Ask Men’s Fitness: “I’m a Big Action-sci-fi Fan, and Every so Often I See One Character Lift Another up by His Throat. Is That Even Possible?


Ah, you mean the “villain grab,” the one-handed neck lift Darth Vader uses on that poor rebel in A New Hope. Cool, right? But unless you’re Darth Vader himself, the answer’s pretty much no, it’s not possible. 

“The idea of someone actually doing that is fiction,” says John Kreng, author of Fight Choreography: The Art of Non-Verbal Dialogue. Why? First, “your hands aren’t big enough to choke somebody like that,” says Kreng. Next, even if you got enough leverage by squatting then lifting, you’d be holding 175 pounds—way too much for one arm. Finally, the guy being lifted would have to hold his chin straight—a feat in itself, says fight choreographer Chris Collins.

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So how can it sometimes look so realistic? They’re both in on the gag. In films, says Kreng, the chokee gets an assist by grabbing on to the choker’s arm. Pro wrestlers fake it, too, says Collins: “Both squat, and the lifter supports the other guy’s lower back so he can jump up while he’s lifted.” 

Guess you’ll need another way of getting those Death Star plans.