A quasi re-imagining of the 1987 high school film Three 0’Clock High, Fist Fight has the unenviable distinction of being worse than the film that inspired it. More tedious than funny, and full of unnecessary vulgarity, at times, watching Fist Fight can be nails-on-a-chalkboard painful.
It’s the last day of school at Roosevelt High, located in a suburb of Georgia. Roosevelt is a tough school; academics are obviously a struggle for most of these kids. Lucky for them, today is “Prank Day. Mischief is something they all do well. While this merely frustrates laid back English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day), it absolutely infuriates Ron Strickland (Ice Cube). In the midst of all this, the teachers are worried about keeping their jobs for the next year. A family man, Andy has a baby on the way. Ron is tough, and believes in harsh discipline, but somehow, his love for the learning process comes through. When Strickland has a violent in-class-meltdown, and Andy rats him out to principal Tyler (Dean Norris), a confrontation is unavoidable. Strickland challenges Andy to a fist fight on the playground at three o’ clock to settle their differences. Andy tries everything he can to avoid the fight, but his bundling attempts only seem to make things worse.
Director Richie Keen, who worked with Charlie Day on several episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, wants Andy to be the everyman, the guy everyone roots for, but Day’s portrayal is so manic and over-the-top, he’s just annoying. It’s Ice Cube who fares best here, simply because the no-nonsense personally that he’s brought to other screen roles (most recently the Jump Street films), is both effective and funny, here. Fist Fight also has Tracy Morgan (in his first post-accident role) as the school’s gym teacher/coach, Jillian Bell as a guidance counselor with a taste for drugs, who lusts after her male students, JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Andy’s wife, and Christina Hendricks as a French teacher with giant breasts.
With the exception of Andy and Ron, several of the teachers come armed with one note jokes–Morgan’s coach has mastered the art of losing, principal Tyler has a cucaracha band following him wherever he goes–and first time screenwriters Van Robichaux and Evan Susser aren’t afraid to bleed the well dry. Subtlety is out the window, and rank idiocy is in, as we wait for the defining battle, for what it’s worth.
If you’re in the mood for stale comic clichés with a healthy dose of vulgarity, Fist Fight comes highly recommended. Otherwise, consider it a waste of 91 minutes.
Presented in the 1.78.1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer was fine, if nothing spectacular. Colors are bright and vivid. Contrast is quite good. There are a couple of scenes I thought were a bit too bright, but on the whole, this looks like most comedies. There are no print flaws to speak of. Skin tones look natural, and detail is sharp throughout.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is pretty standard stuff, but works well here. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout. Ambient sounds and music cues are given moderate depth and bass when called upon. No complaints.
English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 15:23) More shenanigans! None of these would have added anything to the story. Eleven in all, and can be watched all together, or separately.
- Georgia Film Commission (HD, 2:08) Cast and crew share their love for Georgia, where they filmed this movie.
- Digital HD Copy of the film.
Movie title: Fist Fight (2017)
Director(s): Richie Keen
Actor(s): Ice Cube , Charlie Day , Tracy Morgan , Jillian Bell , Dean Norris , Christina Hendricks