Release Date: February 17, 2017
Director: Richie Keen
Writer: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, Max Greenfield
Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dennis Haysbert, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson, Stephnie Weir, Kym Whitley, Austin Zajur, Gordon Danniels, Bill Kottkamp, Jose Diaz, Tim Johnson Jr. Nicholas Alexander, Charlie Carver, Winston James Francis, Nolan Bateman, Jason Charles Hill, Ian Gregg
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 91 minutes
Production Company: New Line Cinema, Village Roadshow Pictures, 21 Laps Entertainment, Wrigley Pictures, Van Brand, Warner Bros.
Budget: $22,000,000 (estimated)
When the first trailer for Fist Fight was released, I asked myself, “Why Ice Cube,
why?” I’m a big fan of his, and with me having no faith in how this
film would turn out it piqued my interest more and more when it came
closer to release. It was hard to wrap my head around two grown men
fighting in a high school parking lot around students and not going to
jail. The cast fit the roles with talents like Tracy Morgan (Coach Crawford), and Charlie Day (Andy
Campbell). So I thought maybe there’d be a chance of this being a
surprise hit. I was surprised in some sense, not by how good or bad the
film is, but by the content inside being a script that was thought of in
five minutes just for Warner Bros. to make a buck.
Of course, studios
want to make money, but don’t make it so obvious that that’s your only
goal instead of actually making something worthy. American Pie,
if not already, is a hard R classic of high school films that would be
remembered forever. I mention that, because everything in it was real
and relatable to how high school really is to a degree. Fist Fight tries
that and fails miserably. Reason being is teachers or students don’t
act like this ever, or they’d be expelled. It’s all too over the top,
with random stupidity that would put nearly everyone in the school in
jail. Scene by scene there’s multiple acts of unrealistic, nonsensical
actions that wouldn’t happen in the real world; which brings the film
The only character
that had their act together was that of Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan.
Being an English teacher and an athletic coach, their two roles kept the
environment down to reality. I don’t know what Ice Cube’s role was
supposed to be, but it wasn’t anything I’d choose to see again. Trying
to appear as the tough teacher around campus, known as, “Mr.
Strictland,” he runs around bullying teachers and students pretending
he’s enforcing policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if his character was
picked on as a child, and this was his way of getting revenge. If that
was the case, he needs to get over it. I gave up on him when he tried to
make students watch a documentary on the last day of school instead of
giving great advice that his class can take with them. Not only that,
but him flipping tables, throwing book cases, and taking a fire axe to a
student’s desk while they’re seated was too much to handle. That alone
would probably put you in prison for at least a decade, but for some
reason not this time around. Then you have teachers obsessing over
having sex with minors making it all really disturbing. For some reason,
we’re expected to laugh at all of this.
Though besides Mr.
Strictland running around like a crazed maniac on screen, the script to
keep the film going as far as the Fist Fight taking place had some
imagination. There’s also a moral to the story of what can be
accomplished once someone faces their fears instead of going the other
way and constantly being taken advantage of. While the first half of the
film turned out to be a sluggish disappointment, you eventually put
aside all the exaggerated ridiculousness and start to have fun. That is
all due to the film removing itself from all the unnecessary
A movie can be great for the entire runtime, but end horribly leaving a bad stench on the brain and ruining the whole film experience. Though when it starts out rocky, but picks up at the end, the former can easily be forgotten. The first half is still bothersome, but towards the end things pick themselves up and deliver a good number of laughs. Though nothing like this would ever happen in the real world, as mentioned earlier, it does cater to those thoughts in the back of your mind that you probably had growing up as a child in school. For his first time directing a film, I imagine Richie Keen did the best he could, but this was still a missed opportunity to be something great and different from the norm.