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Rock: Revy, you barely know him. How can you--

Revy: No problem. Once the fighting begins, our instincts will take over and that’ll be it. No preparation necessary. It’s just how we’re made.

Sometimes preceded by a Face, Nod, Action, badass instincts requires two badasses to cooperate perfectly without a plan or full communication. They are not a Hive Mind and they can’t read each other’s minds. They are just that badass. To be invoked it must be made obvious that there is no way that the characters involved would have the opportunity to devise a plan for the situation but come out on top despite this due to perfect cooperation. In order for Back-to-Back Badasses to qualify there must be significant interaction between the two like using the partner as a weapon or jumping platform without requesting any assistance.

Can result in Back-to-Back Badasses or result from a Battle Couple being that in tune with one another. Related to Crazy Awesome and Strange Minds Think Alike.



  • Gurren Lagann This seems to be how the two cockpits for the titlular mecha function. A screen was placed inside so that they could see and communicate, but most fights are so hectic it's unlikely they can (or even wanted to) form a plan. And their mecha is the one that ends up with the highest kill count at the end of every episode...
  • Gunsmith Cats: Minnie May’s escape from Radinov’s car. The titular pair practiced syncing up head nods to music at the beginning of the episode. Other uses for synchronized head moving is an infallible escape timer which was communicated with flashing high beams in time to the music which cued May to use the hidden explosives that Radinov must have missed in the frisking to frame the rear window without Radinov noticing and at the climax of the song blow up the window and jump out and onto Rally’s waiting car hood through gunfire “while running a red light and speeding!”
  • Black Lagoon: The quote above comes from when Ginji and Revy assault a bowling alley filled with armed thugs. The relationship between Ginji and Revy could be described as strained at best and further hampered by a complete Language Barrier that prevents any planning. Despite this they cover each other on multiple instances in the following fight instinctively. This cooperation is possible because, as Revy puts it, both she and Ginji are just that Badass. Revy also does this with Mr. Chang which makes more sense as he trained her.
  • Eureka Seven: When Eureka and Renton pilot their side by side mech they are able to move it without any communication between due to the power of love.


  • In the crossover fanfic Renegade, Garrus and Admiral Havoc both come up with a plan to raid a mercenary group's hideout by essentially busting down the front door and charging in with a few dozen troops and kill everything in sight. Shepard convinces them to back down and keep the troops in reserve, and instead leads an infiltration team inside the building. Then Zaeed Massani shows up and does the exact same thing Garrus and Havoc were planning, except in this case he's doing it by himself with a Mini-Mecha.

TV Live Action

  • One Star Trek: The Next Generation episode involved the bridge crew of the Enterprise working together to trap an alien who appeared on the bridge without the crew communicating with each other. Captain Picard mentions to the alien that the crew knew what he would order without him having to do so because of their good working relationship.
  • Justified in Dollhouse where this is made possible thanks to the 'groupthink' program.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Midway", Ronon meets THE original Proud Warrior Race Guy, Teal'c. The two spend the first third of episode giving each other the hairy eyeball and smacking each other around. When they reach the titular space station, they run afoul of a Wraith invasion force working it's way to Earth. Without any possible warning or planning, the two of them start kicking shit out of the Wraith, climaxing with them halting their invasion of the SGC.


  • Rush Hour 3 does this during the Hospital shootout Lee gives Carter an empty gun without realizing it and decides the best way to load Carter’s gun would be to grab the magazine, slide toward Carter on a mail cart and push the magazine into Carter’s gun so he can use it. Also, immediately afterword, when interrogating the french asian, Carter asks Lee for his gun and attempts to execute the man only to find there are, again, no bullets in it. This luckily leads to their captive taking them seriously when they threaten to kill him a second time so he reveals a key piece of information.
  • The Other Guys do this in the office scene after all the guns are drawn, detective Gamble throws a stack of paper into the air and Hoitz engages the attackers despite how this contradicts the initial plan to be discreet.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith demonstrate this for the entire final act of the movie. One particularly outrageous example is when Mr. Smith fires a shotgun that is still slung across Mrs. Smith’s back.
  • The Boondock Saints and the sequel All Saints Day displays on multiple occasions that the lead pair specifically rely on this in combat. Specifically their responses when attacked by Ma II, or when they fell through the air duct are generally played out symmetrically.
  • At the end of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Jack and Will display this, particularly during the rescue where the two work in perfect harmony to take out the soldiers without having had any time to plan whatsoever.

Video Games

  • The plan in Call of Duty: Black Ops at the beginning of the level “rat tunnels” certainly qualifies. When the player and their companion is being forced to play Russian roulette and it is their turn the ally gives a verbal equivalent of the head nod, “This time, this time.” and the player follows it up with saying “6 and 8 o’clock.” What follows after this is a complex process of gun stealing, human shields and action diving that results in the majority of the other people in the room getting killed.
  • Justified in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, where the Rat Patrol's nanomachines let each member of the squad see and hear what each other member is seeing and hearing. This allows them to pull off maneuvers with ridiculous precision and coordination.
    • And then it's played completely straight when Meryl teams up with Johnny Sasaki who doesn't have nanomachines.
  • Two words: Mario Brothers. Do they have a plan? Not really. Do they still manage to beat up anything in their path? You bet.

Web Original

  • The two badasses in Haloid take this Up to Eleven and then full circle and becomes plausible all over again.

Real Life

  • Real Life: Professional Wrestling matches are usually performed on the fly - the opening, ending, and a few high spots are planned but the rest is done spur-of-the-moment as it feels best to the wrestlers involved.
  • CQB training ingrains a specific response for every possible situation which allows all members of the team to know exactly what everyone else is doing. Of course, this may instead be better filed under Crazy Prepared.
  • This video starting at around 2:00 in.
  • An efficient military system is like this. If each unit commander knows his mission and can be trusted to carry it out both loyally and competently the operation has more chance. In the German army for instance, it used to be traditional to give the commander of a column a "mission order" telling his objective, and then make no further interference, other then occasional progress reports, until the mission is fulfilled, aborted, or changed.
    • There is a movement in the United States Armed Forces, originating from the Marine Corps to introduce "Strategic Corporals". In other words, much like the German army above, the thought is that in a world of increasingly unconventional warfare, you need even your lowest ranked grunts to be able to work independently on their own and with each other in situations we calling up the cavalry on the horn may not be possible or feasible.
      • The Canadians' ballsy victory at Vimy Ridge was based on this trope in action.
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