Mobile Menace

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Kuzco: How did you get back here before us?!
Yzma: Ah... [Looks confused] How did we, Kronk?

Kronk: Well, ya got me. [Pulls down a chart displaying the progress of the previous chase] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.

When they aren't slouching on a throne, villains can really move around a lot more quickly and easily than seems possible.

While it takes heroes months to gather five Plot Coupons, trudging slowly through swamps, deserts, and arctic tundra, The Dragon will always get there moments before the heroes do and waltz off with each piece. If the hero is trying to outrun Jason Vorhees, who seemingly just trudges along, he'll be surprised to discover that thanks to Offscreen Teleportation he just rounded the bend ahead of him and beheaded him with a machete. If on the other hand the hero is in their Supervillain Lair and is trying to catch them, the villain will always be a corridor length away and probably lead him into a Defensive Feint Trap or pit filled with sharks. Even if the heroes can teleport, the bad guys will have the superior Villain Teleportation that can outperform the heroic version by leaps and bounds.

This is of course a standard way to give the heroes a really hard time against the bad guys, who can be everywhere the plot needs them to be despite any logical difficulties they'd have moving around. In a Horror setting, this is used to instill fear in a victim as they can no more outrun the slowly oncoming Implacable Man than the too fast by far monster.

Compare Teleporting Keycard Squad, Already Undone for You, Drop in Nemesis.

Not to be confused with No Delays for the Wicked, that has more to do with villains rarely suffering random setbacks that couldn't be predicted or regularly happen to normal people, and their evil organization/masquerade working unnaturally flawlessly.

Examples of Mobile Menace include:


Film[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Any villain from a slasher movie, natch.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperors New Groove, after a drawn-out chase where the heroes finally managed to evade the villains, went to the secret lair... and fond the villains already there.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Vetinari from Discworld.
    • Actually, Vetinari usually arrives places well after the other characters, as it was usually him that maneuvered them there in the first place. He never, ever slouches on the throne, though.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: The power of the Nautilus: In 1869, a submarine can arrives any part of the seas and destroy any ship:

Moving within the moving element! It was a highly appropriate motto for this underwater machine, so long as the preposition in is translated as within and not upon.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Two-Edge from Elf Quest always seems to crop up where he's least expected, even after being seriously wounded by one of his victims.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation play this trope deadly straight. The Enterprise encounters them in a part of the galaxy that it would take the Federation's fastest ship almost a decade at maximum warp to reach. The Borg reach the Federation in a little less than a season and a half later. This is actually given an in-universe explanation; the Borg have developed trans-warp conduits that basically allow them to deploy almost anywhere in the galaxy.
    • The Xindi from Star Trek: Enterprise use a similar tool that they use to launch two of their attack probes against Earth. Further exacerbated by the fact that at this point in Trek history, most of Earth's Starfleet can barely manage Warp 3.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Dalek," the eponymous Dalek has an astonishing ability to keep up with the fleeing Rose and Adam. The Dalek is just moseying along at a Dalek's usual slow glide, and it has to stop and fight its way through two ambushes, while Rose and Adam are running flat-out... yet somehow, when the vault door closes and cuts Rose off, the Dalek is right there behind her. (Arguably justified since later episodes show Daleks flying at high speed, but this one never displays such an ability on-screen.)

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Dick Dastardly in Wacky Races. He's always well in front, enough to stop to set up booby traps for the other racers. If only he'd stop trying to cheat he'd win every race.
  • The Green Goblin in The Spectacular Spider-Man is like this, popping up seemingly at will all across New York, making him unpredictable and difficult to track- per his Mooks, he doesn't even have a base (he finds them, rather than the other way around). Spidey therefore has to let Goblin come to him, rather than go looking for him like he would with other Big Bads.

Video Games[edit | hide]