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Film Review: Fist Fight

  • NQ's Emily Wade reviews Fist Fight
  • The comedy, featuring Charlie Day and Ice Cube, centres around a last-day-of-School punch-up between two highschool teachers   

With a promising cast of established actors, including Ice Cube, Charlie Day and Dean Norris, the expectations for Fist Fight were admittedly set pretty high.

Written by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser and directed by Evan Susser, Fist Fight follows Andy Campbell (Charlie Day), a typical English teacher whose job is currently on the line while his wife is overdue with their second child. Add in the appearance of Ice Cube’s menacing character, History teacher, Ron Strickland, who is desperate for a fight after he loses his job, and the outcome seems pretty obvious. 

Having only been released on 3 March, Fist Fight has already received $32.6 million in worldwide box office sales.

Like every other film set in an American high school, this one features drugs, underage sex, crude language and bullying, however what sets it apart from them is the irrelevance of the students. Aside from the usual drug dealing kid and the occasional comedic appearance of a couple of others, the film might as well ignore them.

After an altercation with a student and an axe on senior prank day, Strickland challenges Campbell to a fight after school. Soon the word spreads with even the media wanting to cover the fight. Campbell tries numerous ways to avoid fighting, resorting to calling the police and attempting to plant drugs. Although there is the occasional laugh evoking scene, the comedic element of the film could have been much better, not even the racehorse on Crystal Meth could save it.

About half an hour into the film, a group of people walked out with their coats in hand, presumably struggling to stay awake with the slow paced nature of the film, however the rest of the audience stayed, leaving around ten people in a full sized theatre.

The only stand out part of this film was the acting, most notably Jillian Bell’s portrayal of a drug addict guidance councillor with an unhealthy obsession with her students.

Although the concluding fight between both teachers extracts a chuckle from most of the audience and almost makes up for the sluggish paced build up, it was most definitely overshadowed by a performance by Campbell’s daughter. The harmless middle school pupil, played by Alexa Nisenson, performs her own rendition of ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’ by Big Sean, alongside her father, aimed at her school bully. This, in turn, inspires Campbell to stand up to Strickland after spending the day avoiding the inevitable fight. This performance alone makes the film worth watching.

There’s no denying Charlie Day and Ice Cube work great as a duo, but their talent was most definitely wasted on Fist Fight. Comedies are meant for easy watching, however they usually leave an imprint on your mind and make you want to watch again, this one will be completely forgotten as soon as you leave the cinema.  

If you’re looking for a harmless, less intellectually challenging film and don’t mind throwing your money away on the extortionate cinema prices, then maybe this film is for you, however be prepared to sleep through the majority of the film until it starts to pick up about half an hour to the end.

 

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