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This is an action trope. It is performed by a character who throws something to another character (usually an enemy) to make him catch it -- either to simply distract him or to induce something even more nasty. This can be made to escape a gunpoint situation. "Think fast!" is the same trope, worded differently.
Can also reveal that an impersonator is Not Left Handed. Or is left-handed. Works not only for impersonators, but also for suspects -- when you know that the crime was committed by a left-handed person.
Anime & Manga
- Tristan distracts Yami Bakura by throwing him the unconscious body of Mokuba, long enough to let him hit him for a K.O. It was one of the rare action scenes that didn't involve children's card games in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- In Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sousuke accepts a challenge from his high school's karate club and, after it's finally made clear to him that he's expected to fight hand-to-hand, performs a Hey, Catch! with a grenade. While his opponent is thus distracted, Sousuke decks him with a kick to the head. When Kaname protests that he was supposed to fight without weapons, he points out that the pin was still in the grenade.
- When Rei challenged Raoh with a technique that was powerful enough to defeat even him, Raoh responded by throwing his cape at him while he was in midair, distracting him long enough to hit him with a fatal technique of his own.
- A Hey Catch is used to distract the Villain of the Week on Case Closed. Lucky it worked, too, because the man was armed.
- Used occasionally in Ranma ½. For example: Ranma distracting Happosai with a tossed bra or the principal tossing something like a pineapple at the students to distract them.
- Also used in more serious arcs. In the final battle, Ranms tosses what appears to be Akane's small, dehydrated form at Saffron. Even Saffron is disgusted by Ranma's apparent disregard for the life of Akane, before realizing it was a fake made out of some sticks and leaves. While he doesn't catch it, the distraction still serves its purpose.
- Subverted in two ways in New Grappler Baki. Yanagi throws a teapot full of boiling water to his old foe Shibukawa and, while he is distracted, Yanagi stops his attack just before Shibukawa's face, showing how easily he could have killed him. Soon after that, while Yanagi was in the middle of a fight against Baki, Shibukawa appears from nowhere and throws a teapot all over Yanagi, who starts screaming... before realizing that it was, in fact, cold water. Then Shibukawa sports some laughs and the fight is resumed, without using the surprise attack to.
- The Joker does this with a baby to kill Gordon's wife Sarah at the end of the No Man's Land storyline.
- In Return of the Jedi, Han Solo does this to a random mook.
- In Waterworld the Ax Crazy Deacon of the 'Deez tosses a lit match towards an open floor hatch only to have it snatched before falling in by a Mook. It is fortunate that the match was caught, because the hatch led to the 'Deez's oil supply!
- Ben Gates from National Treasure, while being held at gunpoint, throws a lighted flare at his adversary, which is quite distracting because the floor is covered in gunpowder at that point.
- Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code throws a cryptex to Sir Teabing. The cryptex is extremely important and likewise fragile.
- In the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus throws a drinking glass at Tom to show that Tom can't use his left hand, so couldn't have attacked Mayella Ewell.
- John Robie in To Catch a Thief uses this to disarm one of his resistance comrades. Now working as a chef, the comrade aproaches him with two cleavers. John tosses two bottles of fine wine to him, and the chef in the comrade takes over, dropping the cleavers to catch the bottles.
- In The Man Who Knew Too Little, Wallace mistakes a corpse for an actor playing the part of a corpse, and tries to make him break character:
Wallace: You've gotta see just how dead they are. You never know, they might be able to catch this! [Throws a soda can at the corpse.]
- In Willow, the titular character throws a magic petrifying acorn at Queen Bavmorda. (Willow wasn't actually trying for a Hey, Catch! here - he just missed, but Bavmorda obligingly snatched it out of the air anyway.) Unfortunately for Willow, the magic of his quirky village witch doctor is not up to the task of petrifying the uber-sorceress Big Bad, and she shakes it off rather easily.
- On Monsters, Inc., Mike throws a sock at the CDA agents (who gather around the poor schlub who caught it for decontamination) as a distraction while Sulley escaped with Boo.
- James Bond does this to distract a henchman during the marketplace chase sequence in Octopussy before then punching him out.
- Terminator 2 has the titular Determinator launching tear gas at cops wearing gas masks. He eventually approaches them, hands the tear gas launcher off with a, "Here, hold this," and rips the mask off of the cop to whom he hands it. Much earlier, Sarah distracted a guard this way during her escape.
- In Total Recall, Schwarzenegger tries to slip onto Mars undetected by disguising himself in an animatronic suit resembling a fat woman. When his Covah is again blown, he takes off the mask and tosses it to his pursuers, upon which it cracks wise and then explodes.
Old Lady Mask: Prepare for a surprise! Cue explosion.
- When in Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, Chekov's Gun fails to work due to interference from radiation, he tosses it at the marine officer who was interrogating him a minute earlier before legging it.
- Subverted in Prizzi's Honor hitwoman Kathleen Turner tries to distract a bodyguard by tossing a baby (actually a life-size baby doll) to him. It doesn't work, causing the hit to get very messy before the shooting's done.
Kathleen Turner: "What kind of man wouldn't catch a baby?"
Jack Nicholson: "A mobster's bodyguard."
- Norrington, in Dead Man's Chest.
- In Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Harley throws his gun at one of the armored car guards, and then punches him out when the guard catches it. He does this because he can't shoot very well.
- Marlboro uses this trick later in the movie.
- Serenity: while Mal and the Operative are facing off at the Companion lodge, the Operative threatens to have his cruiser lock onto Serenity's "pulse beacon" and launch missiles. Mal responds by tossing him the beacon in question.
- In Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets Harry throws Lucius the diary wrapped in an old sock, thereby freeing Dobby.
- A small subversion is used in The Fifth Elephant where Vimes throws an orange at a harmless-looking bureaucrat who DOESN'T catch it. This is later subverted even further when Vimes proves his suspicion that the bureaucrat is an assassin, who opted not to catch the orange based on the fact that it was not a threat.
- Vimes later uses the Hey, Catch! tactic to kill the novel's Big Bad.
- Specifically with the bureaucrat, is that the assassin didn't react at all to the orange. It hits him, and fell to the floor. Vimes repeated it with his dwarf subordinate later sending said cop ducking under a table. Later it is explained most people at least flinch or dodge the orange if they aren't going to catch it.
- In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, Bobby Shaftoe throws Japanese counterpart Goto Dengo his helmet on impulse as he and his regiment are leaving Shanghai. Dengo, in response, demonstrates what he learned from Shaftoe (who taught him how to pitch baseballs in return for learning some martial arts) by pitching him a hand grenade wrapped in a headband. Fortunately, Dengo hadn't pulled the pin.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's Ethan of Athos, Elli Quinn removes a goon who was holding her and Ethan at gunpoint by tossing him a small bomb disguised as a message. Small, in this case, meaning it can't quite rupture the hull of a space station.
- In the Malus Darkblade series, a Nurgle lord is taken out when the hero's lackey throws him a sack with a vial of the greek fire equivalent.
- Used in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, making this Older Than Radio: Huck disguises himself as a girl but the woman he tries to deceive tests him by tossing him a ball of yarn to see if he knows how to catch things in his skirt.
- In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo novels Stefan Lehmann brings a baby along to a meeting with a rival gang boss, purely so he can use it as a Hey, Catch! distraction to make ganking him easier. Real nice guy.
- An especially malicious variant is pulled by Chamdar in David Eddings' novel Belgarath the Sorcerer, a spin-off to the Belgariad series. When Belgarath finds that Chamdar has murdered a young couple by setting their house on fire, Chamdar distracts him long enough to escape by throwing their infant son at him.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's The Raven Ring, the heroine's thrown weapons are being blocked by the villain's Time Stop spell. So she tosses him the titular ring he'd been after, and the ring's magic interrupts the spell. At which point he takes a dozen high-speed knives to the face simultaneously.
- In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data discovers that he and Captain Picard are in a holodeck simulation by throwing a tool to a holographic, and apparently left-handed Geordi LaForge. (Earlier in the episode, Data had discovered a bug in which the holodeck would get handedness wrong.) Of course, Data threw the tool crosswise right-to-left across 'Geordi's' body, which most people would catch with their left, regardless of their dominant hand.
- Supernatural: Dean does this to Bela by throwing her a lucky rabbits foot that makes the wielder insanely lucky... but causes fatally bad luck when it is lost again.
- In one episode of M* A* S* H, Hawkeye was temporarily blinded by an exploding heater. At the end, after he's regained his vision, he strolls into the nurses' tent with a cane, claiming to have had a relapse, so they can go ahead and change since he can't see them. One of the nurses throws him a coffee cup, which he catches...Oops.
- In Red Dwarf, this is one of the tests performed in an attempt to discover which of the two David Listers on board is the real one, and which is a hungry alien who can change how it is perceived to appear and sound.
- In an episode of Angel, the title character throws a pair of sunglasses at a woman who is supposedly completely blind. She catches them.
- Buffy once faced a Physical God who could be weakened with a certain magical orb... so Buffy simply tossed it to the god in question, who, not being "the brightest star in the heavens", caught it by reflex.
- One of this troper's favorite Calvin and Hobbes comics involves Calvin bragging about how he has three water balloons, and Hobbes has only one. Hobbes' response is this trope, and Calvin loses his hold on all four, resulting in him being soaked by all of them.
- This is the set-up for Rob Van Dam's Van Daminator - he throws a chair to his opponent, who catches it just in time for Van Dam to kick it into their face.
- In one Paranoia module, one of the briefing officers suddenly says "Catch" and tosses a grenade to one of the PCs. The pin has not been pulled. If he catches it, then he gets to keep it.
- One piece of Warhammer 40000 fiction on The Jungle has a Chaos marauder handing an unarmed civilian a live grenade just for fun. Then the hero manages to trick him into picking up a live grenade. And shoots it.
- In The Punisher video game, one of the kills the titular Vigilante Man can do, is to toss his shotgun, assault rifle, or machine gun at an enemy who will reflexively catch it, distracting him. The Punisher will then either stab the guy in the face, or shoot him in the head with a handgun.
- In the Warcraft RTS games, it was used as a catchphrase for the Dwarven Mortar Team. According to WoWWiki:
From the time the dwarves first learned to use mortars to the present day, there have been only 3 reported cases of the enemy being stupid enough to actually try catching the shell, with a successful catch being made only once. The name of the individual who performed this impressive feat has been lost, along with most of his anatomy and all insect and plant life in a 15-foot radius of the place where he was standing.
- Like this:
"Hey, you! Catch!"
- Also from Blizzard, in Starcraft II, the nuclear missiles are inscribed with the words "Take it!"
- Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. GDI Grenadier Squads use this catchphrase as an occasional comic relief in an otherwise dark and edgy story.
- Resonance of Fate. The opening cutscene has Vashyron toss his opponent a loaded gun to replace his empty weapon. While the surprised target fumbles to aim it, Vashyron dashes forward, slams him into a wall, and puts a gun in his mouth.
- Wesker throws his sunglasses at Chris in a Resident Evil 5 cutscene. The glasses themselves were harmless, but the split-second Chris needed to catch the glasses was enough to give Wesker an opening for a vicious assault.
- Fallout 2 has an example you can pull on Pretty Boy Lloyd if you force him to dig up the stash he's hidden in a grave in the New Reno graveyard. After a while, he'll circumvent and dig up a land mine he left to protect the stash (but not disarm it). Once he's done exhuming the grave and retrieved the goodies for you, well, might as well make use of the mine, right?...
- In Uncharted 3, Nate can sometimes perform this kind of attack in hand-to-hand combat; throwing his gun at an enemy and then knocking him out as he's catching it.
- "Oh, Juliet!" "Oh, Romeo... catch!" * BOOM*
- In Darwin's Soldiers, O'Neill hurls a lit flare at his captors, who try to get out of the way to avoid being set on fire. He then makes his escape while they are tripping over each other.
- In the webcomic Tempts Fate, a goblin defeated an adversary whose god forbade him to wield any weapon by tossing him one.
- Batman Beyond: Terry thinks Willy Watt has developed telekinesis and is terrorizing people from his jail cell. Terry's Test? Throw a glass of water. It stops mere inches from Willy's head. Yup, found the bad guy.
- Justice League: The Joker throws a doll at Wonder Woman, who reflexively catches it. It explodes in her face.
- According to a witness account in the book The Phantom Major, David Stirling, founder of the SAS, used this as a Bond One-Liner during a raid in North Africa. He opened a door in an administration building, found a German officer sitting behind a desk, and said, "Here - catch!". The German indeed caught the object he was thrown, and cried a horrified "Nein!" when he recognised it as a grenade; Stirling replied "Ja!", slammed the poor fellow's office door closed again, and was several strides down the corridor when the grenade detonated.
- Slingers in ancient times would often inscribe their projectiles with insults, one of them being simply, "Take this."