“Fist Fight” is easily one of the most tasteless and worthless movies ever made. For starters, the concept is absolutely ridiculous: raged high school teacher Mr. Strickland (played by Ice Cube) loses his job (after he snaps in class) and he decides to challenge fellow teacher Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day) to fight him in the parking lot at the end of the day. The whys and hows don’t matter, along with nothing else in this trainwreck.
Strickland not only sees this as an opportunity to physically beat Andy, the only apparent “nice guy” in the faculty, but also to teach the students a lesson about responsibility, and to show the administration that the public school system is failing.
What studio executives thought this was a good concept for a movie? They, along with the entire cast, crew, and everyone else involved in the making of “Fist Fight”, are scarred for life for any part they played in bringing this to the screen.
One adjustment I suspect was made early in production was a title change from “Teacher Fight” to “Fist Fight”. Throughout the movie the phrase “teacher fight” is mentioned several times, but I’m guessing the MPAA and other organizations would have frowned upon that title. If only there had been dozens of other changes, such as gutting the entire writing staff, shredding the script and, frankly, scrapping the project entirely.
Here are just a few of the outrageous and (worse) unfunny elements of “Fist Fight”:
- A teacher having open conversations with other teachers about taking drugs and wanting to have sex with students
- A teacher and student doing a drug deal – in a classroom
- A teacher using a giant ax to smash student desks
- A female teacher randomly walking into a boys bathroom
- Everyone knowing about this “fight” and no one stopping it
- An elementary school girl rapping a Big Sean song, complete with all the f-bombs and other profanity. Frankly, I’m surprised SAG-AFTRA allowed the young actress to film this scene.
Yes, I know this is supposed to be a comedy. But to be funny, situational comedy has to have a basis in truth, facts, the real world! There’s is NOTHING remotely authentic about any of the situations in “Fist Fight”, which is one of the reasons why there isn’t a single element of humor in the entire, mercifully short, 91 minutes (including the lame final credits outtakes).
The story is set on the last day of school, with all the seniors pulling-off pranks. And while this is a high school tradition, stunts such as students mowing the football field into shapes of private parts or stealing a horse from a local racetrack, giving it Meth and having it run through the school only happen in awful movies. And there a few scenes that I don’t want to even mention here. Let’s just say it’s amazing they were written into the script, let alone shot and included in the final cut.
All the teachers in “Fist Fight” are portrayed as perverts, psychos, weirdos or just plain stupid. Same for the administrators. And the “message” about the plight of teachers in the public school system is the only laughable element in this first feature effort by director Richie Keen.
Trust me, going into “Fist Fight” I wasn’t expecting “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, but I never dreamed it could be this bad. As a critic, rarely is there a case when I could leave a movie – just walk out…with no regrets. But I very easily could’ve walked out of “Fist Fight” after the first 20 minutes.
I was most looking forward to seeing Tracy Morgan back on screen. He plays a P.E. coach, in his first movie role since the 2014 vehicle crash in which he suffered a near-fatal head injury. The saddest, most cringe-worthy scene in “Fist Fight” features Morgan describing, in gruesome and “comedic” detail, how severe blunt trauma to the skull causes brain damage. Are. You. Kidding. Me?
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Fist Fight” gets an F.
Running Time: 91 min.