Lock and Load Montage

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Similar to the Training Montage, it consists of the hero gearing up for the big fight, preparing a multitude of weapons in anticipation of the need for More Dakka, usually taken from a Wall of Weapons. Usually features close-up shots of guns being loaded, knives being sheathed, headbands being tied, etc. Never complete without a veritable symphony of metallic clicking noises.

Whether or not all the weapons are used or whether the hero is held to the limits of what is shown is up for grabs.

Frequently there will be one "special" weapon, a small and somewhat unusual one normally, which will play a critical role in the upcoming battle.

As the use of firearms is a modern contrivance, works such as The Iliad and Beowulf often depicted warriors donning their arms and armor in scenes heavy with ceremony and ritual.

The A-Team Montage might be seen as a variant. The Transformation Sequence is a close cousin, and the Extended Disarming the opposite. Sometimes ends up as Technology Porn, and in military or law enforcement-themed media it frequently happens during Red Alert.

For the Distaff Counterpart, see Lipstick and Load Montage.

No real life examples, please; Real Life does not have montages.

Examples of Lock and Load Montage include:


  • Parodied in the Parazone sponsorship thingies for The Bill. The cop-show obsessed character does this—with cleaning products.
  • Kevin Butler: "Two words for you: Mon Tage."

Anime and Manga

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha devotes an inordinate proportion of its Transformation Sequences to shots of the characters' magical armaments, which include a surprisingly large number of moving parts. These evolved into Lock And Load Montages by the second season, when the characters began literally loading their weapons with "cartridges" for extra oomph.
  • Misato in End of Evangelion, when preparing her pistol to go rescue Shinji from his Heroic BSOD. Misato's H&K USP makes some pretty satisfying metallic clicks.
  • The Cowboy Bebop episode "Toys In The Attic" parodies Ripley's Lock and Load Montage in Aliens, with Spike equipping himself with a blowtorch, among other things. The whole episode, as a matter of fact, was one big Shout-Out to the original Alien.
  • Yoko does this in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, though she ends up removing her clothes in favor of her flame-patterned bikini. Did we mention that she's the show's go-to girl for fanservice?
    • Go-to girl? I think you mean poster girl. She's the frikkin' page image!
  • It's "during" the battle rather than "before", but Kaze's Magun from Final Fantasy Unlimited has a pretty awesome pre-fire sequence: whenever he wants to take down a baddie with it, he loads three bullets full of "Soil" into it and fires -- summoning a Final Fantasy monster.
  • Done in chapter 15/episode 18 of Soul Eater where, having been at a party, the students put on their usual outfits in order to face Medusa and her followers in battle.
  • Gundam series tend to feature these in the booting up format. If the Gundam is unused and being prepped for the debut battle, it will inevitably take much longer to suit up to give you the rundown. This comes complete with the interface completely opening up before your eyes. If the Gundam has weapons, they will be manually equipped.

Comic Books

O Brien: Holy shit, did he just put an M-60 into the trunk of a Subaru?


  • The Rambo movie series features a number of iconic example, especially the one from Rambo: First Blood Part II, the most frequently parodied.
  • Commando is also a prime example. There's actually two of them; one when Arnie's stealing the weapons and equipment from a surplus store (except he's loading them on a shopping trolley), the other when he's gearing up for Storming the Castle.
  • The 2004 Punisher movie has a great one as Frank gets ready to storm the castle, complete with Thomas Jane's broody narration.

This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No, not vengeance. Punishment.

  • One of the Hot Shots movies has a prime parody.
    • Another famous parody is in Loaded Weapon I when Colt puts on so many weapons that he can't stand up.
  • Another parody appears in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, where Isaac Hayes' character preps for the final battle by holstering more than a dozen guns under his long coat. He then trips and falls while leaving the building, causing all the guns inside his coat to go off.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn does this as he prepares for the battle at Helm's Deep.
  • Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan had a good one in Act 3 when the Enterprise makes its run for the Mutara Nebula and the big showdown with the starship Reliant. As James Horner's navy music plays, we see repair teams deploying to all sensitive areas of the ship, activity in engineering, and the now-famous shot of actual torpedoes being loaded.
    • A callback to this scene appears in Star Trek after Captain Pike gives the order to "prepare to fire all weapons" with crew members scrambling for their places and two six-round quick-loads of torpedoes being slammed shut.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis has a scene very similar to the Mutara Nebula scene as well, with keycode-locked wall panels that rotate to reveal stored phasers.
  • The Batman movies often have a sequence where Bruce dons the batsuit, punctuated with dramatic angles, closeups, and movements. This convention has since trickled down into some of the animated series.
  • This is heavily subverted in Batman Returns, as while Bruce breaks off a date with Selina Kyle to suit up as Batman, it's intercut with Selina frantically trying to get into her catsuit while still driving.
  • The final story in the film Heavy Metal combines this with some heavy Fan Service as Taarna, the last Tarakian, prepares to fight her zombie-like enemies, in a leather bikini and stripper boots.
  • Hot Fuzz features a seriously amped-up version of this montage, as Nicholas Angel straps several gun racks' worth of pistols, shotguns and rifles to his body, then stomps out with thudding footsteps from the extra weight, and walks right past the main villain, who is too busy eating ice cream to notice...
  • Appears in Disney's Mulan as she puts on her father's armor and leaves home to join the army in disguise.
  • Both Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness feature Ash tooling up in a Lock and Load Montage, complete with whooshes and zooms. "Groovy."
  • Every single montage in Shaun of the Dead. Hell, Edgar Wright even does Lock and Load Montages for "getting ready for work" or "going down the pub". Take that, banality!
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Scott gets one of these. Which pauses for several seconds while he ties his shoes. The original purpose of the scene was to get Scott into a new T-shirt for the final battle; the whole sequence, complete with shoelace gag, was worked out in only a few minutes on the set.
  • Ripley locks, loads and duct tapes near the end of Aliens in order to rescue Newt from the Alien Queen. Earlier in the film the entire crew of the Sulaco has a Lock and Load Montage preparing for the drop.
  • Yet another parody of these occurred in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, and once again the character doing the montage equips and straps so many weapons to himself he falls over. When we immediately cut to the next scene, he's decided to just storm the villain's hideout with one gun.
  • Raw Deal, another Schwarzenegger film, except Arnie stuffs the guns into a nylon bag instead of strapping them on.
  • A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 The Dream Master. Alice suits herself up with articles of clothing that belonged to her dead friends before going off to fight Freddy.
  • Phantasm Oblivion, when Reggie loads his guns and straightens his bow tie before going off to guard the hearse.
  • Predator series
    • In Predator, Dutch prepares primitive weapons and covers himself with mud prior to fighting the title opponent.
    • In Predator 2, Harrigan strapping on and preparing his weapons before confronting the Predator in the slaughterhouse.
  • 'Film/'The Matrix: "So what do you need? Besides a miracle." "Guns. Lots of guns." Actually a slight subversion, since we do not see the actual tooling up, just the racks of virtual weapons and Neo slapping down the cocking lever on an MP5K-PDW.
  • Also parodied in The Pacifier, when Vin Diesel's SEAL-turned-babysitter character gears up with baby bottles, diapers, and the like for a walk in the park.
  • Short Circuit 2 had robot Johnny 5 "suit" up for revenge in a Radio Shack after getting essentially pounded into scrap by a pair of crooks and having to rebuild himself. With random electronic components. To turn himself into a Punk Rock Android. Complete with Mohawk.
  • The teaser trailer for The Incredibles spoofed this, with Mr. Incredible suiting up. It's when the belt fails to buckle that the audience discovers that he's let himself go.
  • Done in The Last Samurai, with Katsumoto's whole village abuzz with training, meditating, and making arms, armor, and incendiaries. Algren's suiting up is treated as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as well.
  • Though the protagonist hitman in Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai does not decorate himself with tons of metal; he always meticulously checks his guns (but then, there are "meditative" scenes when he cleans barrels and even assembles a silencer).
  • Parodied in Spy Hard. When the protagonists are finally finished with gearing up, they are surrounded by mooks and get captured.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark suiting up before he takes the fight to the Afghan warlords is Technology Porn, a Lock and Load Montage, and a Crowning Moment of Awesome mixed into one.
  • The Hebrew Hammer: The Kwanzaa Liberation Front has one of these every time they show up—only it's made entirely of them cocking their guns.
  • The Sylvester Stallone movie Cobra had a different take on this; scenes of the bikers approaching the small town where he's hiding are intercut with Stallone slowly assembling his Jatimatic submachinegun which had been carried stripped down in a suitcase.
  • The Kevin Bacon film, Death Sentence, features such a montage where Kevin Bacon is in his shed shaving his head à la Taxi Driver and fooling around with his newly bought weapons (up until this point of the film, Kevin Bacon plays a family man who has most likely never used a gun before in his life so he is most likely trying to figure out how the guns operate) before embarking on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • The action flick Supreme Sanction subverts it (technically): during the opening, we see someone prepare a sniper rifle, but when the actual shooting occurs, the protagonist uses completely different weapon: an Austrian Steyr AUG assault rifle (and she uses it like a sniper rifle).
  • Parodied in Raising Arizona. H.I. is going back and forth speechifying, putting another handgun in his pants every time he reappears on screen. Finally, he appears with a shotgun.

"So let's go, honey! (cocks gun) Let's go get Nathan Jr.!"

  • Used in Malcolm X, where we see several men sitting around a table, loading numerous weapons. Inverted in that it's not a heroic moment—they're preparing to assassinate the title character.
  • At the Opera Tonight of Repo! The Genetic Opera consists of characters getting ready for the titular event. The Repo Man just can't help packing a couple of scalpels.
  • In the Spy Kids films, this is seen quite a bit with the gadgets and such.
  • In Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this trope is seen when Dog's crew and Rory Breaker's crew are on their way to ambush the main characters.
  • Split Second (the 1992 movie) had one of those near the end.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, there is a montage of the pirate fleet hoisting their colours just before battle, after a Rousing Speech by the Pirate King Elizabeth Swann.
  • Sin City has one when Marv goes in for a rematch against Kevin.
  • In Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, the film begins with Batman suiting up, picking his gadgets, and getting in the Batmobile.
  • Gladiator has the opening sequence of the Romans preparing for battle against the Germanic tribe. Arrows are nocked, ballistas are wound, to much clicking and clacking.
  • Eraser. Arnie has a brief one when he's with a group of federal agents gearing up to raid a house. It serves as a Chekhov's Gun by showing the belt knife Arnie uses to escape The Mole later on.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, there's a brief sequence with Captain America arming his motorcycle with weapons and wielding his shield right before the proper montage of him and his team in action against the forces of HYDRA.
  • In The Wild Hunt, one occurs as Bjorn, Erik and their allies prepare a raid into the Celts' camp. Tamara even "equips" her cleavage.
  • In Black Hawk Down, there's a montage of the Rangers gearing up for their mission, complete with rock music blaring in the background.
  • In The Avengers, once our heroes decide to collectively start, erm, avenging, we're treated to a montage of Iron Man prepping his new armor, Captain America suiting up, Black Widow arming her gauntlets, Thor grabbing Mjolnir, and Hawkeye checking his bow.


  • Older Than Feudalism: The gearing up scene is one of the most frequent formulae (that is, groups of lines periodically repeated almost identically with a few significant variations) of The Iliad. Several heroes get one and each one reveals something about them: while Menelaus has the "standard" scene, Paris is seen donning borrowed armour (which marks him as not a real warrior), and Patroclus puts on Achilles' but is unable to lift his great spear, a foreshadowing of him being ultimately unable to fill Achilles' shoes and dying because of it. Later, when Achilles has his own Lock and Load Montage and is seen grabbing said spear, you know He's Back and arse is going to be kicked.
  • Beowulf also includes a scene in which the character donning his armor is described as an almost religious ritual.
  • Discworld:
    • The novel Pyramids begins with Teppic the student assassin preparing for his final exam by loading up an arsenal of knives, poison darts, climbing gear, piano cheesewire, etc. He then puts on his hat, stands up to look in the mirror, and falls over backward. With echo scenes later, involving crazy symbolic ceremonial gear or being ordered to throw down all weapons.
    • Also done in Wyrd Sisters when Granny Weatherwax puts on her black cloak and secures her pointy witch hat with hairpins.

[The pins] slid on one by one, as unstoppable as the wrath of God. No samurai, no questing knight, was ever dressed with as much ceremony. Finally she surveyed herself in the mirror, gave a thin little smile of satisfaction, and left via the back door. The air of menace was only slightly dispelled by the sound of her running up and down outside, trying to get her broomstick started.

Live-Action TV

  • Captain Janeway, in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Macrocosm," got to do her own Ripley impression as she girded for battle with giant flying one-celled organisms.
  • A mild spoof in Chuck: as Chuck and Sarah prepare for their first date, we see a montage of Sarah strapping on body armor, prepping poisoned darts, checking throwing knives, and loading her gun, intercut with Chuck combing his hair, choosing a shirt, tying his shoes, etc.
    • The entire series starts with one of these. It turns out to be a subversion, as it's actually Morgan trying to sneak Chuck out of the house. Even funnier is that Morgan has a grappling hook to "climb down" from Chuck's window... Chuck lives on the first floor.
  • One Babylon 5 episode, "No Surrender, No Retreat", combined this with the Captain's Log; the log is read over shots of fighters launching, White Stars flying in formation, etc.
  • Supernatural liked using these in the first season, though they're common enough to be understated when they happen now.
  • Parodied in Misfits, where several of the characters are shown "gearing-up" for their confrontation with the Virtue organisation. Their "gear" consists of ipods and rubber gloves (it sort of makes sense in context, but still looks really silly).
  • The Firefly episode "War Stories" featured one of these.
    • Hilariously subverted in "Objects in Space" when Jayne hears something moving around upstairs, pulls a blanket off the wall to reveal a rack full of weapons... wraps the blanket around himself, and rolls over in bed.
  • Appears in Kamen Rider Agito, while Agito, Gills, and Another Agito get the usual Transformation Sequence, G3/G3-X has to manually don his armor and weapons in a dramatic fashion.
  • Spoofed in the Doctor Who episode Dalek when the Doctor goes through van Statten's collection of alien weaponry tossing them aside with comments like "broken - broken - hairdryer". When he finds one that he thinks is suitable, he says "Lock and load!" just in case we missed the point.
  • Parodied in Spaced - Mike pulls a Commando-style montage (with knife/grenades) getting kitted up for paintballing before dropping in Ash's 'Groovy'.


  • "Jerusalem", of all things.

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear, o clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

Video Games

  • Mass Effect 2 has a lock and load montage right before you take the Normandy through the Omega-4 Relay. From a story perspective, the entire freaking game is this, as everything you do (recruiting and getting squad members loyal to you, upgrading the ship and weapons, etc.) is in preparation for the final mission.
  • Body Harvest for the N64 features an opening cinematic where the protagonist suits up while the aliens invade his space station. It looks bad ass up until the part where he gets shot.
  • Similarly, the first Worms game starts by showing one of the worm soldiers loading and strapping on everything from pistols to a bazooka, readying them to rock and roll. After a moment of standing there looking like a badass, he topples over.
  • In the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden, Ryu Hayabusa is shown tightening the straps on his outfit and putting three kunai into holders.
  • Although the player starts with only one weapon, the demo for the video game Dark Forces began with a sequence of Player Character Kyle Katarn strapping on his equipment. Strangely, this montage was absent from the full version of the game, though fan-created mods put it back in.
  • Done every time you make a major kill in Assassin's Creed, but with the most notable being Altair's preparation for the final assassination target, in which he does the most well-recognized form of the montage (swinging his swords to test the balance, tightening straps etc.).
  • The 1987 arcade shooting gallery game Operation Wolf began with a Lock and Load montage sequence based loosely on a similar sequence from the 1985 action film Rambo: First Blood Part II.
  • The Trauma Center games always show a quick sequence of the main surgeon dramatically donning surgical gear and striking a pose just before each operation.
  • The beginning of the first Splinter Cell game features Sam Fisher gearing up en route to his first mission to The Crystal Method's "Name of the Game".
  • The Witcher's opening sequence features a prolonged Lock and Load Montage as Geralt prepares his monster-hunting tools, his swords, a knife, a silver chain, drinks potions etc...
  • Happens to Barry in episode 4 of Alan Wake. It's off-screen, but we learn about it via a manuscript page, which also lampshades it.
  • Armored Core series love this. Even the very first game feature an Armored Core being constructed, from each individual parts starting from the Core selected, attached, briefly tested before finally the head is attached and the mecha is activated. Several variations exist like in Master of Arena's powerup opening or more recently, For Answer's White Glint being armed by having a rifle airlifted using an AH-64.
  • Some games instead have an entire army gearing up, like the opening introductions for Warcraft II and Halo.
  • Team Fortress 2's Medic gets one of these in his Meet the Team video, where he prepares to set out to the battlefield with the Heavy.(Not that other heavy.)

Web Comics

  • Cry Havoc features a page of the mercenaries loading machine guns and swords before setting off across the jungle.
  • The "Let's kick fang!" sequence in Sluggy Freelance, when Riff, Aylee, Kiki and Bun-bun prepare to rescue Torg and Zoë from vampires. Featured weapons include sharpened stakes, a stake-launcher, a Star of David, high-power lamps, a whoopee cushion filled with holy water, a ferret flying device, Bun-bun's switchblade (now with silver-plating) and Aylee's claws (which really don't need any improving).
  • Spoofed in this Sam and Fuzzy strip, adding in (for no apparent reason) pouring a fizzy solution into a test tube and building a snowman to the more standard montage fare.
  • The Order of the Stick has a variety of these, getting lengthier as the strip developed a plot and the battles got bigger. The most elaborate one to date[when?] was when Azure City was about to be invaded, and the characters' preparations included writing new spell scrolls, forging a new sword, and making out.
  • The Senkari Has one near the beginning of The Olde Inne story arc.

Web Original

  • The Street Fighters have this in Street Fighter the Later Years complete with a cheap imitation of the song Battle Without Honor Or Humanity and ending with Zangief wearing a too short speedo.
  • Parodied in the first part of Kickassia. The Nostalgia Critic's team is loading up for battle, with characters like Eight-Bit Mickey having 300-style muscles drawn onto his chest, Paw putting on a pair of headphones dramatically, the Cinema Snob taking off his glasses, spinning around, and putting them back on, and Handsome Tom simply standing there, having changed to a red "Villain" shirt off screen, and shrugging.

Western Animation

  • The Rambo animated series had a stock version of this montage, ending with Rambo tying his headband, that appeared in every episode.
  • The Venture Bros heavily parodies the scene from the Batman movie, as Monarch henchman Number 21 puts on his minion uniform while singing "Mars, Bringer Of War".
  • Dexter's Laboratory loved this one, naming it the "suit up" sequence which made DeeDee squeal with glee whenever it happened.
  • Swat Kats used a "suit up" sequence for the characters, especially in the later episodes. A long "suit-up, get in plane, have plane lower on its elevator for takeoff, engage engines, fly through tunnel to surface" sequence more like. Looked cool of course, most things on that show did, but it was a little long.
  • When The Tick (animation) and Arthur are in the lair of the otherwise unassuming Sewer Urchin, they watch as the underground superhero undergoes one of these, strapping up with such objects as lemons, guns that shoot melted butter, large claw-crackers, and soap. All of these items prove indispensable.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars "Chapter 21" has a montage of the ARC Troopers arming themselves just before they swoop in to rescue the Jedi.
  • Spoofed in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, also of the Old Superhero variety. Captain Righteous and his sidekick suit-up, but as they're already quite old, the montage takes around ten times as long as it would have if they were younger.
  • Beast Wars had a few. The episode "Coming of the Fuzors Part 1" had a subversion: as Rattrap summarizes the current dire situation to Dinobot, Dinobot loads up on weapons and ammunition out of sight. The next time Dinobot's on-screen, he's more than ready to meet the enemy.
  • Family Guy recently had Lois do this in order to kill her son Stewie for the sake of the whole world. Luckily, the whole episode turned out to be a computer simulation being seen by Stewie himself, to the dismay and relief of fans.
  • A SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon has SpongeBob and Patrick going through one as they prepare for a day of jellyfishing.
  • Just before the end of the series, Kim Possible does this, looking like she's preparing to stop Drakken once and for all. The battle suit and Cool Car is needed however for a Cat Up a Tree, which turns out to be a puma.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had a very dramatic one before the Day of Black Sun invasion. Katara loads up on like four pouches of water, Sokka puts on his sword and cool wolf armor, Toph gets Earthbender gear and a helmet, Appa gets some badass armor made by Sokka, Aang dramatically shaves his head, and Zuko takes off his armor and unfixes his hair in preparation for his Heel Face Turn.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Dragonshy" features a montage of Twilight's friends getting ready to track down a hibernating dragon and convince him to sleep elsewhere so his smoke will stop fouling up the air over Equestria.
  • Gnomeo gets one before his first raid into the Red yard in Gnomeo and Juliet.
  • Invoked for intimidation purposes, lampshaded and parodied all at once on Archer;

Archer: Do you get it? Because I swear to god, I will strip back down and show you all over again-
Pharmacist: Yeah I get it, I get it! You have a lot of guns!
Archer: And a knife!