Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"When you hit a man as hard as you can ten times and it only makes him sing like Little Richard, there aren't a whole lot of Plan B's."

In a fistfight, one participant (frequently The Hero) gets in close to his (usually much larger and frequently The Brute) opponent, and lands a flurry of punches into his gut.

The opponent just looks down and smiles, completely unharmed, giving the hero a moment of sudden dread, before inflicting some violence upon him in return.

The big guy may also say something like "Stop it, that tickles."

Almost exclusively limited to the comedy-action genre, though it occasionally appears as part of a Professional Wrestling Squash Match, as a particularly cruel form of what wrestling fans call "no-selling." Hulk Hogan, of course, made himself rich off a variation of the routine.

Other wrestlers who employ this tactic include Kane and The Undertaker (who would typically literally catch their opponents' third or fourth punch in their own hand before striking back), Sting, Eugene and Santino Marella. May be employed by a Giant Mook or Kung Fu-Proof Mook. Compare The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort; when the character who does this starts actually blocking or evading for real, you know the attacker can really hurt him.

See also Won't Work On Me.

Examples of Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh include:

Anime and Manga

  • Digimon Savers
    • Belphemon has a fight with the DATS crew like this. Four Ultimates/Megas, two Perfects/Ultimates and Daimon Masaru himself wallop Belphemon (himself an Ultimate/Mega) with pretty much their entire repertoire without actually doing any harm. In retaliation, he eats a few time-distorting bombs and starts vomiting energy blasts that rip open space and time.
  • Digimon Frontier. Duskmon, Duskmon, Duskmon! Takuya believes a little too strongly in the "teamwork-overcomes-all" thing, and talks the others into following his plan for attacking the ridiculously invincible Duskmon, whom they hadn't been able to scratch before. This time, they follow his plan, and... Duskmon is completely unharmed again. Takuya, disbelieving, attacks again and again with one vicious punch or kick after another... as Duskmon stands like a statue. His thoughts as he realizes - as it really, truly had never occurred to him before - that an opponent can simply be stronger are an example of good character development in Digimon Frontier.
  • Naruto
    • Naruto vs. the Idiot Brothers. Naruto uses Shadow Clone Jutsu to create a bunch of him, and attack the two big guys. Nothing happens except for them both agreeing that it "itches".
    • Sasuke vs. Killer Bee: Sasuke takes an opening to deliver a flying kick to Killer Bee's chest... whose only reaction was to pause for a second then set down his sword to write down some rap lyrics.
  • Done straight in Mobile Fighter G Gundam twice in the same episode—First Domon tries it against the pilot of Neo Russia's Bolt Gundam, then again when the two are fighting inside their mechas. Both times he gets his opponent's fists brought down on his head.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 pulls this trope off in the final episode: as Setsuna charges at Ribbons's mecha into melee range where Setsuna is dominant, we expect him to do some damage then fly off as usual. Instead, Ribbons pulls out a beam saber and casually swats him out of the sky. The "Uh Oh" part of the trope comes right after as the Reborns Cannon transforms, revealing that it's a freaking Gundam. Setsuna's expression is priceless. Yes, the memetic line is said by a good guy.
  • Fist of the North Star
    • Subverted during Ken's fight with Mr. Heart. Ken throws a single punch at Heart, who is so obese that his belly fat absorbs it, holding Ken in place so Heart can hit him. Ken, after getting up, decides to use a different tactic: he kicks the same spot repeatedly, displacing Heart's bulk so Ken can reach his pressure points and cause Heart to asplode.
    • Later played straight in Kenshiro's first fight with Souther due to Souther's partial immunity to Kenshiro's Hokuto Shinken.
  • Happens to Eimer in Glass Fleet when the "boss" of the big scary prisoners she's been kicking around finally shows up. (He is, however, taken out with one hit by Cleo not too long after.)
  • Dragonball Z has loads of these. Except it's more like Punch Punch Punch raised to the power of a dozen, with a few ki blasts for good measure. Cue the Uh Oh when the villain either takes the flurry of punches without moving at all or emerges from a giant cloud of dust.
    • Vegeta even did some Lampshade Hanging on this in the first season when Vegeta and Nappa emerge from the cloud of dust: "This is our favorite part; you know. You should see the looks on your faces." Which made it all the more annoying after Vegeta does his Heel Face Turn and then repeatedly becomes the victim of this trope.
    • The villains aren't the only ones who does this. Goku, after going Super Saiyan for the first time, gives Freiza a lot of free hits for several minutes, and only gets injured when he purposefully takes a direct hit to the face from a fricking Death Beam (after making a show of easily dodging several Death Beam Spams beforehand)... and all that does is a minor scratch. "Uh Oh" doesn't begin to cover it. Just to clarify: Death Beam goes through anything it touches, and all it does to Goku is knock his head up a bit. And then he delivers his speech....
    • Broly is the undisputed king of this trope, because he combines this with Implacable Man. It's not that he takes the blasts and punches on purpose, it's just that he can't be bothered to move in anything less efficient than a straight line toward his target. There is a more literal moment when Goku delivers a fully-powered Kamehameha at point blank. Not only does Broly seem unaffected, he sneers and says, "What the hell was that?"
    • Super Android 13 is best known for a scene in which Super Saiyan Goku rushes him and hits him with a flurry of hits, while he just stands there. After a little while, he decides that it's just irritating, catches Goku's kick, and punches him in the crotch hard enough to knock him out of Super Saiyan. Uh Oh indeed.
    • Vegeta does this to Android 19. He lets the android just pound away at him for a few minutes, then laughs at him for being weak and proceeds to own him.
    • Hercule/Mr. Satan was a frequent victim of this too, thanks to being so weak in comparison to the other characters.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
    • In the Yusuke vs. Toguro fight of the Tournament Arc, once Yusuke takes off his aura handcuffs, he, quite frankly, pummels Toguro into the ground. The "Uh-oh" comes when Yusuke jumps out of the hole he's plowed Toguro into to find that Toguro's powered down to 0%. Toguro then justifies the uh-oh by charging up to 100% on the spot.
    • Then subverted when Toguro punches Yusuke into a wall, destroying nearly everything on its path. Yusuke is in a wall, with dust all around. He finally stands up, and Toguro smirks and says, "That didn't even hurt you, did it?" Yusuke gives an affirmative, showing that Toguro is Genre Savvy as well.
  • Happens a couple times in Berserk. The first time, Guts is fighting Wyald, and after slashing Wyald several times and knocking him to the ground, Wyald gets back up and knocks Guts around a little. Sorta subverted, as Wyald was really pissed at Guts instead of just shrugging it off. The second time happens right after the Eclipse. Guts is attacked by a nameless Apostle, fighting it with a new sword given to him by Godo. After chopping its arm off and disemboweling it, Guts finds that the blade has broken off at the hilt, leaving him unarmed and having to use the new Arm Cannon that Godo and Rickert made for him. Fortunately, he finds the Dragon Slayer, the strongest weapon Godo has forged, at the last minute, and promptly uses it to tear the monster apart.
  • In One Piece, Luffy started the big fight against Arlong with a whole flurry of attacks, Arlong was not impressed. Slight subversion in that Luffy isn't really fazed by this either, probably because he was still soaked in seawater and probably unable to hit quite as hard as he could have.

Arlong: Was that all you got?
Luffy: Nah, just warming up.

  • Mahou Sensei Negima
    • Subverted when Rakan asks Negi to punch him as hard as possible. Activating all of his power-ups and channelling as much magic as he can to his arm, Negi punches Rakan in the stomach to no immediately apparent effect. In the following panel, Rakan suddenly coughs up a torrent of blood and hits Negi for punching too hard.
    • Played straight later on when Negi actually fights Rakan. He brings out his new ultimate move, turns into lightning and beats the crap out of Rakan for an entire chapter, at which point Rakan falls unconscious. The next chapter starts with Rakan getting up, unharmed, and beating the crap out of Negi.
    • A form of this also happens during Ku:nel Sanders fight with Kaede; he essentially lets her unload on him because he's actually not there, and is using an invincible illusion to fight in the tournament, so it's impossible for him to be injured.
    • Also simultaneously played straight and averted. In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, an advance team lead by Kotaro runs into Fate. Since one of the party has an invisibility artifact, Fate has no idea they're there, which gives Kotaro the idea to kill him. It doesn't work and Fate beheads Kotaro. Than it's revealed that that sequence was just an Imagine Spot, Kotaro hasn't moved an inch, and Fate's still walking down the hallway oblivious.
  • Hellsing. Hellsing, Hellsing, Hellsing, HELLSING.
    • Alucard in particular is made of this trope. One noteworthy example comes when Rip Van Winkle launches her "warhead", a massive, magical bullet that can turn in mid-air and was previously shown destroying entire planes, at him. He takes several shots from it, then suddenly decides he's had enough and catches the bullet in his mouth. (Note that just the act of stopping the bullet leaves him looking a bit like Two-Face's long-lost brother, yet he still appears unaffected.)
    • Alucard seems to actually quite enjoy doing this, possibly just to see the horror on his opponent's face(s) as he regenerates with absolutely no effort (whilst berating them for being so weak, no less). Not that this is out of character at all for Alucard.
    • Is there even a single time where Alucard fights without pulling this of?
    • Alucard himself gets one of these, during his fight with Anderson with the nail. He unloads More Dakka onto Anderson, only for the latter to regenerate his arms, stop the final bullet with a vine, and grin. Right before he leaps above Alucard, stabs him in the head, then starts to burn him away with holy fire, one of times during the series when Alucard has been closest to death.
  • Done in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Kai!) when Okonagi punches Akasaka in the chest; he's feeling smug until Akasaka mutters, "Weak". Guess what happens next. It's actually different than some people might expect -- Akasaka says "You call that a punch? Lemme show you a real punch...", Okonagi backs up to his car clearly afraid, Akasaka punches through the bulletproof windshield, and Okonagi faints from the attack barely missing his face. And then the Nakama comes out to celebrate their victory for the day!
  • Bleach
    • Zaraki bares his chest, and gives Ichigo one free swing at him, anywhere he liked. Ichigo puts everything into his attack, and as a result, Zaraki is unfazed, and Ichigo's hands are bleeding, because Zaraki's natural reiatsu levels are crazy high.
    • Big Bad Aizen himself decides he wants to spice things by pulling off this trope After he's obtained his Hougyoku conquered self by taking two full sword strikes from Urahara and Isshin, stopping them both, pushing them back, getting chained up, then taking a full unloaded punching onslaught from Yoruichi who just appeared in the chapter. The Uh-oh comes in after Aizen gets back up, virtually unharmed. His response to all this? "What's wrong, this can not be the end, can it? I would make my next move quickly if I were you, for I plan on crushing you one by one into tiny fragments, down to the very last remnant."
    • It's reversed in chapter 419; Aizen, having basically evolved into an Eldritch Abomination, throws everything he's got at Ichigo (including one of his signature monologues). Ichigo's response: "Is that all you've got?"
    • Ulquiorra does this on multiple occasions, sometimes in the same battle. In one instance, after Ichigo has thrown everything he's got at him, Ulquiorra uses Ichigo's zanpakto, which Ichigo is trying to impale him on, to slice his shirt off to show off his Espada number.
  • Baccano!
    • In the DVD extra episodes, Ladd Russo takes a direct hit from Graham Spector without flinching, then rips Graham's weapon out of his own wound and sends Graham flying across the screen. This is a case of one Crazy Awesome character out-crazying another.
    • Also occurs in the main series when a group of mobsters shoot Szilard Quates full of bullets. He promptly returns the favor.
    • Given the number of immortal (and not technically immortal but still crazy powerful) characters in the show...
  • Ranma ½
    • Occurs after Ryôga learns the breaking-point technique. The training for said technique has taken his already Herculean endurance and increased it to ridiculous, exponential levels. So Ranma pounds Ryôga into the ground, and is ready to declare victory, when... Ryôga gets up like nothing had happened. Ranma proceeds to have an epic Oh Crap moment.
    • In general, when Ranma is fighting a new enemy (particularly in movies) he begins with his Chestnut Fist attack, which usually accomplishes nothing.
  • Soul Eater
    • One episode has Maka get into an argument with Black Star. She punches him in the face to no effect (because of both the power gap and the fact she doesn't use punches as often). He shrugs it off and tells her to challenge him to a duel if she wants to solve things that way.
    • Becomes even funnier if you consider that in the last episode of the Anime she literally just punches out the series's Cthulhu.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Rosario + Vampire has multiple layers of this in chapter 6 of the second serialization; Tsukune's friends take on the doppelganger but are themselves defeated in the process... and then Tsukune removes Moka's rosario and plants it on the doppelganger to temporarily weaken him before attacking him as much as possible until the rosario comes off. Then Inner Moka shows up and delivers a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner about doppelgangers. Cue the Evil Laugh and a very brief Curb Stomp Battle at her hands.
  • In Fairy Tail, Natsu, Erza, Gray, Wendy, and Lucy give it everything they've got when they attack Master Hades. Their foe is surprised by their ability and synchronization, but even their best attacks fail to scratch him. The heroes have barely enough time to realize that they are in serious trouble before Hades apparently vaporizes Wendy.
  • Subverted in Angel Densetsu. To the outside observer, most fights against Kitano play out as follows: assailant wails on Kitano as hard as they can, assailant expresses shock at the fact that Kitano refuses to fall, Kitano lays out assailant in a single hit. In reality, while Kitano is pretty tough, he's also highly skilled at dodging just enough to nullify a blow while appearing to take its full impact. He's also an Actual Pacifist who hates fighting, and enough of a Cloudcuckoolander that half the time he won't even realize he's in a fight to begin with. And that single, knock-out blow at the end? It's even odds that either the assailant panicked and knocked himself out somehow, or Kitano accidentally blundered into him and the impact knocked him cold. Of course, if you've frightened Kitano enough that he decides he has to actually hit you, then may God have mercy on you.

Comic Books

  • The... "plot"?... of the Doom comic is triggered by one of these scenes, where the protagonist tries to punch out a Cyberdemon while under the influence of a Berserker Pack, but finds that it wears off just as he's about the throw the punch.

Marine: OOH, HERE IT COMES! THE NIGHT TRAIN! Choo Choo Cha' BOOGIE! Choo choo cha'... choo ch... choo cha...*Bonk* oh my.

  • In one Lucky Luke book, on a Mississippi riverboat. Subverted in that our cowboy still succeeds, although his punches just tickle his opponent.
  • One issue of Moon Knight involving the... title hero fighting a number of voodoo zombies (yes, really) has one of these.

Moon Knight: You're going down', ugly. You're going down and you're STAYING... you're not going down.

  • In a Transformers comic, Ironhide answers a challenge from a Decepticon called Stockade. This happens. This is kind of funny if you're familiar with the toys—Ironhide is quite a bit larger than Stockade.
  • During Infinite Crisis, Black Adam assaults Superboy Prime. Prime appears to be hurt by Adam's magic-charged punches... before revealing magic doesn't hurt him and punching Black Adam across the room and back into his own reality.

"The magic it hurts! Actually, it tickles."

  • Herbie Popnecker, the Fat Fury, has such a powerful resistance to damage that he sometimes doesn't even notice that he's being attacked. Occasionally a villain will attack Herbie strongly enough to be noticed and he'll glance about in puzzlement muttering "Something...?"
  • Daredevil
    • In the sixth issue of the original series, Daredevil finds that his punches are completely ineffectual on the massive Ox, and a typical scene for this trope occurs. To put this into perspective, in the very first issue of the series, a young Matt Murdock punched a boxing speed bag straight off its suspension, and this was before he started a regular workout regimen. In short, Ox is freaking hardcore.
    • In a similarly early issue, during a confrontation with Ka-Zar, Daredevil learned the hard way that the jungle life makes you stronger than a mastodon. "No use! It's like trying to stop a steamroller! I expected that blow to his stomach to topple him..."
    • Kingpin put it on a higher level. We have a whole page of Daredevil punching him from all possible angles, with no visible effect. Next page, Kingpin starts the payback with a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
  • One Twisted ToyFare Theatre strip features Galactus landing on top of Four Freedoms Plaza, having been called to destroy Earth because the Silver Surfer found no-one capable of standing in his way (the Thing had stayed behind while the others went off on a mission, and fell asleep in front of the TV). When Galactus refers to The Thing as "fugly", The Thing socks Galactus right in the gut. After there being absolutely no reaction, The Thing offers up his opinion as to what to do next: "Well, I'm stumped."
  • Almost the entire fight between The Punisher and The Russian in "Welcome Back, Frank".
  • In the Superman vs. Spider-Man Special, Lex Luthor secretly energizes Spidey for the inevitable first meeting fight. After a few good licks, the energy wears off, and Spidey experiences this trope.
  • Another crossover feature Batman and The Hulk has Bats punching various points of Hulk's body trying to find a weak spot. After a couple panels, Batman looks up to see a very angry Hulk who says, "You try to... hurt Hulk?!"
  • Spider-Man
    • This happens a lot to Spidey since he's always the underdog character. While trapped on a deserted island, he punches Venom in the face with everything thing he has. While it actually draws blood from Venom's mouth, he laughs it off and tells Spidey that he has First Blood.
    • The famous "Nothing Stops the Juggernaut" story from Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 is basically two issues of this. Spidey tries to deter the Juggernaut from kidnapping Madame Webb. He not only tries dozens of punches, but girders, webbing, a manhole cover, a load of bricks, a wrecking ball, a gas truck and more. Nothing works, but Spider-Man refuses to let another of his friends get hurt.
    • Another Spider-Man example happens in his first encounter with The Hulk. He throws his hardest punch and not only hurts his own hand but the Hulk doesn't even blink.
  • A one-off story from the early days of Excalibur—the first half of #3. You get this trope twice: first Captain Britain tries to stand up to the Juggernaut (who's just broken out of prison), hits him several times to no effect, then gets knocked a couple miles away by one punch. Then, as the Juggernaut is trying to leave, Phoenix steps in, and introduces herself to the helmetless Juggernaut...
    • The team even tried to warn Captain Britain that this would happen. Juggernaut is absolutely invulnerable to any amount of physical force. Even an enraged Hulk can't move him. So under normal circumstances the only way to stop Juggernaut against his will is via telepathic attack, which is why team telepath Phoenix was assigned to handle him since Juggernaut was already without his telepathy-blocking helmet. But at that point in his career Captain Britain was too hot-headed to listen to the plan and charged in. Thus, this trope came into play, and hilariously so.
  • Happens in Stumptown #4 when Dex is trying to punch a large thug named Whale.

Dex: Sorry, but I had to try, you understand.

Fan Works

“Are you quite finished?” the very annoyed Paul said as he dangled, arms folded over his chest.
The troll goggled at him for a few seconds, then screamed “AIEEEE!”

Films -- Animation

  • Subverted when Mowgli does this to Baloo upon first meeting him in The Jungle Book. Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... becomes a Punch! Punch! Punch! Hi There... as Baloo takes it upon himself to teach Mowgli how to throw a decent punch.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Played straight by Russell Crowe in the boxing film Cinderella Man.
  • Godzilla
    • Pure, flat out, Godzilla. Time after time, in his first movie they threw EVERYTHING at him, and he just kept COMING. He does it again in Godzilla 1985 to the Super X, and pretty much beats the shit out of Baragon in an almost literal Curb Stomp Battle with Baragon in GMK.
    • He was also partially the victim of this trope in his second battle with Biollante in Godzilla vs. Biollante because she had so much fucking MASS that she was able to shrug off even his most powerful blasts without taking much damage.
  • Indiana Jones
    • He does this in Raiders of the Lost Ark against a gigantic Nazi bruiser. How he finishes the fight could well be considered Nightmare Fuel.
    • He has a similar encounter with the same actor, but wearing a turban, in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Again, his body ends up horribly mangled.
    • Luckily for him, in the third film that actor's character missed the Zeppelin. They planned to have a fight in the third film, and from the looks of it they were going to subvert this trope by giving the guy a glass chin. (There's some footage in the "Stunts of Indiana Jones" special on the DVD.)
    • Subverted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where Indy punches the Russian henchman several times, only for him to manically grin through bloodied teeth. Indy makes for one last punch—but the guy falls flat on his back to be carried off by giant ants.
  • The Man in Black is the victim of this when he goes up against Fezzik (played by Andre the Giant) in The Princess Bride.
  • Carlos, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold from the film Batteries Not Included, attempts a flurry of punches to the Gentle Giant Harry's midsection to no avail. A bad idea, considering that Harry was already more than a little upset about Carlos shoving him down a flight of stairs earlier. Harry flashes Carlos a satisfied grin just before knocking the crap out of him and tossing him out the front door.
  • Rocky
    • Done dead (and I mean dead) serious in Rocky IV, when Apollo Creed fought—or tried to fight—Ivan Drago in an exhibition match. The first round and a half were like this for Rocky as well until he landed a brutal haymaker on Ivan Drago which changed momentum in the fight.
    • Rocky himself uses it to magnificent effect against Clubber Lang's punches in part III.
  • A standard feature of many James Bond films.
    • The best example is the series of encounters between Bond (Sean Connery) and the sumo-wrestler-sized martial arts expert Oddjob (Harold Sakata) in Goldfinger. Bond's futile attempts to harm Oddjob early in the movie set us up for their classic final encounter in the gold vaults at Fort Knox. With an atomic weapon ticking off in the room, how will Bond manage to defeat an enemy seemingly immune to violence and pain? (Bond throws gold bars at him, to no effect, for crying out loud.)
    • Jaws seemed completely impervious to any kind of injury at all, which honestly makes you wonder why Bond ever tried to take him in close combat after the first time. Also not helped by Bond's insistence on punching Jaws in the mouth.
    • Another good example: The guy from the beginning of Never Say Never Again. Who ignores a pot of boiling water to the face, but gets horribly burned by day-old urine?
  • This happens in Big Trouble in Little China. Although not bigger than Jack, Rain is a minor god.
  • During a barfight in the movie Michael, one of the drunks hammers at Michael's gut, then punches him twice in the face. Mike doesn't even blink—but then, he's an archangel.
  • During the climactic brawl in The Cannonball Run, Burt Reynolds ineffectively slams several punches into the jaw of a massive biker. The biker mockingly suggests "Why don't you try this side?", pointing to the other side of his jaw. Burt replies "Thanks" and then slugs him with a wrench on the indicated side of the jaw, knocking the biker out.
  • In the fight against the Big Bad in Blade, Blade gets several free shots at his opponent before said opponent grins at him and says "My turn", then proceeding to smash him across the room.
  • When Hellboy encounters Mr. Wink in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, he initially punches Mr. Wink in the abdomen several times, with no effect. He pauses a second, and Mr. Wink gives Hellboy a huge punch.
  • In The Mask, Ipkiss unleashes rapid punches in the Big Bad's face. He stops for a second, panting, and gasps "I'm winning!" in an amazed voice. The Big Bad immediately seizes the initiative.
  • Batman Returns: Batman can't beat up a heavyset bruiser. So he stuffs a bomb earlier lifted from a clown in the guy's pants and throws him into a sewer. Ouch.
  • Happened more than once in various Bud Spencer movies.
    • In at least one instance, Bud's character doesn't even notice that a mook is punching him in the back, and only takes annoyed action when the mook smashes a chair on him.
  • Subverted in the grand fight scene at the end of Blazing Saddles, where an effeminate, tuxedo-clad dancer beats ineffectually on the chest of a large cowboy before bursting into tears and collapsing into the cowboy's arms. The cowboy comforts him. ("There, there.")
  • Nicely subverted in Balls of Fury: Maggie repeatedly pummels a Giant Mook standing between her group and their escape route, only to have him gather himself and give her a look that seems to imply a serious ass-kicking is about to commence. Then, he falls over.
  • In Necessary Roughness, when the football team is confronted in a bar by their undefeated rival-college team, Paul Blake (a middle-aged quarterback) delivers a one-two punch to the jaw of the rival team's star linebacker. Said punches have no effect, and we hear someone off-camera (probably one of Paul's teammates) say "Oh, Lord!" just before a massive bar-fight breaks out.
  • In Master of the Flying Guillotine, one of the martial artists uses a special technique that renders him invulnerable. His smaller and quicker opponent lands blow after blow to no effect before finding his weak spot.
  • In Friday the 13 th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a teenage boxer gets into a fistfight with undead killing machine Jason Voorhees. Even more ludicrously, he punches Jason multiple times in the face, y'know, the one covered by a hockey mask? After he tires out, Jason decapitates him with one punch.
  • Done in the first Three Ninjas film, with a particularly large mook, before the heroes remember about vulnerable spots and beat the crap out of him.
  • This happens to John Wayne's character while fighting a massive oilfield roughneck in the movie Big Jake.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk has just finished bashing and pummeling the Abomination into the ground (with the help of cars used as boxing gloves). The Abomination simply spits out a few teeth and asks, "Is that all you've got?"
  • The Lord of the Rings: Hobbits attacking a cave troll should have this effect, but the scene is hardly played for laughs. Most of Gimli's fights would look like this, except that he has an axe.
  • In Yellowbeard, the title pirate is in a British prison and one of the guards attempts to discipline him by beating him with a stout wooden rod. Yellowbeard doesn't notice.
  • The movie version of Wild Wild West has Jim West trying to fight the last of Loveless's modified henchmen, only to end up invoking this trope. He gets the crap kicked out of him, nearly gets thrown out of the Spider Tank, and is only saved by a quick application of I Surrender, Suckers.
  • In the movie version of Popeye starring Robin Williams, Olive Oyl's luckless younger brother attempts to get money for his family by challenging a pro wrestler to a fight. He pounds on the guy for several minutes to no avail; before the wrestler smiles and pounds the crap out of him, necessitating Popeye to come in and finish the fight.
  • When Ivan Ooze breaks into the Command Center in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie, Alpha the robot tries to karate chop him—cue belch noise, Ivan electrocuting Alpha, and Zordon giving him a Pick on Someone Your Own Size.
  • The Time Machine 2002 adaptation. The protagonist repeatedly punches the Morlok leader in the face, only to have him laugh it off.
  • In the film revamp of Get Smart, while Agent 86 is beating on a very big Russian henchmen who doesn't feel a thing.

Agent 86: This is ridiculous!

  • Tony Jaa faces a big guy who does this in The Protector. He eventually turns the tables with elephant bones applied to joints.
  • Jackie Chan experienced this with a Giant Mook in Rumble in The Bronx. After punching the mook just earned him a contemptuous look, he tried beating him with a motorcycle helmet. The mook continued to look amused. So then Jackie grabbed a gigantic adjustable spanner, at which point the mook put up his hands and begged for mercy.
  • When the turtles first encounter Tokka and Rahzar in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: the Secret of the Ooze, Donatello winds up and baseball-swings his bo into Tokka's chest. The only damage is to Don's cool.


  • The Girl Who Played with Fire has this when Paolo Roberto, boxing expert, fights a giant who has a medical condition which means he cannot feel pain and an exceptionally thick skeleton. The only the time the giant actually shows any sign of feeling any of the blows was when Miriam kicked him in the balls. And Paolo hitting him in the head with a plank helped as well.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has a version of this. The Green Knight challenges Arthur's Knights to a test. Whomever accepts gets to make one attack on the Green Knight, and he will not resist. The condition being that the Green Knight will be able to do the same a year and a day from that day. Sir Gawain steps up and cuts the Green Knight's head off. The Green Knight then picks it back up and says he'll see Sir Gawain in a year and a day, gets back on his horse, and rides off.
  • In Hitler's War by Harry Turtledove, a character punches a bartender with "a blow that would have dented a Panzer". The bartender barely feels it, and punches back. Cue stunned reactions.
  • Max the Silent from Andrew Vachss's Burke books has done a variant of this on occasion. For example, as recounted in Terminal, he has twice purposely let Muay Thai practitioners knee him twice—which, for those not in the know, is supposed to hurt like hell.
  • Happens in The Fifth Elephant when Carrot takes on Wolfgang. Carrot can floor Detritus (who is made of rock) in a fair fight, which gives you an idea of just how tough Wolfgang is.
  • Some bad guys try to beat up Niobe's bonny husband in With A Tangled Skein by Piers Anthony, because they want to rape her. Then they comment that it's like punching rock. Then he schools them.

Live-Action TV

  • Even Hercules fell victim to this in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys once, when he went up a really big guy who took a number of blows without much reaction. Herc throws in some lampshading ("Doesn't that hurt?"), but eventually beats the guy.
  • Angel is famous for this.
    • Especially with season four's Dragon, The Beast. He does it to Faith in one episode, and in another classic scene, he stands there and repeatedly soaks the best shots of almost the entire cast (Angel, Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne), effortlessly bouncing flurries of punches, axe strikes, sword blows, bullets, and shotgun slugs, before casually throwing them through walls or off buildings.
    • Also played with for humor, when Angel faces off vs. Hamilton in the series finale. After throwing his best haymaker into Hamilton's stomach and only hurting his own hand, Angel sheepishly asks, "Did that hurt at all?" Hamilton replies, "A little bit." Hamilton was played by Adam Baldwin, the stereotypical Colonel Badass. The aforementioned is a surprise to anyone?
  • Happened to the chronically clueless Colonel Crittendon in Hogan's Heroes when he attempted to use "killer judo" on a large German officer.
  • This happens a lot in Get Smart, usually leading to a "Listen, fella, I hope I wasn't out of line with that crack about..."
    • In an episode, Maxwell Smart is infiltrating a camp of desert nomads when he bumps into a massive guard. "Where I come from," Max says with confidence, "we have a saying. 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall.'" After firing off a judo chop, two body blows, and a punch to the jaw that have no effect, Max muses, "Haven't heard of that one, eh? Well, maybe you know this one. 'The quality of mercy is not strained...'"
    • A variant used is when Max tries repeatedly punching a big guy in the gut, and the opponent confidently withstands it. However, something happens or is done to distract him from bracing himself and Max takes advantage to knock him out with a hard punch.
  • This also happens to Ensign Chekov in the heat of a barfight against Klingons in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".
  • There's the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Valiant", in which a cadet crew try a highly dangerous plan to destroy a Dominion Warship. They make the shot, explosions cover the outside of the enemy hull, cheer cheer cheer... and then the explosion clears, and they see the ship is totally unharmed. And then Everybody Dies.
  • Unusually, Stargate Atlantis has this happen to a Red Shirt Action Girl in the episode "The Prodigal".
  • Deliberately invoked by Daniel Jackson in an episode of Stargate SG-1. Spotting a communicator he needs while he's being tortured, Daniel punches the Jaffa holding him in the stomach, eliciting no reaction aside from a haymaker that knocks him over the table, letting him sneakily grab the communicator.
  • In Super Sentai and Power Rangers, the really big-ass Megazords sometimes allow themselves to take a beating just for the Hell of it, before pounding the Monster of the Week flat.
    • Sometimes the opposite happens, like against Samurai Fan Man and the Frankenstein Monster. For example (one that most MMPR fans are familiar with), Dora Franke (Frankenstein Monster) beats up Daizyujinn (Megazord), Daizyujinn's finishing sword strike just bounces harmlessly off his chest, later, after a temporary retreat, Dragon Caesar joins Daizyujinn and gets picked up by the tail and thrown into Daizyujinn, and then they form Gouryujinn (Dragonzord Battle Mode) who still gets pounded. The Rangers then use the mighty Ranger Slingers (not seen in MMPR) which do nothing but break his bolt and chain weapon. They use the Dragon Antler (Power Staff) finisher on Dora Franke, but all he does is use the energy to upgrade to Zombie Franke (who later is seen manhandling Daizyujinn again), until Dai Satan (Lokar) upgrades him to Satan Franke. Even against Zyutei Daizyujinn (Mega Dragonzord) he doesn't go down easily until they use the empire attack (big Z-sphere) to disintegrate him in a bright flash of light.
  • The A-Team
    • Various Mooks do this to B.A. Baracus. Only rarely do they realize that it's probably not a good idea to punch Mr. T in the face.
    • Though it's reversed at least twice by the same Asian Giant Mook who can take Baracus's punch in the face without flinching.
  • Happens in Kamen Rider Decade when Decade gets into a fight with Den-O (who was, at the moment, in Ax Form). Twice. Not Decade's proudest moment. What makes it really dumb is that Decade does this after punching Den-O in the gut to no effect (other than hurting his own hand). And yeah, Kintaros's reaction is to laugh it off.
  • Happened in Kamen Rider Kiva, with Dogga in his true form, attacks by most weaker Fangire would have this reaction.
  • This is the theme behind the Diamond Dopant in Kamen Rider Double, whose basically composed of indestructible diamond, Double normally has an Oh Crap reaction when his most powerful attacks don't even scratch him.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "The Last Day", Lister fires his bazookoid into Hudzen 10 at point-blank range: after a short pause, Hudzen just smirks and knocks him across the room.
  • In an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Buck faces a man who had all his pain nerves removed so he is an Implacable Man. Trope ensues.
  • Implied in Deadliest Warrior with the Spetsnaz.

Professional Sports

  • Athletes in combat sports such as boxing and Mixed Martial Arts sometimes offer free shots to their opponents to intimidate them. This is generally considered to be poor strategy, since even if the resulting blow doesn't do much damage, your opponent still gets points for free shots.
    • Unless your name is Ricardo Mayorga. (And as long as you're not fighting Tito Trinidad). He took those kinds of shots all time time over his career. Then Edison Miranda hilariously showed why you shouldn't do it (Mayorga notwithstanding). In his fight with Lucian Bute, he took a shot and put his hands on his hips, mugging for the crowd. Bute was not amused. Next punch he threw was a titanic right uppercut that knocked Miranda out. Hilarious.
    • Nate Campbell tried to pull this one too, and it turned into one of the ultimate What an Idiot! moments in boxing history. Campbel badly hurt his opponent Robbie Peden with a nasty body shot, and Peden spent the next 30 seconds or so frantically dodging Campbell while he tried to recover. Peden finally answered back with a punch and Campbell stood straight up, arms down at his sides, to give Peden another free shot. Peden missed a pair of jabs, and Campbell continued to stand there, wide open. Peden gave him a look as if to say "Ok, you asked for it", and knocked Campbell out with a single shot.
    • During K1 2001 World Grand Prix Mark Hunt and Ray Sefo showed what it looks like when both fighters use this strategy at the same time. Guess what country do they come from. Of course Foe Yay goes of the charts.
  • Muhammad Ali saying "That all you got, George?" in the eighth round of the Rumble in the Jungle, then proceeding to knock George Foreman out. In a later interview, Foreman said "When he said that, I was like 'yup, that's all I got.' I knew I was in trouble." This was where Ali famously used the Rope-a-dope strategy, a kind of one-man Defensive Feint Trap that suckered Foreman into using up all his energy, while Ali stayed relatively undamaged by using the slack of the ropes to dissipate the punches' power.

Video Games

  • Happens to the player in many games if it includes a Hopeless Boss Fight.
  • In Dragonball Z: Budokai, Hercule's "Present for You" attack begins with him punching his enemy... and doing zero damage. He then panics and offers them a video game (with a concealed bomb in it) as a peace offering. His throw also involves ineffectively punching his enemy rapidly, hopping back and then attempting to hit his enemy with a flying kick, only to be effortlessly swatted high offscreen... and then promptly falling on his enemy.
  • In Shenmue II, Ren attacks Dou Niu with a few kicks to the side, and Dou Niu then grabs Ren's leg with one hand. Ren then begins to punch Dou Niu in the chest, at which point Dou Niu grabs Ren by the neck with his other hand. Dou Niu never flinches though the whole thing.
  • Daigo's Team-Up assist in the Rival Schools games starts off with this. He dives down to protect his partner, while the opponent takes a few shots at him. Daigo absorbs the punches without so much as flinching before he responds with a Megaton Punch to the stunned opponent to finish it off.
  • In God Hand when Gene flashes back to his first meeting with Olivia and the Three Evil Stooges, he attempts to take on Bruce by punching him a number of times. They don't faze Bruce, and he proceeds to knock Gene to the ground while telling a joke.
  • In Halo 3, Sergeant Johnson confronts a Brute Chieftain, and punches him in the chest. The Brute doesn't even react, and then calmly knees him in the torso and hurls him off his feet.
  • In Street Fighter III, most fighters parry with outstretched limbs in various Ass Kicking Poses. Hugo, meanwhile, thrusts his pecs and abs. Q does the same thing, and dusts himself off afterwards.
  • Somewhat subverted in Super Punch Out for the SNES. The final boss, Nick Bruiser, lets you hit him and won't defend for a while (he doesn't flinches, but he actually suffers damage). Problem is, the more you hit him during that phase, the stronger he gets, which is no good when he starts moving. (You barely takes more than 10-15% of his life gauge during that, and should you unwisely hit him during that, he starts chopping 33% of your life with each blow, if he doesn't break both your arms first. To get anywhere near the record time in beating Nick, you need to take advantage of this to get your Super Punches as soon as possible. It merely involves punching him repeatedly to fill up your super meter, and then when he begins to retaliate (in anger as hinted above), knowing exactly when to hit him to stun him. Of course, when you stun him, you need to time your huge punches exactly right. He hits the mat crying like a little baby if done right.
  • Kazuma Kiryuu, of the Yakuza series, is frequently on the receiving end of Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh moments in a somewhat rare instance of the trope being invoked in favor of the player. In one cutscene in Yakuza 2, a thug smashes a wine bottle across the back of his head. Kazuma doesn't even flinch, and the thug looks very frightened in the few seconds before Kazuma turns around and hurls him over a railing. Even better, this can happen in gameplay too. With the right upgrades, when Kazuma is in HEAT mode, enemy attacks won't cause him to recoil or fall down.
  • A quite unnerving one occurs in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift where the final boss, after you have defeated him, comments that the fight was "a good warmup"... Yes, it's you, the player, who gets the "Uh-oh" line.
  • Most players expect only The Spiny to be invulnerable to stomping, for obvious reasons. Wigglers are one of the Mooks in the Marioverse that look particularly vulnerable to stomping, being just an oversized caterpillar. But they will instead shrug it off and literally Turn Red. Yes, even your reliable Goomba Stomp doesn't do anything.
  • Krusha in Donkey Kong Country laughs off almost any attack (every attack aside from barrels if he's gray. Kruncha from the second game responds to being jumped on or spun into by roaring, turning red, moving faster, and killing your character just from touching him.
  • A Good Bad Bug in City of Heroes would occasionally have a squad of mooks spawn after a mission who would chase the player down across the entire zone until the player left or they were defeated. The bug was that occasionally the spawned mob wouldn't be level-appropriate, as they were supposed to be, but level 1 or 2, even when the player would be at levels 20+. The programming for these mobs meant the "chase hero down and fight them" rule overruled the normal "avoid starting fights with players X-number of levels higher" rule, resulting in the hilarious sight of a squad of enemies earnestly blasting away with all their powers at a player who could just stand around and completely ignore them.
  • This trope sums up most of Norman Jayden's fight with Mad Jack in Heavy Rain. Jayden throws punches (and pieces of scrap metal!) left and right at him, but Mad Jack either dodges or lets them bounce off of him harmlessly. Note that this happens even if you time the button presses correctly.

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick
    • This happens to Miko Miyazaki when she attacks the Monster in the Darkness in strip #374, including the obligatory "That tickles!" Note that the Monster wasn't so much retaliating as wanting to play a game... specifically, "Who hits the lightest?" Means, its hit sends her flying whilst it held back as much as it could... She and her horse went through a brick wall and landed miles away. Unless you count her frustrated "Tickles!?", she never actually has time for an "uh oh". The Monster simply says "My turn first" and the hit comes while she is still talking to herself/her horse.
    • And again when Belkar and Haley encounter the Monster. Belkar attacks it with a flurry of stabs... and the Monster doesn't even notice Belkar attacking it. The two of them promptly decide to run away as fast as they possibly can.
    • And again in the arena fight between Roy and Thog. When Thog enters a rage and disarms Roy, Roy (while prone and extremely wounded) punches Thog a few times in an act of defiance. Thog doesn't even flinch, and catches Roy's third punch.
  • In Zebra Girl, the second time the protagonists meet Professor Broadshoulders, Jack punches him in the jaw. Broadshoulders responds with a stern glare, and Jack replies: "I'm sorry."
  • Happens to the title character in Nosfera here.
  • In Girl Genius, we have this. The one attacking is the larger one, though.
  • Flaky Pastry: A variation has Nitrine in her power armor throwing a couple of effective punches... until the power ran out in 30 seconds and the suit froze up. She turns it into a Chekhov's Gun later.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Iron Jane's first attack on Mr. Mighty turns into the Agony of the Feet; her next attempt fared no better.
  • Captain Gamer OOC makes use of this in Strip #4... until the camera pulls out to reveal that Guts Man only has a single point of energy left.
  • In Fite!, King Frogera unleashes a flurry of claw swipes on Lucco, then looks up to see that Lucco is now giant. Lucco then effortlessly picks King Frogera up and eats him.

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, Chaka, on her first day at Whateley Academy gets into it with Hippolyta, a six-foot tall amazon. Chaka lays the smackdown with a mammoth punch to Hippolyta's gut. Nothing. A little too late, Chaka realizes she's trying to punch someone who could probably stop a LAWS rocket with her abs.
  • Referenced in the That Guy With The Glasses Brawl, when Angry Joe tries punching Sean Fausz.

Western Animation

  • Happens to Daffy Duck on several Looney Tunes shorts.
  • Also occurs to Bugs Bunny in Bunny Hugged, where all his wrestling locks elicit from his opponent are some bemused yawns.
  • Riley does this to gargantuan implacable boy Butch Magnus Milosevic on The Boondocks. It doesn't work out for him at all.
  • Batman Beyond
    • Terry gets this treatment from his generation's equivalent of Bane.
    • Later, in "Out of the Past", he gets it once again from one of Ra's Al Ghul's henchmen while he isn't wearing the Batsuit. Then Bruce, younger thanks to a Lazarus Pit punches the guy with more success.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Before Terry, Bruce went through this while fighting one of Scarface's goons.
  • Frisky Dingo‍'‍s Killface actually exclaims, "Punch, punch, punch!" when attacking Antagone, and when he sees she isn't fazed at all he says, "Nothing?"
  • Donkey Kong suffered this in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon after having a curse placed on him that removed his strength. He went up against Krusha and rained a volley of punches onto the burly Kremling's stomach. Krusha's response was a sarcastic "Oooo, you're tickling me".
  • In one Freakazoid! episode, the eponymous hero throws himself at the villain Guitierrez and attempts to take him down then, after a few seconds of fruitless struggle, tries tickling him. Guitierrez doesn't even flinch. Finally, Freakazoid looks up at him and says "You're not liking any of this, are you?" just before the villain throws him away.
  • This happens in an episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars, albeit with a lightsaber instead of fists: Obi-Wan is fighting Durge, a giant alien bounty hunter, and manages to stab him in the chest. Durge looks down, begins to laugh, and proceeds to beat the crap out of Obi-Wan.
  • Justice League Unlimited
    • In the episode "Grudge Match", four of the DCAU's toughest heroines basically throw the kitchen sink at Wonder Woman, even pinning her down -- for about two seconds. She straightens up effortlessly, and everyone else is groaning after they land. Diana was tougher under mind control than she ever was in regular episodes -- possibly as a result of her holding back most of the time so as not to unintentionally kill someone.
    • Diana herself ends up getting the short end of the stick in a fist-fight with Mongul in "For the Man Who Has Everything". He barely registers her blows. She hurts her own hands. In all fairness, Mongul is supposed to be tougher and stronger than Superman.
    • This also happens to Downpour when he tries to punch Aquaman. Aquaman then easily smacks him down.
  • Teen Titans: Happens a couple times between Robin and Slade in Season 4, thanks to Slade's newfound demonic powers. Robin lays a series of hard punches and kicks to Slade, who just contorts back into an upright position and cracks his neck, completely unfazed. Cue Robin's Oh Crap expression.
  • ReBoot:
    • Subverted near the end of the third season finale when Matrix (Enzo) returns to Mainframe to free the system from Megabyte. After mocking the sprite and challanging him to "fight like a real sprite", Megabyte gives Matrix one free punch. Matrix sends the virus flying, and is suitably astonished at the dent in his chest.
    • Earlier played straight, when Bob tried to stall Gigabyte while Mainframe shut down. It didn't work out too well.
  • Any time Darkwing Duck tries to use his martial arts on a bigger and stronger opponent, it goes something like this. He never learns.
  • Wakfu
    • In episode 22 of season 1, at the start of the fight against Rubilax, it seems at first that Sadlygrove has the upper hand, raining blows on the Shushu. But Rubilax just laughs it off, complains that it tickles... before starting to grow and revealing that the harder he's hit, the bigger he gets.

Rubilax: Oh, yeah, it's always a bit surprising the first time.

    • In episode 9 of season 2, Sadlygrove punches Shushu General Anathar as hard as he can and realizes too late that Anathar had just copied Rubilax's power.
  • The Monarch invokes this trope in The Venture Brothers episode Showdown at Cremation Creek Part 2 when he attacks Klaus Nomi but fails due to his "plastic armor".
  • The Powerpuff Girls: For the most part of an episode, this happens repeatedly to the girls against a very Godzilla-esque monster, who just shrugs off all their attacks and systematically punts them into the ground. Until Bubble politely asks it to leave.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "To Steal an Ant-Man" has an unusual example in that not only is it a villain who's throwing the ineffectual punches, he's doing so against somebody smaller than him. Of course, the giant is just a random thug and the "smaller" guy is the still-huge and Nigh Invulnerable Luke Cage.

Real Life

  • Part of Harry Houdini's stage act, which eventually led to his appendix bursting and his death. Though it's a bit more complicated: Houdini was already in the early stages of appendicitis when he took the blow. He simply chalked the pain in his abdomen up to getting punched and didn't seek medical attention until it was too late.