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Monday, February 20, 2017

Fist Fight 2017 * 1/2 Stars

Fist FightDirector: Richie Keen
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan

Do you remember 1987's Three O'Clock High? I do. It was on cable a lot. Filmed at Ogden High School (in Ogden, Utah), "High" was about two high schoolers (a bully and a nibish) having a violent fight in said school's parking lot. They came ready with brass knuckles, a huge crowd watching, and surrounding cars as a veritable boxing ring. Three O'Clock High was decent entertainment. It wasn't an Academy Award winner. It wasn't a critical darling. It was just a 101-minute time spacer. Who knew that something similar would be made thirty years later. I didn't.

Anyway, Fist Fight (my latest review) has "High's" blueprint but Father Time makes it a slightly different animal. First off, "Fight" is R-rated and includes drug use, masturbation, penis jokes, and manifest F-bombs. Three O'Clock High on the other hand, is PG-13 with a little humor and some actual drama. "High" is more darkly comedic than anything else. Second, Fist Fight has its end-of-school showdown occurring between two teachers. "High" on the other hand, has two opposite students punching each other to a bloody pulp. Third, "Fight" has the advantage of social media. Thirty years ago in Three O'Clock High, there weren't cell phones, YouTube, Facebook, or hashtags to let people know about the big fight after the final period bell. In Fist Fight, the bloodied up brawl between its combatant characters, ends up on national news. I guess the whole country got to see some of the footage. Heck, I'm not surprised.

Now let's not beat around the bush. You're wondering if I would recommend Fist Fight. Well my answer is a firm no. This is a so-called comedy that is mean-spirited, rude, crude, and lewd. And in truth, no one on screen resembles the actions of any realistic human being. The worst part is that "Fight" with its envelope-pushing level of tactlessness, contains very few laughs. Yeah I chuckled once or twice but that was during a scene where some guy's daughter sings Big Sean's "I Don't F**k with You" at a local talent show. Even then, I felt a little guilty by my actions.

Image result for fist fight movie scenesProtagonist's daughters and minimal guffaws aside, "Fight" is a movie that lives and breathes in its own vacuum. It takes place in a high school environment where students treat the faculty like garbage and get away with it (the inmates basically run the asylum). Also, the principal is bent on firing every departmental teacher without any true reason whatsoever. The fantasy-like plot has nice guy teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day), getting short-tempered teacher Rod Strickland (Ice Cube) fired for taking an ax to one of his student's desks. Angry and fumed, Strickland challenges Campbell to a "fist fight" after school. He proclaims Campbell to get his butt whooped and says quote unquote, "snitches get stitches".

Anyhow, despite my eventual one and a half star rating for Fist Fight, I will say that Ice Cube and Day are perfectly cast for their roles. Charlie Day is basically playing the same wheezily trouper from his Horrible Bosses flicks. His high-pitched voice and improvisation overload however, become grating after a while. As for Ice Cube, well a lot of critics say that he "growls" when he acts. This is true in "Fight". Plus, Cube's every facial expression looks like an overwrought scowl.

Overall, Fist Fight ends with outtakes that are just as lousy as the film itself. I don't know why filmmakers insist on using these tropes. They are tired and feel like something better suited for 10 years ago. It's the same old BS. Actor messes up a scene, everyone laughs and giggles, actor tries different improvisational tactics to complete the scene. Rinse, rinse, repeat. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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