and enhanced health.
  • Groin Attack: Lynch gets one from Yoko.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The three difficulty settings are named for painkillers: "Aspirin" (Easy), "Codeine" (Normal) and "Morphine" (Hard).
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Kane and Lynch's exploits are reported in newspapers in Agent 47's adventures and the duo make cameo appearances in Hitman: Absolution. Less applicably, Agent 47 can be seen on posters in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men and copies of Hitman are found in Dog Days.
  • Interface Screw: From the first game: Whoever controls Lynch in co-op mode gets to see one of his psychotic episodes first-hand. Specifically, it's the part where, in single-player, Lynch opens fire on hostages for no apparent reason. Lynch claims they were attacking him, which whoever is controlling Kane clearly saw that they weren't. The person playing Lynch will actually see the hostages being rendered as police officers firing guns at them.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Lynch is definitely one of these in the first game.
  • Morton's Fork: The two Achievements are even from the original Trope name: "Damned If You Do" and "Damned If You Don't".
  • Multiple Endings: Boils down to one choice in the first game. See Downer Ending.
  • Psycho for Hire: The main characters, particularly Lynch who actually is schizophrenic with psychotic episodes, and thus prone to bloodthirsty rages.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Kane does this as he beats Mute to death with a shovel.
  • Real Is Brown: Both played straight and averted in the first game (the dance club had a lot of blue and green, while the Havana missions were mainly brown). Likewise in Dog Days you get to see all the technicolor shininess of Shanghai's nightlife as well as the dull browns and grays of dock warehouses and apartment blocks.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lynch is red, Kane is blue.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In both games.
  • Sadistic Choice: And it's a cruel one, indeed.
    • Are you going to abandon your men or risk your daughter's life to save them? Either way, you lose.
    • The achievements you get for making the choice lampshade this in a subtle way. The achievement for getting one ending is 'Damned if you do', and the other is 'Damned if you don't'.
  • Screaming Warrior: Kane gets some mileage out of this trope in the launch trailer, which features him firing a machine gun at an attack chopper whilst bellowing from the bottom of his diaphragm. Of the two, Lynch takes the cake though.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Accused by some people of being this. May be justified- after all, if you didn't take the helicopter and get the Consequence ending, your daughter is shot down right before you escape, when the whole game focused around you saving her.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Unfortunately, Lynch does this in a psychotic episode and makes a bad situation even worse.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. In fact, the shotguns are probably one of the best weapons to use in any encounter (except when trying to take down snipers, of course).
  • Shout-Out: Level 11 is called Freedom Fighters, which was the name of a previous IO game.
    • Certain sequences in Dead Men seem like a direct homage to the films of Michael Mann. The botched bank heist heavily resembles the one in Heat, and the level set in a Tokyo Nightclub is very similar to the Asian nightclub shootout in Collateral.
  • Villain Protagonist: Both Kane & Lynch are interesting cases. The player is given a look at their motives, which are sympathetic, and neither are actively malicious...but they are criminals, through and through and they can and will go through anyone in their way, be they gangsters, cops or civilians, without much in the way of remorse.
    • The 7 are established to be more evil than the protagonists by betraying Lynch and being willing to kill Kane's wife and daughter. Of course Kane is in this predicament in the first place because he betrayed the 7, Lynch killed his wife and later ends up killing Retomoto's daughter.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The plot absolutely refuses to give Kane a break. Lynch doesn't fare too well in the second game, either.
    • It's gotten to the point that you can figure out plot twists far in advance by just remembering that any Hope Spot will eventually turn into this.

     Dog Days 
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: While in the first game, you played as Kane in single-player mode and the story focused around him, in this game you play as Lynch and the story primarily focuses around him.
    • In the final level, you play as Kane.
  • Bad Boss: Lynch's boss, Glazer, is a petulant, racist, obnoxious expatriate crime lord. He later betrays the two and bad-mouths Lynch's now dead girlfriend to his face.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Kane grows an unkempt one in the three years between Dead Men and Dog Days.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Once Kane and Lynch corner Brady at the end of the first level, they get into a quick gunfight with him, and his girlfriend is accidentally killed in the crossfire. Once he realizes this, Brady pulls out a knife and slits his own throat. Then they find out that girl was Shangsi's daughter, and it becomes apparent that Brady took the easy way out when it came to avoiding the man's wrath.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The noodle shop Kane and Lynch eat at has no entrance, only a main dining area, a kitchen, some back rooms, and a loading entrance in a back alley.
  • Bloody Smile: One of the more famous stills in promotion of Dog Days, Lynch has a nosebleed that lets blood into his mouth, with the tagline, "REAL IS BLOOD IN YOUR TEETH".
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of the few games where the AI can shoot the player character(s) in the head; let one get within point-blank range and there's a good chance they'll just execute you with a bullet to the head.
    • Any headshots performed by both the player and enemies will cause the victim's face to become digitally scrambled.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Kane & Lynch are captured by the Chinese military, a a soldier will reach towards the camera as if to grab the lens and shut it off. If you think too hard about this, it seems to imply Kane & Lynch actually have a cameraman following them around documenting their crime spree.
  • Camera Abuse: The camera gets splattered with liquids, plagued with digital artifacts, and drops when you die.
  • The Caper: The multiplayer mode is a violent and bleak take on this trope. The cops are almost as bad as the robbers, and innocent civilians frequently get caught in the crossfire. The second half of a match will often devolve into a tense three-way tug-of-war over the cash between the cops, the robbers who just want to get out alive with the money, and robbers hell-bent on killing their teammates in order to get as much cash for themselves as possible.
  • Catchphrase: Albeit unintentionally. The phrase "I don't fucking believe this!" and its variations makes up maybe a fifth of the game's script.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Being bled out by multiple box-cutter wounds, and being made to watch your lover's own gruesome fate.
  • Corrupt Cop: The Shanghai Municipal Police, to a truly astounding degree. Aside from being paid to personally kill Kane and Lynch, they're also not concerned with property damage or civilian casualties. Its SWAT team binding and gagging an entire restaurant staff in order to more effectively ambush the heroes is the least assholish thing they do.
  • Cutscene Boss: All of them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Apparently the office workers in Shangsi's skyscraper have rocket launchers quick to hand just in case an unmedicated lunatic in a chopper starts strafing them with a heavy machine gun.
  • Darker and Edgier: Almost impossible to believe, but the second game is even more grim than the first. As a result, this game is arguably one of the most gritty and nihilistic games out there. Here, the duo is caught in a series of increasingly violent and out of control situations as they fight to survive against what seems to be the entire city of Shanghai after they unintentionally kill the daughter of a powerful and very corrupt government official, showing the harsh dire consequences for the game's characters. The gameplay isn't that much better as enemy NPCS can often cry out in pain and often the carnage will be shown. Gunplay is more violent than the original, there's no humor or breathing room whatsoever, and the game features a violent torture scene where the characters are lacerated multiple times in their bodies with a box cutter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kane, especially at the beginning.
    Kane: When we're done playing gangster? I want to go to my hotel.
  • Downer Ending: The game concludes with Kane and Lynch hijacking a commercial airliner full of innocent people and using it to escape Shanghai. Kane has failed to make a single dollar over the entire horrible affair to help Jenny, and Lynch has had his new life destroyed by the death of Xiu and the betrayal of his boss Glazer. They are both likely to have become the most wanted men on the continent as a result of the sheer magnitude of their crimes, meaning they might not even be able to land the plane even if they escape China. On top of all this, the two of them are now baby sitting an entire plane of hostages, and Lynch has an incredibly bad track record when it comes to hostages... Especially while under stress.
  • Drone of Dread: The soundtrack is mainly comprised of experimental industrial dark ambiance music. Created by Mona Mur, it's used to reflect Kane and Lynch's frayed, deteriorating mental states as they find themselves in increasingly chaotic and just plain fucked up situations.
  • Elite Mooks: Shanghai SWAT and People's Liberation Army soldiers, who have the best weapons in the game and body armor that lets them take more hits than the player can.
  • Escort Mission: The second chapter sees Kane and Lynch protecting Glazer from an ambush from rival gangsters.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Both Lynch and Glazer are ruthless crooks, but even they show disgust concerning Hsing. Glazer in particular refers to him as a "sick little bugger" and states he "doesn't associate with people like that anymore."
  • Evil Brit: Played straight by Glazer. An influential gang leader in the Shanghai underground and business associate to Lynch, he betrays the protagonists to Shangsi to win favor and wash his hands of their actions. When he attempts to help them in reconciliation, one of Shangsi's snipers messily ventilates his noggin.
  • Extreme Mle Revenge: Subverted. After Hsing murders Xiu in front of him, Lynch simply tackles him to the ground and uses an armlock to asphyxiate him. Lynch does however stare directly into his eyes as he expires.
  • Fan Disservice: Hell, even without their horrible box-cutter wounds, the pair (who are both worn-out middle aged men) wouldn't be much to look at naked.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: By Dog Days, Lynch seems to have warmed up to Kane, and even refers to him as "an old friend", though Kane doesn't show anything more than customary politeness to Lynch initially. While it'd be a stretch to ever call them friends, Kane is rather sympathetic following Xiu's death; he tries to actually talk to Lynch shortly after when they escape, and when Lynch breaks down in the TV shop and starts sobbing, it's somewhat evident by Kane's body language that he actually feels bad for him. Not to mention that they stick together to get out of Shanghai.
  • Five Stages of Grief: After Xiu's death Lynch goes from incoherent babbling to homicidal rage to overwhelming despair, then resets back to normal. It's possible that he's falling into another schizophrenic episode due to stress, but it's hard to tell.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Less than a day after Kane and Lynch reunite, their lives once again go straight to hell; what feels like everyone who owns a gun in Shanghai is after them, Glazer and his men double-cross them in an attempt to save his own skin, and Lynch's Living Emotional Crutch of a girlfriend is raped and murdered while he and Kane are tortured. All because Brady's girlfriend, whom they accidentally shot at the end of the first level, was the daughter of the most corrupt politician in the country.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The sixth chapter in Dog Days, "A Thousand Cuts", has the duo running and gunning through the streets of Shanghai bloodied and naked after escaping a bout of torture.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lynch breaks down crying after escaping from the Cold-Blooded Torture that his girlfriend died to, at this point he doesn't have anything left to care for, as he suggests Kane to just leave him and go home to his family as he previously wanted, Kane refuses however, as he needs Lynch's help to get the money for his last job, and that he and him are the only ones that he can trust on, as he says all of that during his inspiring speech, Lynch bounces back and tags along with Kane till the end of the game.
  • Harder Than Hard: Extreme difficulty. All what it does is increase enemy damage to the point that a few bullets can shred you like paper, which will be happening a lot as enemies have very precise aiming while your weapons will have little to no accuracy at all and enemies will only target you in singleplayer. Playing this on Co-op is borderline impossible as getting incapacitated gives you or your partner seconds to revive the other person.
  • Hollywood Healing: Approximately halfway through, the duo gets carved up like turducken by box cutters and bleed out long enough for one of them to lose consciousness. Not only are they hale and hearty enough to engage in lengthy firefights with police across three blocks minutes later, but after an hour and a change of clothes, they are ready to oversee an arms deal. Both make mention of the significant pain they're in, and Kane is adamant to oversee the deal and get his payment (optimistic of him), but the sheer number of cuts would require them to be jacked up to the eyeballs on adrenaline just to stay conscious, because if they had fallen asleep, they wouldn't have woken up for a week.
  • How We Got Here: The story commences with a short video depicting the protagonists being tortured and cuts out on Kane screaming with rage. The narrative then steps back two days to reveal why this is happening.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. Kane and Lynch can only carry two weapons at a time, and any two-handed weapon will be strapped across their back when not in use. Additionally, they can only carry a few spare magazines for each weapon.
    • Played straight during "A Thousand Cuts", where once you grab a weapon you can't help but wonder where they keep all the spare magazines. The extra weapon they're carrying appear to be just pasted on their backs.
  • Idiot Ball: Hsing. When Lynch loses consciousness under torture, he has him tossed into the trash without even making sure he's dead. Minutes later, an angry, naked schizophrenic collapses his trachea.
  • Interface Screw: The shaky cam goes completely nuts during the final shootout in front of Shangsi's office, most likely to emphasize the breaking point of Lynch's degenerating mental state.
  • Jitter Cam: The game's visual style and presentation uses this. The camera sways when you run and you can hear air rushing over a microphone, as if someone was following you and struggling to keep up. Players can turn it off if it's too much, however.
  • Just For Pun: The final opponents fought in the game are a pair of dogs.
  • Last-Name Basis: While everyone still calls Lynch by his last name, it seems a little odd that Xiu calls him that too. Of course, it's entirely possible Lynch prefers it this way.
  • Lens Flare: Certain bright lights either cause a series of ghosted lights, or an exaggerated vertical shaft from top to bottom.
  • Loading Screen: Like in the first game. Here, it's presented like a buffering online video.
  • Madness Mantra: Lynch mumbles deranged, barely coherent nonsense during particularly intense shootouts.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: Much of the game sees the pair fighting through street thugs, dirty cops, SWAT teams, and army soldiers. When they reach the antagonists, they are quickly disposed of - Hsing is strangled to death by Lynch, Glazer is shot in the head by a sniper as a part of set-up for Kane and Lynch, and Shangsi is quickly gunned down by Lynch when the pair finally reach him.
  • Morality Pet: Lynch's relationship with Xiu seems to imply that he is capable of forming meaningful relationships with women again. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for her.
  • Multiplayer Difficulty Spike: In Co-op, losing all your health results in being knocked down and bleeding out, or a Game Over if your partner is already down. In singleplayer, the AI partner is basically a bullet sponge that will only be knocked down for a second before recovering almost instantly.
    • This is more noticeable on Extreme difficulty, where being downed only gives the partner mere seconds to revive them. This means that Extreme is easier to play alone since the player only has to contend with enemies that deal more damage.
  • No Ending: After Shangsi is killed, the pair sneak into Shanghai International Airport and, after fighting through authorities, flee onto the runway and hijack a commercial airliner heading for Balzar, Ecuador. The plane takes off and the game suddenly ends, leaving it ambiguous as to what'll happen to the two after they finally escape Shanghai.
  • One-Hit Kill: Dogs can do this as their only means of attacking, though they rarely show up.
  • Only in It for the Money: The only reason Kane's in Shanghai is for the money that he's supposed to get from the arms deal.
  • Painting the Medium: To the point where you wonder if the cameraman is an actual character. Hell, possibly confirmed by the fact that one of the Chinese soldiers physically grabs the camera after Kane and Lynch hop on the train.
  • Phrase Catcher: Upon escaping, each of the multiplayer characters will say, via radio, not to ever underestimate them to those left behind. That being said, they do say other things.
  • Real Is Brown: A downplayed example, as you get to see all the technicolor shininess of Shanghai's nightlife as well as the dull browns and grays of dock warehouses and apartment blocks (and even then, some aspects of those levels have details that give some color).
  • Satellite Love Interest: One common criticism is that Xiu has roughly 10 lines, exists for little other reason than to provide motivation for Lynch, and gets Stuffed in the Fridge just to top it all off.
  • Screaming Warrior: Lynch, especially in the Shangsi Tower climax;
    Lynch: DON'T FUCK WITH ME!!!
  • Sequel Escalation: Unusually for a big-budget action game, inverted. The first K&L game was a globe-trotting squad-based shooter set across three countries, having players pull off two large-scale heists and a Cuban revolution, spanning at least a week, story-wise, and with a pretty vast number of grenades and guns available for use by players. The second game is a brutal and short "Shaggy Dog" Story set in a single city over the course of a couple days, and eschews many of the first game's mechanics in favor of streamlining the gameplay.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The deal Kane & Lynch reunited for in the first place falls through, and the majority of the game is the two of them just scrambling around trying to get out of Shanghai, ending the moment they manage to catch a flight (AKA hijack a plane) out of the city.
  • Shoot the Hostage: It really bites them in the ass this time, where it turns out the girl that they accidentally kill in the first chapter is the daughter of an incredibly powerful (and corrupt) government official.
    • It's worth noting that this is an unintentional example; she had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, with Kane and Lynch targeting her criminal boyfriend, who drags her along with him. If one listens to the dialogue between the two before they confront him after he's cornered, they were just going to let her go, making this a pretty tragic example.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted, like in the first game. The shotguns provide more range than certain weapons like the machine pistols, which are better suited for close quarters and up close encounters.
  • Snuff Film: Heavily implied. When Hsing is torturing Kane, Lynch and Xiu, you can see in both chapter 6 and the intro cutscene for chapter 1 that Hsing has a camera set up filming the whole thing. Based on that with some comments made by Lynch and Glazer in chapter 2, it's likely that Hsing is heavily involved in snuff films.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Chinese pop music appears frequently throughout the levels and environments, contrasting from the game's frenzied shootouts and bleak story and creating a sense of mood and atmosphere.
    • Immediately after the game ends with Kane and Lynch, now likely the two most wanted men in Asia, hijacking an airplane full of innocent people and flying it away, a Chinese love ballad plays over the credits.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Xiu.
  • Stylistic Suck: To a truly epic degree. The game's visual style takes inspiration from user-generated content, documentary films, and hand-held cinematography, with the in-game camera presented as though Kane and Lynch are being followed and filmed.
    • The cutscenes use intentionally unprofessional editing, such as fast-cutting and out of place jump cuts.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Lynch.
  • Talkative Loon: Lynch will often mutter incoherently to himself during firefights.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Kane and Lynch unintentionally murder the daughter of the most powerful man in China, Shangsi. He decides that in lieu of this, the best tactical choice is not to have them arrested, their car bombed or their food poisoned. Instead, he decides to send the entire Shanghai police department at them in a bloody vendetta that tears a large part of the city apart, and eventually dispatches fully armed soldiers and attack choppers.
  • Trailers Always Lie: No, the two aren't actually tailed by a news crew during their adventures, but you wouldn't know that from the ads. Promotional ads also showed Kane and Lynch organizing the heists seen in multiplayer and arcade mode, which wouldn't make any sense story-wise.
  • Unique Enemy: You encounter very few dogs in the game. You only fight them in the parking building in Chapter 2 and as the last enemies in the game before you hijack the plane in Chapter 11.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Civilians can see two heavily armed white guys, each packing two firearms at once, and sometimes completely fail to react. This is mainly noticeable after you enter the alleyway the restaurant, where a man will just kind of stand there with a bemused look on his face no matter what you do (up to and including shooting people in front of him).
    • Lynch even lampshades this later on in Shangsi's tower by pointing out that two blood-soaked white guys with automatics will stand out quite a bit in Shanghai. This is mainly because by then they have raised five flavors of hell, and even average civilians would be in on the manhunt.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: The game deliberately avoids glorifying any of its violence, and instead goes out of its way to portray realistic consequences of it. The firefights are messy and chaotic with civilians often being caught in the crossfire, Kane and Lynch become increasingly worn-out and unhinged, and the entire atmosphere feels more like a psychological horror piece than an action shooter. The camera isn't making things better in the sequel as often times the camera will try to censor mutilated bodies and heads.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Played stunningly straight by Shangsi. After pursuing the boys all over Shanghai with hundreds of police officers and soldiers operating under orders to shoot to kill, they suddenly decide to apprehend them rather than kill them, then escort them across the city in a military grade transport helicopter without even restraining them. Which gives them the chance to steal said chopper and directly assault Shangsi's office. Too Dumb to Live indeed.
    • Shangsi having Kane and Lynch captured instead of killed could be explained away by him wanting to hire them, as he attempts to do when he meets them in person. After all, the duo have already gunned down scores of heavily armed thugs, police officers, and military soldiers by this point in the game, so he might realized using force wasn't going to work.

Alternative Title(s): Kane And Lynch 2 Dog Days, Kane And Lynch Dead Men