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The Mookmobile is the standard craft designated for Mooks to drive around and get blown up in. May be equipped with basic armaments and little in terms of protection. The hero or heroes may trump them up for dramatic purposes, but when engaged in actual combat, the Mookmobile just doesn't live up to snuff. People may wonder if they're made out of cardboard and intentionally designed to kill the occupant inside without damage to the hero. But at least they're cheap to make!
Will usually be the opposite of a Cool Ship. When one these puts up a decent performance, it's probably because someone with actually decent piloting skill is behind the wheel, or perhaps the Inverse Ninja Law is in effect.
Anime and Manga
- Gundam has plenty of mook mobiles in all of its incarnations - the Zaku in in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the GINN in Gundam Seed and really just about any mobile suit that isn't a Gundam in the first season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Note that with most of these, they were state of the art and the most advanced weapons around when they were invented, but then somebody had to go and invent Gundams.
- Lesser model Knightmare Frames in Code Geass. Especially the Britannian Empire's poor, much-abused RPI-13 Sutherland.
- The Grappal from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Mauve Shirts Gimmy and Darry try their best to fight with them, but they can never live up to real Ganmen. Also a bit unusual in that they're hero Mook Mobiles.
- Of course, the Gunmen not operated by humans or Beastmen Generals quickly went from Monster of the Week to Mook Mobiles.
- The Brocken military mechs in Patlabor, hired as security forces for various unscrupulous corporations and usually destroyed en masse by the good guys. They're really no better or worse than any of the other mechs in the setting besides the cutting-edge Ingrams the heroes use, though.
- Though it wasn't always this way. In the original manga & the first OAV, the Brocken was a nearly unstoppable top of the line military machine that could take on the entire SVU with just one unit. In the TV series, however, Conservation of Ninjitsu set in & they were stuck playing backup dancer to ridiculous, gimmicky borderline-Super Robots like the Phantom. To their credit, they still vastly outperformed any civilian Labors & always managed to inflict impressive levels ofdamage on the Ingrams before finally being brought down.
- KLFs in Eureka Seven.
- Villain organizations in Marvel Comics such as Hydra, AIM, and the Secret Empire all drive around on various hovercrafts, only to get shot down en masse by the heroes.
- A car variation exists in Sin City in which bad guys often drive around in modern cars, which are shown to be ineffective against the vintage V8 engine-loaded cars the heroes usually have.
- Perhaps the Ur Example is the above mentioned TIE Fighter from Star Wars. Supposedly one of the "symbols of the Empire", the TIE Fighter is really only seen being successful during the first (er, fourth?) movie, during the famous Death Star trench run. Other than that, it exists solely to inflate Rogue Squadron's kill count. Two simple lasers, no shields, no air, and leaving the pilot completely screwed in the face of real competition, the TIE Fighter is always seen in pushover swarms.
- In Cars 2, the Mooks are the vehicles. Examples include Tyler Gremlin, Fred Pacer, Petrov Trunkov, and Alexander Hugo.
- In WWII films or shows, enemy aircraft tend to be portrayed like this. In Real Life, the Luftwaffe mainstays, the Bf-109 and FW-190, were heavily armed fighter aircraft that were among the most capable of their day, and the highest scoring fighter aces in history flew these two aircraft, many of them with over 100 kills. In TV and flim, they'll be armed with glorified BB guns and highly suggest that the Germans simply cannot build anything other than Cannon Fodder. Even documentaries do this.
- If it's set in the Cold War, expect Russian MiGs to exhibit the flying and combat qualities of a poorly-thrown brick. Yes, even in documentaries, although it was Averted on History Channel's Dogfights series.
- You'll frequently see the same thing happen to their tanks.
- A much better comparison is with the Japanese Zero (which did inspire the TIE fighter's speed and fragility versus the lumbering Allied / Rebel fighters in Star Wars - George Lucas originally patched in footage from Pacific front war movies and told the effects people to replicate those shots with their models). The Zero's lack of armour and re-sealable fuel tanks was partly an exercise in the Japanese attitude towards their pilots and partly a calculated decision that maneouvrability was more important than durability. The outcome? Experienced Japanese fighter jocks could do marvels in a Zero, but the moment they got unlucky (and all pilots get unlucky sometimes) they were toast. By the end of the war the Japanese had virtually run out of experienced pilots and to green, partially trained pilots the Zero was a deathtrap.
- Another issue is that in the early war, the Zeroes had decisive edges in every aspect of performance but durability against American fighters. They could literally fly rings around them. However, when better American aircraft like the F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair showed up, they were much faster than the Zero due to having more powerful engines, and instead of trying to beat the Zero in a turning battle (which they would always lose because the Zero was more agile), they would make slashing passes, flying at the Zeroes faster than the Japanese planes could possibly go, shooting them down, and zipping away.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek has several craft that could qualify, especially smaller craft - the Klingon Bird of Prey, the Dominion Fighter, and the Maquis Raider pretty much embody this trope.
- The Cylon fighters in the original 1970's Battlestar Galactica. The ships weren't very maneuverable compared to the Colonial Vipers, and it didn't help that the Centurions were such poor pilots.
- Goa'uld death gliders in the Stargate Verse. In the movie and the first half of Stargate SG-1, they subverted the trope in that they were a serious threat to ground-bound SG teams (never mind bystanders), against which the only defense (other than running away) was a shoulder-fired missile or grenade launcher (not exactly something they carry around at all times). Once it entered service, the Tau'ri F-302 quickly proved itself far superior to the glider, which was built in line with the typical Goa'uld design philosophy.
- Sometimes used in the X Wing Series, as you see from the page quote, but also sometimes averted. Not having shields or a hyperdrive makes a TIE fighter, or its leaner, meaner, but also unshielded and hyperdrive-less cousin the TIE Interceptor, considerably faster and more agile than any X-Wing. The Rebellion/New Republic built the A-Wing in response, which performs like a TIE Interceptor with (weak) shields, but is extremely unreliable and difficult to control, so instead of one mistake causing a blaster bolt to punch through your unshielded hull, one mistake causes you to spin helplessly out of control while TI Es skeet shoot you out of the sky.
- TIE-line fighters are really only mook mobiles when flown by Mooks. They're pretty dangerous when flown by people who aren't Red Shirts of either side. The books make it clear that the major problem for TIE pilots is getting experience: make one mistake when they're still New Meat and they're dead, while newbie republic pilots get more margin to learn from errors.
- It seems that the Empire was starting to realise this was a problem by the time of the films; the X-Wing was originally slated to enter Imperial service before the Rebels made off with the blueprints, several prototypes and most of the design staff. The TIE Defender also addressed these concerns and was arguably superior to the X-Wing, but its high per-unit cost and the political chaos after the death of the Emperor relegated it to Super Prototype status.
- A staple trope of video games, especially simulator games, though they really become just more of a Mook in themselves at that point.
- The hovering Pig Mask Army transports in Mother 3.
- In certain situations, the Ghost, the Chopper, and the Banshee of Halo. If you're on foot with only an assault rifle, they can be deadly (especially in the first game, with no boarding). But once you get a vehicle of your own, they're doomed by Artificial Stupidity. Standout examples are a level in Halo 2 where you take a tank down a highway and destroy about 20 Ghosts in a row, Tsavo Highway in Halo 3 where you take on almost two dozen Choppers around a highway overpass, and the air battle in the Covenant where you in a Hornet can single-handedly destroy a swarm of Banshees with ease.
- The PVF Anubis from the first Free Space game is one of the most pathetic space sim fighters of all time. Paper thin armor, no afterburners (making it so slow it can easily be run down by a GTF Hercules), crappy guns, and general inadequacy make the Anubis totally outmatched against any Terran or Shivan fighter.