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"You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til ya understand who's in ruttin' command here!"
Jayne, Firefly

Sometimes the chain is all you need for a weapon, without the weight at the end. It's used much the same way as a whip or rope, and, in less realistic works, skilled users can make Instant Knots with it. The length may vary as appropriate.

A Badass Biker will often do this in a rumble. Also very common in 80s movies with street gangs and among fictional Japanese delinquents. Chained by Fashion is when a character wears the chains as an accessory. See also Epic Flail and Fighting with Chucks for other weapons that have chains as an important component.

Sub-Trope of Improvised Weapon.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In the original Ghost Rider comics, a magical flaming chain manifests when Johnny Blaze or Dan Ketch transform into Ghost Rider.
  • Spawn has chains that pop out of his cloak and are under his control; most often seen in the HBO Animated Series.
  • Freddy gets whipped and choked with a chain in Paranoid.
  • A memorably bloody sequence in Dreadstar: after Vanth Dreadstar finally faces and defeats the enemy who was responsible for (among many other things) the murder of Vanth's wife and their entire community, he puts away his sword—too clean and painless—and instead beats the man to death with a length of chain.
  • Lobo's signature weapon is a hook on a chain.
  • Hardcore, one of Luke Cage's enemies from the nineties, wielded manrikisas - chains with weights on the ends.

  • Dim's favourite weapon in A Clockwork Orange.
  • Happens in the Ghost Rider movie, with emphasis on 'improvised' as this was the same chain one of the demons tried to kill him with at first.
  • In Mystery Men, one of the disco gang has a chain for a weapon. Mr. Furious hangs a lampshade on this when he asks why it isn't at least a gold chain.
  • The killer in the Slasher Movie Chain Letter uses chains to kill people.
  • A witch and alleged serial killer is beaten to death with chains by an angry mob in Don't Torture a Duckling.
  • Speed Demon has a character be hanged by a telepathically controlled chain.
  • Michael bludgeons one of the guards escorting him with his shackles in the theatrical cut of the Halloween (2007) remake.
  • Leia uses the chain of her Slave Collar to strangle Jabba the Hutt to death in Return of the Jedi.
  • Friday the 13th
    • Ali in Friday the 13th Part III uses a chain that hangs around his neck as a weapon.
    • Jason X has Jason use chains to hang one guard, and snap the neck of another.
  • Hellraiser has a variation of this, prehensile chains with barbed hooks come out of the Lament Configuration and snag people.
  • The conductor in Train is hung with a chain.
  • In the Gods vs Titans fight in Immortals, Zeus beats the tar out of the Titans with a chain that he snagged from their cage.
  • Riggs tries to use one of these against Wah Sing Ku in Lethal Weapon 4 after trying to kill him with a forklift. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • In Ong Bak 2, after being held by chains between two mooks, Tien takes the chains away from them, whipping many more mooks in the process, then wrapping the chains about his fists and forearms to make pra jiad or forearm wraps out of them.
  • During the final battle in The Expendables 2, Vilain picks up a knife as the fight against Barney Ross escalates. Ross then picks up a chain and proceeds to kick Vilain's ass with it.
  • In Cutthroat Island, one of Dawg's men has a chain in the place of his hand. It proves to be his undoing, as he misses one of the heroes with it, and is taken to the depths with the anchor that it got tangled with.
  • Towards the end of Breakdown, the villain tries to use a length of chain as a weapon. It almost works, but ultimately backfires on him.
  • Alice uses a bike chain with heavy padlock to good effect against Japanese zombies in Resident Evil: Retribution.
  • Mad Max: a member of the biker gang tries to stop Jessie's car by smashing the window with a chain he's holding. Unfortunately the chain catches on the speeding vehicle and...
    Toecutter: That there is Cundalini, and Cundalini wants his hand back.
  • In Think Big, two mooks actually get into an argument on who gets to use a piece of chain against on one of the main characters.
  • John McClane does this on Targo in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
  • A chain is one of Shack's weapons of choice in Emperor of the North Pole. He mostly uses it offensively like a flail, but at one point uses it defensively to stop a blow from an ax.
  • In Moonraker, Holly Goodhead wraps a chain around her fist and punches Jaws in the gut. He No Sells it.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has Colonel Vogel use chains against Indy during the tank fight.
  • In Julia X, The Stranger's preferred weapon is a length of chain: either swung as a flail, or wrapped around his hand as brass knuckles.
  • In The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case, the killer hits Dr. Ordway over the head with a chain and knocks him out in the abandoned nightclub

  • In the book of A Clockwork Orange, Dim, one of Alex's droogs has the "oozy" (from the Russian word for snake, no connection to Israeli submachine guns) as his weapon of choice. He uses it surprisingly effectively.
  • Jason garrotes a guy with a motorcycle chain in Friday the 13th: Hell Lake.
  • A character gets his arm ripped off by a chain in Final Destination: End of the Line.
  • In The Dresden Files, Elaine uses a couple of fine chains as foci for her magic. Ordinarily it appears to be a decorative chain belt, but once she straightens it out it functions like a wizard's staff.
    • Grevane the Kemmlerite uses a weighted chain as his sidearm of choice. Ramirez winces when he hears it, claiming that anyone who carries a kusari like they know how to use it is going to be a seriously tough customer.
  • Redwall has several instances of freed prisoners who used their broken chains as weapons against their former captors.
  • In the Dred Chronicles, chains are the protagonist's signature weapon. When she's not fighting with them, she has them wrapped around her arms, treating them almost as a sort of fashion statement. It's thematically appropriate for a gang boss on a Prison Ship.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mentioned in Firefly. See the quote up above.
  • The leader of a cult-like group of homeless children in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit used a chain to murder several people he stated had "disrespected" him.
  • On an episode of CSI, a chain was one of the weapons used to kill an undercover cop who had infiltrated a biker gang.
  • Occurs throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though there chains are usually just used for choking and/or neck breaking.
  • Kamen Rider Wizard's Bind spell usually takes the form of chains appearing out of magic portals. In The Movie, Haruto gets knocked off a building and saves himself by casting Bind and using the chains to catch him in mid-air.
  • Game of Thrones: Jorah and Tyrion have been Made a Slave, and are collared and chained accordingly. As Jorah is sold on the auction block for the Gladiator Games, Tyrion appeals to his buyer to take him as well, claiming to be a great fighter also. As Tyrion is a dwarf, everyone just laughs, so Tyrion yanks the slaver holding his chain off his feet, then beats him with his own chain until he's pleading for mercy. The buyer decides that's Actually Pretty Funny and buys Tryion as well.
  • Arrow: After Oliver escapes from being imprisoned in the Season One finale, he uses the chains (which are still cuffed to his wrists) to take out two guards.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has minor Season 3 antagonist James AKA Hellfire, who has the ability to make anything he touches combustible, take up a chain as his Weapon of Choice, in a Mythology Gag to Ghost Rider. Unfortunately for James, when he returns in Season 4, Ghost Rider himself has joined the cast, and he takes the chain from James, apparently impressed enough with the technique to pick it up himself.
  • Improvised by John Reese in the Person of Interest Season 5 premiere. Injured and on the run from Samaritan with The Machine in tow, Reese runs out of ammo shortly after shooting out a padlock and chain holding a gate closed. Two Samaritan agents confront him, and he uses the chain to strangle one and deliver a beatdown on the other.
  • Heard over the radio during the opening of Adam 12, gangs are fighting using "chains and knives."

    Other Sites 

  • In Interstitial Actual Play, Criss can use his magic to manipulate his chain wallet of varying length and use it as either a weapon or a grappling method.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Many wrestlers were known to bring chains to the ring with them.
  • One of the many specialty matches in wrestling is the Russian chain matches, where the two combatants are connected at the wrist by a 10-foot chain. When the chain is attached to their necks, it's called a Dog Collar match.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The spiked chain is a weapon option in Dungeons & Dragons and derived games (including Pathfinder). Because of the way the tripping and attack of opportunity rules worked, and because the chain could threaten every square it reached, a properly-built spiked chain fighter was often a Game-Breaker (unless you tricked them into backing off a cliff).
  • There is also a fighting chain, and its artifact version the dire chain, in Exalted.
  • Occasionally seen in Magic: The Gathering. Chainflinger is a good example.
  • Mech-sized "chain whips" exist in BattleTech. As dedicated BattleMech melee weapons go, they do relatively little damage, but have the fairly unique ability to momentarily entangle another 'Mech's limbs if they hit them, potentially tripping the target or keeping it from moving away from the attacker for a turn or two. They're acknowledged as Awesome, but Impractical in-universe, since like most melee weapons they were designed for use in gladiator games where wowing the crowd with flashy moves to generate ticket sales is more important than efficiency.

  • Some productions of A Christmas Carol, particularly the Alan Menken musical version, have Jacob Marley and the other chained souls tie Scrooge up, strangle him with the chains, or let him see firsthand how heavy they are to emphasize their points.


     Video Games 
  • One can make a reasonable assumption that any game where the hero mainly fights with a whip (such as La-Mulana or any Castlevania starring a Belmont) will inevitably have an upgraded version of the whip made of chain. And sometimes that can be upgraded even further into an Epic Flail.
  • Fire Emblem: the General class in the GBA games have chains attached to their lances and axes.
  • Igniz in The King of Fighters 2001 uses this as a weapon. And it hurts.
  • Of the many ridiculous weapons in Exit Fate, this is one of the few that can actually do serious damage. It's wielded by Outsider, a mercenary who's essentially a Disc-One Nuke if you can afford his asking price.
  • One of the biker gangs in Full Throttle uses chains as their signature weapon. Ben can acquire one after defeating them.
  • Chains are a staple weapon in the Kunio-kun series (especially River City Ransom, which lets you and the mooks use bicycle chains as whip-like weapons). The GBA remake added a double-length chain that was so unfairly fast and powerful that using it actually hurt your Karma Meter.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, Jack Burston, one of the game's three punks, fights with a big chain in one-on-one duels.
  • The Road Rash games have the top AI bikers wielding chains as weapons. The player can steal a chain and wield it himself.
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, bikers use chains as their main weapons, as do non-union workers.
  • Ghost Rider again. This time in Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
  • The Ninjakari guild in Lusternia: stealthy, potentially psionic assassins... whose weapon of choice is enormous bladed chains.
  • Though she has absolutely nothing to do with biking of any kind, Eileen can use a length of chain in Silent Hill 4. It's her second most powerful melee weapon, and the best overall.
  • In League of Legends the wraith Thresh the Chain Warden has two sets: one with a sickle attached he uses to bind and beat enemies, and one with a lantern he uses to protect allies. And steal souls.
  • Wire Sponge from Mega Man X2 uses the Strike Chain as his weapon. He also spins it to deflect stuff. When X obtains his weapon, he can use it as an improvised grappling hook.
  • As said above, in the Super Robot Wars games that utilize the Mazinkaiser OVA (games like W and Judgment, that is.), Boss Borot has a chain weapon.
  • Birdie from Street Fighter Alpha uses a long chain attacked to his handcuff-like bracelets to wrap around his enemies' necks and slam them all over the place.
  • Delsin Rowe of Infamous Second Son uses a chain wrapped around his wrist as his melee weapon. Depending on what power he's currently using, it can either manifest as a whip or even a Laser Blade.
  • One of Scharlachrot's primary weapons in Arcana Heart 3.
  • The Biker DLC for PAYDAY 2 includes a chain whip.
  • The Abomination, a hero in Darkest Dungeon, whips the long and heavy chains he's been shackled with around as his main attack when he's in human form. It deals decent damage and is liable to stun the target.
  • Gun from Verdict: Guilty! breaks out of prison with manacles attached to his arms, and can use them as weapons.
  • Death in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin will use chains to ensnare the characters while he performs a One-Hit Kill if you can't escape quickly.
  • Eraqus from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a Keyblade Master who possesses a chain-based motif to his magic, able to summon chains made of light both as an attack and as a means of restraining his foes. This is implied less to be his own ability than it is of his own distinct keyblade, as Aqua manages to use these chains when she takes Eraqus' recently-ownerless keyblade as her own.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Rider uses a chain with a pair of nails attached at the ends.
    • One of Gilgamesh's many weapons is Enkidu, the Chain of Heaven, a chain used to capture and restrain enemies. Notably, it grows stronger when used against divine beings, so while it's just a chain to normal enemies it's nigh-unbreakable when restraining a demigod-type Servant. Rather than hold it and use it like a lasso as Rider does, Gilgamesh prefers to simply launch segments of it out of the portals of his Hyperspace Arsenal.
  • Getting strangled by magical chains summoned by Lumen practitioners is of the many ways by which Elodie can die in Long Live the Queen. There are two instances in which this can occur. The first is if you decided to try and have Julianna executed after imprisoning her, and the second by a rogue Lumen on trial for the murder of his wife (who claims to have been possessed by demons at the time), if you attempt to challenge him on that and fail to repel or evade his attacks.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killdra uses chains to fight, combined with Variable-Length Chain.
    • Cody can create crystal chains.
  • RWBY: Sienna Khan, the second leader of the White Fang, used a chain loaded with explosive spikes as her weapon.

    Web Comics 
  • In his original appearances, Hedge of El Goonish Shive wielded a chain as a weapon - specifically, the very chain that had once bound him in captivity in the laboratory that created him. Very symbolic. Very quickly forgotten, too. Only really appeared in one scene, if memory serves, though Grace references it again later.

    Western Animation 
  • An escaped Serial Killer uses a chain as a weapon in the American Dad! Halloween Episode.
  • When the power plant's donuts are being replaced by healthy snacks in an episode of The Simpsons, the vendor fends off the angered employees with a chain.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh is shown to be very proficient with chains. Also Blue Spirit uses them to restrain firebenders in Zhao's fortress. Zuko clearly took lessons from his Uncle.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • In Book 3, Korra drags down Zaheer with a heavy chain attached around her arm, slamming him down into the ground.
    • Dark Korra from Book 4 fights with a chain on account of being a reflection of Korra during her battle with Zaheer in the previous season. She uses it to drag Korra into a hallucination of a puddle of the poison Zaheer used against her.
  • Wheeler interrupts a fight with a chain when he gets his ring in Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
  • Sonic Boom: In "Planes, Trains, and Dude-mobiles", the Bike Chain Bandit is a Hostile Hitchhiker who uses a bike chain to strangle drivers who pick him up, as he attempts on Knuckles before Sonic manages to boot him out of their truck. Ironically, the Bandit is later defeated when he steals a bike and tries to escape. Sonic throws a bike chain into the wheel, jamming it and causing him to crash.

    Real Life 
  • Some gang members use bicycle chains as melee weapons. Quite likely began among outlaw bikers, who had excess chain on hand from motorcycle repairs.
  • Convicted mass murderer Perry Smith once claimed to have beaten a man to death with a bicycle chain "for fun".
  • Chain-shot, a type of Abnormal Ammo from the age of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, consisted of a yard or so of heavy chain with a small cannonball at each end. They were fired like a bolas to tear up rigging and damage masts, which made them one of the few ammunition types capable of reliably disabling a ship of that era without running the risk of sinking her outright, but their accuracy left a lot to be desired.
  • In Japan this trope may go by the name "kusari-fundo". It's believed to be a Ninja weapon used when said ninja is disguised as a peasant, since lengths of chain aren't illegal in and of themselves.


Example of: