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One character is on the run from another, generally the good guy from the bad guy. The pursuer has some sort of clairvoyance, super-powers or near-omnipresent surveillance capabilities; this (or a near-identical phrase) is said to the quarry as some kind of intimidation. Of course, the bad guy could lack such super-detecting powers, and merely using this phrase to try to scare his prey out into the open. (The fact that this so often works is either a sad testament to the supremacy of fear over logic, or else evidence of who is carrying the Idiot Ball today.)
The inversion-- "you can hide, but you can't run!"-- shows up so frequently that it's almost a separate phrase in itself. This most often appears in super-power examples, where the quarry is far outclassed in a straight fight and literally could not run away fast enough if he were to be spotted.
Add points if it has Nowhere To Run as the sound track for the upcoming chase.
See also You Will Not Evade Me, where you might as well not even bother trying to run, let alone hide.
Anime and Manga
- Voltron: "You can hide, but I'll find ya!"
- Shampoo in Ranma ½: "You can run, but you can no hide!"
- Also Kuno in a mid-series story. After somehow acquiring a massive powerup that lets him defeat Ranma easily, and a Laser-Guided Amnesia that erased his chivalrous attitude and gave him a more aggressive personality, he traps the female Ranma alone on a deserted island. His delivery of the line isn't Black Comedy Rape as much as it is Values Dissonance, with a Attempted Rape.
- Transformers Cybertron: Jetfire says this while chasing Thundercracker, then adds "Actually, you can't even run!" Cue Thundercracker getting his afterburners kicked for the umpteenth time. Amusing Injuries ensue.
- The Warriors did it with Nowhere To Run for sound.
- Jester says this to Maverick in Top Gun during a dogfight scene.
- Liar Liar
- Used in the trailer of Thomas And The Magic Railroad, by the Big Bad Diesel 10.
Live Action TV
- Used by Ivan Ooze around the climax of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
- Surreal British sitcom mr don and mr george has an episode entitled "You Can Run, But You Can't Hide Your Legs". The line is used in the episode during a discussion about hiding in a cardboard box. The inverse - "You can hide your legs, but you can't run" - is also used.
- A song by Matchbook Romance from the album "Voices," played completely straight. It is noticeably creepy.
- Metal Gear Solid
- Resident Evil 5. Wesker puts ham into all his dialogue, including his "You can't hide FOREVER!"
- He never says it (in fact, he can't say anything but "STARS."), but the Nemesis in the third game embodies it as the only monster in the series that will follow you from room to room, until you reach a save room... and then he just waits outside for you to come out.
- The Flavor Text for the Boots of Speed in Baldur's Gate uses the inversion: apparently the boots were originally owned by an assassin, who was rather fond of spouting the line as he ran down his quarry before they could actually get to the hiding part.
- A heroic example can occur in the Super Nintendo version of Star Fox when Falco shoots down an enemy fighter, taunting the Venom forces with this line.
- Halo: "Hiding will not save you", or "You think you can hide from me?"
- Used now and then in Survival of the Fittest, often explicitely. For example, Paris Persphone (sic), being haunted by hallucinations of his victims, hears one of the ghosts call this after him. Another statement with the same intent:
Franco Sebberts: I know you're in here! Might as well come out and spare me the trouble of hunting you down like animals!
- Invader Zim: "You can hide, Zim, but you can't... hide!"
- The Simpsons - Homer went for the pun in an Imagine Spot.
Homer (hang-gliding through a wartorn city and shooting people randomly): You can run, but you can't glide!
- Transformers Animated: Bumblebee, being the team speedster, goes for the inversion against Lockdown. "You can hide, but you can't run!" As it turns out, Lockdown doesn't have to do either.
- Wallace and Gromit: Curse of The Were-Rabbit
Victor: You can hop, but you can't hide, Pesto!
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers "You can run, but you can't hide...not from Captain Pollution!"
- Ur-Example: This phrase is said to have been originally coined by the boxer Joe Louis, who stated, "He can run, but he can't hide," in response to hearing that an opponent would attempt to use hit-and-run tactics against him. The opponent was light-heavyweight champion Billy Conn. Louis was right: Conn used his quickness to outpoint Louis for 12 rounds, only to get knocked out in the 13th.
- A variation frequently attributed to snipers is "You can run, but you'll just die tired."