Director: Richie Keen
Cast: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan
Release Date: May 30, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
On the last day of the school year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst outrageous senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that are putting his job on the line just as his wife is expecting their second baby.
But things go from bad to worse when Campbell crosses the school’s toughest and most feared teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), causing Strickland to be fired. To Campbell’s shock—not to mention utter terror—Strickland responds by challenging him to a fist fight after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire as Campbell takes ever more desperate measures to avoid getting the crap beaten out of him. But if he actually shows up and throws down, it may end up being the very thing this school, and Andy Campbell, needed.
Get ready for one truly wild final day of school! ‘Fist Fight’ takes viewers inside a local high school on the chaotic final day of school filled with pranks galore, and the job of each teacher on the line as well with the board about to make some necessary cuts. When generally kind and easygoing English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) accidently gets on the bad side of terrifying, take no prisoners History teacher Strickland (Cube) it quickly leads to Strickland challenging Andy to a true fist fight in the parking lot after school. Certain that the fight with the angry Strickland can only lead to unthinkable terrors, Andy soon beings to abandon his calm, easygoing nature as he desperately attempts every possible option to get the fight canceled before it’s too late. Unfortunately once the news spreads throughout social media and subsequently the entire town, standing up to Strickland and taking the beating begins to look like it just might be his best option.
Directed by Richie Keen (TV’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) whose career has primarily consisted of helming various TV episodes and projects before now, from a screenplay penned by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser (both making their screenwriting debut with the film). Keen does a pretty great job at the helm of ‘Fist Fight’ capturing the over the top and unapologetic tone splendidly, and constantly embracing the actors’ various talents and unique abilities which benefits the film all the more, particularly with a humorous and highly capable cast to work with that includes Ice Cube (Friday), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses), Tracy Morgan (TV’s 30 Rock), Jillian Bell (Office Christmas Party), Dean Norris (TV’s Under the Dome), Christina Hendricks (Bad Santa 2), and Kumail Nanjiani (TV’s Silicon Valley), along with more.
‘Fist Fight’ is a raunchy, over the top and just flat out enjoyable comedy that may not make any real waves or bring much new to the genre as a whole, but it’s also far better than many would have you believe and isn’t afraid to go a bit further in order to surprise the viewer with at least a few elements that aren’t quite what you would generally expect in this type of film. Consistently offensive and unforgiving in its humor that often has the tendency to catch you off guard which results in unexpected, sudden spurts of laughter at the most surprising of times. Its unapologetic approach also really allows the film to feel somewhat believable in many regards, yet some sequences still undeniably reach the level of unbelievable, albeit still a ridiculous amount of fun along the way. Even when the movie falters or suffers a tad from aspects such as its fairly unbalanced story and an occasional tendency to let scenes get away from themselves and become a bit too goofy, fortunately many of the imperfections within are easily forgiven in the overall scope of things and the film’s approach alone contributes to that factor a great deal. Smoothly guided along its hilarious course by director Richie Keen and complimented even further by a hilarious cast led by Ice Cube and Charlie Day whose roles both constantly play to their best traits and abilities, allowing for maximum amusement around nearly every turn and altogether resulting in one hilariously raunchy good time. Anyone who appreciates comedy flicks of a similar, unforgiving nature and any fans of the key cast will all definitely want to make a point of checking out ‘Fist Fight’ when you have the chance. It’s a surprisingly capable and hilarious little ride that shouldn’t disappoint anyone looking for an adult oriented comedy with a simple, uncomplicated plot to relax and laugh to one evening.
Overall, ‘Fist Fight’ is a hilarious, no holds barred adult comedy that may not bring an overly complex story, or anything exceptionally new to the genre, but definitely manages to provide an incredibly fun and unapologetically offensive good time that never fails to acquire plenty of laughs and even some mild surprises in the film’s ability to take things a bit outside the box and to areas many might not expect. Director Richie Keen does a great job at the helm and wisely opts for taking full advantage of Cube, Day and the other stars and allowing them to embrace their strongest individual talents, and the end result is nonstop, humorous fun throughout. It may not be a perfect film that we’ll see up for any impressive awards, but ‘Fist Fight’ never fails to bring the fun and laughs when you step in with ample expectations and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates a simple and raunchy comedy with some strong comedic talent doing what they do best. It should at least be worth the cost of a rental for anyone who might be understandably hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Fist Fight’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation from start to finish that suffers no notable faults throughout. It holds up impressively even during the heavily populated and fast moving sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that’s complimented by a more than sufficient bitrate and should easily satisfy both the fans and casual viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds pretty decent overall and offers a fairly crisp, clean and occasionally hard hitting soundtrack. It often takes advantage of all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the various music utilized, in addition to sending some crowd chatter and other natural audio activity throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and never resulting in any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously to become negatively affected or rendered inaudible. It should be noted that he audio levels curiously tend to have far more drastic changes than most releases, jumping from notably quiet to aggressively loud and vice versa in a manner that seems a bit strange, yet fortunately it never conflicts with any of the activity in a truly negative manner. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that offers some fun surround activity and although the audio levels often jump from quiet to loud in an uncommon manner it still holds up quite well as a whole and contributes some extra fun to the movie.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Fist Fight’ includes a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 15 minutes in length altogether), and a brief ‘Georgia Film Commission’ Featurette (or advertisement) that includes a bit of behind the scenes footage and the filmmakers discussing their experiences filming in Georgia (running approximately 2 minutes).