Super Fly Reflexes

A staple of action and superhero movies, Super Fly Reflexes are showcased when a character grabs a fly or other flying insect with his bare hands. Usually this is to show how Badass or well trained a character is. If done with chopsticks, it's an Improbable Chopsticks Skill.



  • In The Whole Nine Yards, Jimmy "the Tulip" Tudeski does this as a first sign of his former job as a contract killer. He even puts the fly in his mouth, too.
  • In The Amazing Spiderman, a newly spider-bitten Peter Parker naturally catches a fly between two fingers.
  • Subverted and then played straight in the original The Karate Kid (1984). Mr. Miyagi has been attempting to catch flies with chopsticks for years and Daniel succeeds on the first try through luck.
  • In The Karate Kid (2010) Reboot, Jackie Chan parodies the original; Chan follows a fly in front of him with the chopsticks - only to hit it with a fly swatter he's holding in his other hand.
  • Also parodied in They Call Me Bruce when Bruce slices at a fly with a samurai sword, only to miss (because he's not the martial arts expert he's pretending to be). Bruce then claims that the fly "will make love no longer".
  • In Home on the Range, Rico catches a fly with his hand and shushes it. The fly apologizes.
  • In the film of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ron comments that Cormac McLaggen has a build more suited to a Beater than a Keeper, saying that Keepers must be quick and speedy and have good reflexes. Cormac catches a fly between two fingers and says he thinks he'll be fine.
  • In a scene in The Magnificent Seven Lee's sitting at a table wrestling with his personal demons. Three flies appear by his cup, his hand flashes out and...
    Lee: [sighs] One... Time was when I would have got all three.
  • In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn shows off his Jedi reflexes by catching Jar-Jar Binks' tongue with his fingers, as Jar-Jar tries to steal the Skywalkers' last apple frog-style.
  • In Get Smart, Agent 23 makes his Big Entrance by smashing a fly and flicking it into the trash. It turns out to have been a Literal Surveillance Bug, much to the annoyance of its makers.
  • The example from The Karate Kid is parodied in Balls of Fury, where the protagonist's Old Master opens his cricket box, and the guy grabs the cricket. The master rebukes him and tells him that wasn't the intention. Unfortunately, the master's lucky cricket is now crushed.

Live-Action TV
  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond witnesses one of Robert's brief love interests catch a fly in midair between her two hands, and shortly after eat it. He humorously plays The Cassandra in trying to warn Robert about this freaky quirk. While not a woman of super powers per se, we later find out that she rather strangely associates herself with frogs and thus shares their fly-consuming behavior.
  • Happy Days: Fonzie's cousin does this, establishing his superior reflexes even as he is despondent that there is nothing special about him. He goes on to set a world record for catching quarters flipped off his own elbow.

  • Donald Keith's Mutiny in the Time Machine (1962). The villain Peters (AKA The Widgett) has an ability called "nerve speed" that allows him to move faster than normal human beings. He demonstrates it by grabbing a fly out of the air.
  • A variant appears in the Mobile Suit Gundam novelization. One of the tests the Flanagan Institute puts Lalah through is using her Psychic Powers to telepathically control a set of robotic arms and catch flies with them. She has no problem catching the flies, but doing it with enough finesse to avoid crushing them takes longer.

  • Depending on the production, this is often done by Renfield in Dracula films and plays. He catches flies and eats them, or else he feeds them to spiders—then eats the spiders.

Western Animation
  • Ĉon Flux has the main character do this with her eyelashes in the opening credits. The movie steals this straight out of the original cartoon. The idea was to show off how much control the heroine has over her body.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Arnold's grandma starts teaching him martial arts and demonstrates her ability to catch a fly unharmed with her hand. When he tries it himself, he accidentally crushes the fly.

Real Life