When a character is tied to a chair, bench, stool or other sitting device, they usually try to pick their handcuffs, rub their ropes against a Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing, or some other action that affects their bindings. Not so with the Bench Breaker; the character manages to break free by destroying whatever they are tied to. This is not simply Breaking the Bonds - it usually is done by a normal human who is desperate enough to ram themselves into a wall just to damage the chair, or nearly break a limb leveraging it.
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Anime And Manga
- Black Widow of The Avengers does a flip while tied to a chair, shattering it on impact and freeing herself. And then she uses bits of the chair as weapons.
- In Charlie's Angels, Dylan breaks her chair with a flip, similar to the The Avengers example, although her hands stay tied after the chair is broken.
- Lennie Pike from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World breaks the chair that he was tied to after breaking himself free from the pillar and duct tape that the gas station attendants tried tying him up to.
- Twice in The Boondock Saints. Connor, handcuffed to a toilet while his brother Murphy is being taken out back to be shot by two goons from The Mafiya, smashes himself screaming against the toilet trying to break it apart before he finally just rips it up from the floor. Before he drops the toilet off the roof onto the Russians.
- Later in the film, both brothers have to help each other escape from being handcuffed to chairs. While this involves one brother kicking the other brother's hand to break his thumb, it is relatively tame compared to the toilet scene.
- Red 2. Frank Moss is being interrogated by US officials while handcuffed to a desk. Then a hit team bursts into the building killing everyone. Frank convinces an agent to uncuff him, but too late as the hitmen burst in and shoot him, catching Frank helpless...until he breaks the desk with his head and uses the pieces to knock out the hitmen.
- Later in the movie, Frank handcuffs Han to a refrigerator. When police show up to arrest him, Han rips the door off and uses the pieces to etc.
- A flashback in Unknown (2006) reveals how one of the characters frees himself from the chair he was tied to by breaking the chairback.
- In The Last Knight, Sir Michael is chained to a bed by a captor and spends most of his time kicking the bedpost to try to detach it from the bed. He succeeds just in time to aid Fisk in rescuing him.
- Stephen King's short story The Gingerbread Girl, from the collection Just After Sunset, features a version of this. The protagonist is duck taped to a chair by a psycho who will return in a little while to kill her. She's unable to get free of the tape, so she ends up breaking the chair instead to free herself. This later comes in handy when the psycho returns, as she's able to use the splintered remains of the chair to fight him off.
- In Dean Koontz's Intensity, the protagonist escapes her captor by ramming a wall with the chair she is tied to and splintering it. She injures herself in the process.
Live Action TV
- In 24, Jack Bauer escapes by smashing his chair and attacking his captor.
- In the episode of Burn Notice where Fiona gets abducted, she breaks the arms of the chair she's handcuffed to so that she can move around the room freely.
- Hawaii Five-0: When Danny is tied to a chair by gangsters, he manages to escape by ramming himself into the wall to break the chair and subsequently fighting and shooting his way out.
- From time to time in The Incredible Hulk TV series David Banner would get tied to a chair, only for him to Hulk Out; so Hulk breaks the chair.
- Doreau does this accidentally in the Sledge Hammer! episode "Wild About Hammer". The villain for that episode ties her to a chair. Sledge manages to untie her ankles from the chair before he's attacked. While those two are fighting, Doreau manges manages to stand herself up on her now freed legs, only to trip, fall over backwards, break the chair, and free herself from the rest of the rope.
- In The Avengers, Mrs Peel gets handcuffed to a wooden chair. When the time comes, she swiftly breaks the chair and beats up the baddies with the sticks. At the end of the episode, as they stroll off across a golf course, Steed asks her what her handicap is. She shows him the chunk of wood still cuffed to one of her wrists.
- The Prisoner episode "The Girl Who Was Death" had him tied to a chair inside a missile set to launch and destroy London - he struggles against the rope for some time before he realizes he can just pull the back of the chair up and off, freeing himself.
- On Chuck, whenever Casey gets handcuffed to a piece of furniture, he ends up breaking it and using the attached pieces as a melee weapon.
- Glen does this in one episode of The Walking Dead after being locked in a room with a zombie.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- In "Gingerbread" the residents of Sunnydale fall under the influence of a demon and try to burn Buffy and Willow at the stake. Buffy is bound so tightly she can't snap the ropes even with her Super Strength. When the demon attacks her, she breaks the stake and leans forward, impaling it on the tip.
- In "Never Leave Me" after Spike is revealed to be a Manchurian Agent, Buffy ties him to a chair until she can figure out what to do. Spike even tells her to tighten the bonds. When he's activated however, he breaks the chair in berserker fury and attacks Andrew, forcing Buffy to chain him up in the basement next time.
- In the intro scenes of Batman: Arkham City, Bruce Wayne rocks back and forth in a chair he's been tied to, and then escapes from his bonds once he (and it) topples to the ground.
- Max Payne waits until Frankie "The Bat" Niagara is out of the room, before falling backwards on his chair in order to break it and set himself free.