THE STORYOn the last day of the year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration, and budget cuts that put jobs on the line. But things go from bad to worse when he accidentally crosses his much tougher and deeply feared colleague, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), who challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned throwdown after school.
THE CAST – Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks & Kumail Nanjiani
THE TEAM – Richie Keen (Director), Van Robichaux & Evan Susser (Writers)
THE RUNNING TIME – 91 Minutes
By Ben S.
Going into “Fist Fight” I had very neutral expectations. None of the trailers were incredibly funny to me but they didn’t look incredibly terrible either. The movie had no reason to give me any strong feelings, I haven’t seen a single episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philidaplhia” in my life and the writers are totally new faces. It honestly looked like your typical, run-of-the-mill comedy that would go on to fail with critics, do mediocre at the box office and generally be forgotten about…believe it or not, it was worse than that.
“Fist Fight” takes place on the last day at Roosevelt High School, where the teachers are push-overs and the students could care less. When a typical senior prank pushes the hothead teacher “Strickland” (played by Ice Cube) over the edge, he brings a fire-axe to the student’s desk. Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) brings this to the attention of the school’s principal and is later fired from his job and from that point on, Strickland schedules a fist fight between the two when school is let out so they can “settle out their differences, like men.” Through the disgusting product placement, NWA references, and overall mayhem, Campbell does everything in his power to try and stop the fight.
When I come out of a film disliking it, I usually like to start with the positives first, the best thing that came out of “Fist Fight” was definitely the stars involved. It’s one of those movies where the actual actors involved absolutely carry the awful script, juicing it and examining it for any comedy they could find and making the most of it. I can tell you right now, this movie would have been so much worse if it was just a bunch of no name’s involved. Thank God that almost everyone involved had fantastic comedic chemistry with each other, (aside from Tracey Morgan, who will always annoy me for as long as I live) although the actors are basically playing themselves, they do a good job at doing so and are having so much fun with it. Aside from that there really is nothing good about it, I’m literally looking back at my notes right now and can’t find anything else positive I’ve written down.
So I guess we are on to the bad now? First off, it’s painfully unfunny. Remember when I said the actors were trying hard to make the awful script funny? Well, they tried, but it wasn’t good enough. Sure, jokes about borderline pedophilia can be funny, but when there isn’t any joke aside from the fact that the guidance counselor wants to have sex with seniors…That’s it, that’s the joke…and they bring it up like every 5 minutes like it is the funniest thing in the world. I guess if “Fist Fight” wants to behave like it’s a real movie with meaning and a message that it beats over your head at the very end, I guess it should be brought up how unrealistic the whole movie was. There are some things you have to accept like all the completely outrages and illegal student pranks for the sake of the narrative, but I highly doubt that someone calling 911 because of a threat of violence would be laughed away by the person on the other end. Forget the fact that someone who was arrested on a drug-related charge would be let go without taking a drug test, which said character, would have failed.
I’m not even going to go into cinematography, editing, oscar predictions, sound editing, costume design, directing, pacing, visual effects, set design, characters, and the rest because you know all of the above is either so lackluster to the point of nonrecognition or not there at all. Aside from the mildly entertaining/fulfilling scene at the end where they actually fight, “Fist Fight” is a movie that is completely irrelevant and totally useless. Just let this one bomb.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Ice Cube & Charlie Day carry the film on their comedic talents, but just barely.
THE BAD – Unfunny and horribly written.
THE FINAL SCORE – 2/10