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Takes Ten to Hold

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The freakishly powerful One-Man Army can be an absolute terror for the average Mook on the battlefield, and even those higher up the chain have trouble dealing with them in even the best of circumstances. But, more often than not, killing the One-Man Army from a distance isn't on the table, either because there isn't a weapon capable of doing so, they're incredibly difficult to kill regardless, or they're needed alive. In a best-case scenario, the only option they have is to get as many people as they can to hold the One-Man Army down.

If tearing skyscrapers to shreds or literally taking on entire armies alone isn't happening, this is often the best way to communicate just how strong and dangerous the one being held down is. And usually everyone involved will be physically straining themselves, whether they're the ones doing the restraining, or the one being restrained. Rarely though, will the restrained remain so, especially if they're the Big Bad. In such cases, the inevitable breakout will signal the start of the work's Darkest Hour. If it's the Hero, there's probably a Moment of Awesome just seconds away. And in both cases, possibly a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

This trope can also apply if beasts, usually large and/or borderline Kaiju-sized, are the ones being restrained. Nor is this trope restricted to just ten people doing the holding down, rather, any number can be involved so long as it constitutes as a group.

Sister trope to Let Me at Him! and The Strength of Ten Men.

Due to the spoileriffic nature of this trope, beware of unmarked spoilers below!


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  • In the Soviet cartoon Vasilisa Mikulishna, when the heroine's husband is arrested at the beginning, it takes a dozen men to drag him away.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Assassination Classroom, Nagisa and Karma were brawling, so the other students intervened. Karma has to be held back with difficulty by two kids who remarked that he's "incredibly strong". Nagisa, who is tiny and the epitome of Weak, but Skilled, is easily restrained by one.
    • One of Korosensei's weaknesses is that, although he can move at Mach 20, he is physically weak and can be restrained if all of his tentacles are held down by, say, an entire classroom of students. The issue with this, of course, is that he can simply move out of the way before anyone can pin him down. Of course, if he's been exhausted by a battle and is now too weak to move...
  • In a High School AU OVA for Fairy Tail, Elfman gets enraged when the top delinquents from Phantom Academy have his big sister Mira tied and bound. It takes five students to keep him from charging straight at them, since the delinquents will only let them go if Fairy Academy strongest (Natsu, Gray, and Erza) fight and beat them.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, Jonathan is shown playing football and needs to be tackled by three people to get him to drop to a knee. It takes several more to actually get him on the ground, but by that point, he's already passed the ball to Dio, who cruises to an easy touchdown in the first and last time they properly work together.

    Fan Works 
  • The Infinite Loops: One of Innortal's entries has Shinji being restrained by four deckhands as he attempts to throw Asuka overboard. And they're losing ground.

    Films — Animation 
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010): After forming a close bond with Hiccup, Toothless becomes highly protective of him, and reacts very strongly to any perceived threat to the young Viking. When Hiccup's nearly successful attempt to prove to his village that dragons and Vikings can coexist is botched by Stoic hitting the metal cage of the arena, the sound of which sends the Monstrous Nightmare into a fury, Toothless comes to Hiccup's rescue and fights off the other dragon, only to get jumped by the village, then pinned down and captured by nearly half a dozen Vikings. Of course, that was after he easily knocked three of them away and nearly killed Hiccup's father, Stoic.
  • Shrek: When Fiona finally reveals to Shrek her transformation into an ogre every night (courtesy of a witch's curse) after he objects to her marriage to Lord Farquaad, Lord Farquaad has both arrested. Shrek, attempting to reach Fiona, starts being dragged off by dozens of guards, several of which he manages to fight off, before Dragon smashes through the church's windows, eats Lord Farquaad, and forces the remaining guards to back down.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • DC Extended Universe, Aquaman: When Arthur is captured and knocked unconscious by his half-brother's men, he later awakens to find himself chained to the ground before Orm and the rest of Atlantis' High-Born, with five guards on the other end of the chains struggling to keep him still. He very nearly snaps the chains and easily overpowers the guards when Orm begins talking about their mother...
  • Jurassic Park: In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Ludlow's mercenaries try to do this to a Parasaurolophus. Being one of the larger hadrosaurs, both on Isla Sorna and in real life, the animal easily lifts at least three mercs off the ground and several feet into the air, before being brought down by having its hind legs tripped out from underneath it.
  • In The Killing, Johnny hires wrestler Maurice Oboukhoff to create a distraction by starting a fight in the betting office at the racetrack. Maurice is so successful at this that he is only stopped by half a dozen cops literally piling on top of him and pinning him to the floor.
  • King Kong: Englehorn and his men, at Denham's behest, initially attempted to capture Kong by lodging grapple hooks into the giant ape and pulling him as close to the ground as possible, with the aid of a large net tied to two large rocks, so that he could get close enough to inhale the chloroform they tossed on the ground in front of him. It would have worked, had they used more chloroform, and Kong not seen Ann being dragged away by Jack...
  • Invoked in Dmitry Puchkov's Gag Dub of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when King Theoden charges into battle exclaiming something to the effect of "Let seven guys hold me back!", meaning "unless seven people weigh me down, I'm gonna do something stupidly heroic".
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War: If Thanos's opening fight against the Hulk wasn't enough evidence of just how terrifyingly strong Thanos is even without the Gauntlet, it takes the combined efforts of Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy just to hold him so that they can remove his Gauntlet (already infused with the Power, Space, and Reality Stones), and even then, Thanos has to be kept off-balance while Mantis is mentally suppressing him. Even then they are struggling to keep him that way, and the second Quill accidentally frees him from Mantis's control (via punching Thanos in the face after Quill learned of Gamora's death), Thanos immediately throws all of the heroes to the ground and starts showing what he can really do with the Infinity Stones he already has.
  • The Matrix:
    • At the climax of the Burly Brawl from The Matrix Reloaded, a whole pile of Smiths overwhelm and dogpile Neo, pinning him to the pavement. Neo, being The One, though still rather in over his head, responds by hurling everyone off in a display of power before flying off.
    • The Matrix Resurrections: In the climax of the film, both Neo and Trinity are being barely restrained by nearly a dozen Federal agents/ bots each that are under the Analyst's control as they try to reach out to one another. Neo and Trinity not only succeed and break away from the bots restraining them, the resulting kinetic blast knocks the bots off of their feet as Trinity starts to awaken some of Neo's powers as her own.
  • Special Female Force: At the end of the final confrontation, The Dragon Lung is finally taken down when Cat, Tung, Ling-Ling, and Fa pin him down all at once, with Fa sitting right on him and delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him. She's about to kill him until remembering Madam Fong's advice on how the police are supposed to protect instead of kill, at which point Fa instead knocks Lung out cold and let the police deal with him.
  • The epic final battle of the kung-fu movie, Shaolin Daredevils have the daredevils defeating all of General Han's men, and finally, all five of them holding General Han down allowing the hero to land a killing blow.
  • Wishmaster: The Djinn possesses a petty crook who always got away with his crimes to shoot up a police station, as the officer the Djinn was talking to wished for "something easy to get him on, with every god damn person as an eyewitness". Not even five policemen are enough to restrain the guy, as he breaks free and even rips one poor officer's lower jaw out. It takes a Multiple Gunshot Death to finally kill him.
  • 300: When Artemis watches in horror as his son, Astinos, is killed by a Persian rider, he flies into a grief and vengeance-fueled rage, breaks rank and brutally cuts down any Persian infantryman within his reach as he made his way to Astinos' body. It takes Leonidas himself and two other Spartans to drag him back behind their lines, and they still struggle doing so.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The Book of Boba Fett: During the big battle at the end of the first season, it takes at least half-a-dozen Trandoshans to pin Krrsantan the Wookiee bounty hunter to the ground. It's still not enough in the end, as Krrsantan shows up to the main fight dragging Pyke mooks around and appearing only a little banged up.
  • Cheers: When breaking some bad news to Carla, Sam first has all the bar regulars grab her in a choke-hold. Carla is then lifted out of the room, insisting (unconvincingly) she's not going to hurt Diane. There's an indication that if Carla truly had gone ballistic, there wouldn't have been much they could do to stop her. Her appearance in Frasier, over a decade and half after this incident, suggests this is true, when Carla, now in her fifties, has to be dragged away from murdering Cliff, and it's still a near thing.
  • COPS (1989): Truth in Television since it was one of the first popular series to follow real American law enforcement around. There would be suspects too strong for one officer to restrain. In one episode there was a sweaty naked suspect; the officers said it was hard to get a grip.
  • A common occurrence in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was Hercules being swarmed by and completely buried under a whole bunch of mooks. A few seconds later, the mooks invariably went flying as Hercules pushed them off.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the End", because of his OCD, Monk has to be restrained by the entire hospital staff to hold him down just so they can draw blood from him after he was poisoned.
  • Kaamelott: One episode sees Bohort turned into The Berserker and Arthur mentions that he's had to post two guards in the infirmary to stop him from getting up and back to the battle. While two isn't that impressive a number, it is for Bohort, whose cowardice is otherwise legendary, being well-established as being afraid of anything bigger than rabbits and pheasants (including those two).
  • Nightwatch (2015): One episode features a combative patient who is described as "280 pounds (127 kg) of pure muscle". It ends up taking six EMT's/firefighters to hold him down and get him on to the stretcher.
  • In Snowpiercer, several Brakemen are needed to hold down Andrew Layton after he attempted a diversion to get a useful item.
  • In one Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Operation: Annihilate!", Spock is infected by an alien parasite and goes ballistic. It takes four Enterprise crewmen — Red Shirt security officers trained in combat — to subdue him due to his Vulcan side's Super-Strength.
  • Victorious: Interestingly involves the itty-bitty Cat. It took the entire bunch just to get a handle on her when her wireless withdrawal became too much to bear.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: Multiple times, the bad guys tried this with Walker, ganging up on him and restraining him as the goons tried to beat up Walker. Almost always, Walker fought every one of them off and came out the winner, and the bad guys battered, bruised, bloodied and running for their lives.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Fenrir Wolf in Norse Mythology is fettered by the gods. The chains were forged by dwarven smiths, and, to make them unbreakable, they used nonexistent materials such as women's beards, mountain roots, and cats' walking noises. That is, nonexistent because the dwarves had to use all of them to make the chains.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Commonly invoked in pull-apart brawls, where two rivals, almost always card headliners, will get into a no-holds-barred fight and virtually everyone on that night's card (wrestlers, referees, officials, managers (and even valets) and (not unheard of, actual (as opposed to kayfabe) policemen) will try to break up the fight, often without success. Used to build interest in a future match between the two wrestlers.
  • The Ultimate Warrior was involved in one particularly infamous example. After Sensational Sherri repeatedly interfered in a steel cage match and helped Randy Savage to win (in 1991, shortly after both helped Sgt. Slaughter win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship), Warrior went completely berserk, chasing Sherri into the cage and attempting to pummel her into submission. Numerous referees, ring officials (including Pat Patterson, Tony Garea, and Rene Goulet), and The Nasty Boys came in to intervene (as Savage had escaped to the back) and tried to pull Warrior away, but he successfully fought them off. At one point, multiple people were (literally) hanging on each of Warrior's arms, but all he did was muscle them off before he went after Sherri again. It took Savage returning to the ring to stop Warrior, but in the end, Sherri – foolishly heading up the rear as she and the officials were leaving the ring, thinking Warrior was subdued enough – got nailed by Warrior, and took a press slam, knocking her unconscious once and for all.

    Video Games 
  • In Pokémon Ranger, after Barlow was captured and tied down by four struggling Dim Sun grunts, one of the grunts mentions how difficult it was to tie him up "a smidgeon on the tight side." Another describes him as a "Pokemon Wrestler."
  • In Yandere Simulator, if more than four people witness Yandere-chan commit murder at the same time they'll combine their strengths and restrain her, instantly causing a game over. Less than that, and each will react according to their individual persona, usually just running away.
  • During the E3 trailer for God of War III, Kratos, aiding Gaia in keeping her free from the hordes of undead soldiers at Zeus' command as she and the other Titans ascends Mt. Olympus, charges into a horde of Olympus Sentries to get at the Cyclops wreaking havoc behind them, and is briefly pinned down by over a dozen of them. This being Kratos, it barely hinders him and he quickly breaks free of the Sentries and kills them as he throws them all off. In the game proper, this is an actual tactic the Olympus Legionaires and Sentries can use on Kratos to restrain and inflict damage on him, prompting a quicktime event for the player to throw them off.

    Web Animation 

  • Check, Please!: Played for Laughs with the otherwise Sweet Baker Bitty, who can barely be restrained by three men when his beloved oven is confiscated.
    Bully: Whyow — is it taking three of us to hold him down??
    Chowder: Human mothers can call on supernatural strength when their young are threatened!!
  • Grrl Power: This is the conclusion of the fight against Vehemence, thanks to Sydney's planning. Since the villain gains power from violence, they instead pile up on him and maintain his head underwater so he'd waste energy on staying alive rather than fighting. But with his level of power, it takes all the superheroes, some with extreme Super-Strength or density control, along with energy absorption to deal with his electric shocks, to actually keep him down.