Fist Fight review
A good film fight depends on how the audience is experiencing it. The majority of the fights from the Rocky series work as we want to see Balboa win the boxing match that he’s worked hard training for. The fights from Fight Club are engaging because the film establishes that this works as way to ease some of the tension that Edward Norton had developed within his mundane life. Looking at a bad example, the main battle from Batman V Superman is poor as the movie did not establish enough of a connection with it’s audience and failed to give us a good reason for our heroes to fight.
So when a movie like todays is building up to a big fight, then it has to establish some relatable characters and justify the need to brawl. Given that this is school based, the best example is an eighties comedy called Three O’clock High. That one was about students getting ready for a fight after class. It was funny and smart with how it understood how a lot of students would react under the fear and the naive attitude of adults. Now we have two teachers meeting after school in Fist Fight.
It’s the last day of high school, which is also prank day. What operates is the high school from hell as teachers and staff are victim to pranks that are so elaborate and insane that real teenagers might see as too much work. English teacher Andy Campbell (played by Charlie Day) is worried that he’ll get cut as principal Richard Tyler (played by Dean Norris) is more worried about keeping the budget low. Campbell is also worried about his soon to be born second child and daughter who is dealing with bullying of her own. All Campbell wants is to get through this day without much trouble.
Campbell’s day is thrown into chaos by history teacher Ron Strickland (played by Ice Cube) who is not having any lip from the students. When a prank involving a television disrupts the class, Strickland goes crazy with a hatchet chopping a desk in half. When the principal demands answers, Campbell reveals that it was all Strickland, causing the history teacher to lose his job. In response, Strickland tells Campbell that their going to fight after school. Campbell does everything he can to get out of it, even talking to coach Crawford (played by Tracy Morgan) and guidance counselor Holly (played by Jillian Bell) for advice. Of course, the fight is on.
What’s interesting is that the movie tries to convoy the message about underfunded schools. It’s a good message if Fist Fight wasn’t so hypocritical of itself. The main problem is that everyone in this movie is an awful human being. I don’t mean all the main characters, but everyone! Aside that every student seems to be a serial killer, both Charlie Day and Ice Cube are both unsympathetic and too unlikable to want to follow for an entire movie. You know your in for a bad movie when the running time is only and hour and a half, yet it feels like three.
What’s worse is that until the fight happens in the end, your stuck with these people for a long time. They try hard to throw every joke they can from student pranks an F –bomb or a meth joke, but very little of them did anything for me. I mentioned before in my review for Sausage Party that you have to offer more then shock jokes and foul language. Fist Fight falls in that same category, but is far worse for being a failure as a comedy and trying to say something about the American school system.
I’ll give this one bloody school gym mat out of five. Despite some committed performances and a fight that does have some good moments, I really cannot recommend Fist Fight. Take your milk money and go rent Three O’clock High instead. It’s the same, but funnier and smarter. This is one fight that won’t end with any winner.