Director: Richie Keen
Writers: Van Robichaux and Evan Susser
Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Kumail Nanjiani, Christina Hendricks, JoAnna Garica Swisher, Alexa Nisenson, Dean Norris and Dennis Haysbert
Synopsis: When one school teacher gets the other fired, he is challenged to an after-school fight.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
After school fights, we’ve probably seen them or heard about them (maybe been part of one?), but it’s usually between students and not teachers. That is what leads us to Fist Fight. While the sounds like a descent idea, some aspects of the movie do go over board, which yeah, it’s a movie, but seriously – this film is just a tad over the top.
Fist Fight takes place at Roosevelt High School on the last day of school, so everyone is a little hyped out as you can imagine. However, the students as his school take it to the next level by do insane pranks on teachers and school property. That’s where we meet Campbell (Charlie Day) and Strickland (Ice Cube), Campbell is by-the-books teacher who has a child on the way, and one set to make a big performance at a school talent show, while Strickland is the no nonsense, tough and mean teacher in school. It doesn’t help that the school is cutting down the budget and firing teachers, so when a brave soul decides to pull a prank on Strickland, he goes overboard and gets a fire ax to destroy his desk with Campbell seeing the whole thing. When they’re questioned, Campbell sells out Strickland, which prompts Strickland to challenge Campbell to a fight after school. What follows is Campbell trying to get out of the fight.
The premise behind Fist Fight is as ridiculous as the movie is, maybe more. Again, the film takes the level of what these school kids do to the max. So much so that you have to really suspend your disbelief that these kids can and could get away with half the stuff they are pulling off. Once you get pass that, you can start to enjoy the film and all the jokes, which are pretty much nonstop once they start rolling, and of course some fall flat while others are great.
When it comes to the characters, Day and Ice Cube really nail there respected part. Ice Cube could play the tough and mean looking character all day and in his sleep, but there is a little more to his character that I wish was pushed more to the forefront. It’s mentioned in passing and near the end, but I wish there was more of that instead of his just being angry all the time. Charlie Day’s Campbell is the guy with no backbone, and spends the whole day trying to get out of the fight as much as possible, and while Day has incredible comedic timing, his actions get him trouble.
The supporting cast is really hit-and-miss. Jillian Bell as the school guiding counselor, Holly isn’t really all that great at her job and is one of Campbell’s go-tos. Tracy Morgan plays Coach Crawford, who gets dragged into Campbell’s situation, Kumail Nanjiani plays security guard Mehar, who has some solid scenes and Christina Hendricks, who plays Ms. Monet is kind of wasted here, as she plays a character who’s too weird, even for this movie.
Surprisingly, the actual fight is rather impressive and almost felt out of place with the whole film. It’s also longer than I thought it would have been, but a credit to the stunt team along with Day and Ice Cube for even going through with it.
All in all, Fist Fight really tests your notion of the final day of school, even at a troubled and verge of closing school. However, some of the humor is spot on and the cast mostly work well together.
3 out of 5