By: Kevin Jordan
I ignored the red flags.
I wish someone had punched me in the face when I decided to watch this movie. Even before I said it out loud, just thinking that thought should have caused someone to run through my door and cold-cock me. I knew – KNEW – Fist Fight was going to be a terrible movie after watching the trailer, but I convinced myself that at least Charlie Day would be funny, so I’d give it a shot. Sometimes my brain is a real jerk.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with how the movie release game is played, here are a couple of red flags you should look for before committing your money and time to watching a movie. As I write this, it’s 9:48pm on Tuesday, 2/14, and there are zero reviews of this film posted to Rotten Tomatoes. Unless the movie is called Star Wars, the only time there are review embargoes this close to wide release is when the studio knows its movie is shit. That’s red flag number one and the last time I saw this kind of embargo was for Independence Day: Resurgence. Yeah.
Red flag number two is when even the wiki page for the film doesn’t have a plot summary or even a plot section. I have never seen this for any movie until now, though to be fair, that one sentence premise is the entire plot of this movie. That’s also the point – the first seventy-five minutes of this ninety-one minute film are foreplay, followed by two minutes of banging it out, followed by eight minutes of cuddling. Wait, hold on…I’m not being fair. The first seventy-five minutes are the kind of foreplay where the other person is either asleep or hypnotized by the shape of the ceiling texture, followed by two minutes of banging it out, followed by eight minutes of wondering how your genitals already feel like a crab-infested lagoon. You’re welcome for that image.
Red flag number three is Ice Cube in a comedy. The man has one character mode called “Fuck you.” This works in very specific movies and none of those movies are comedies. Against my better judgement, I watched Ride Along and regretted every moment of it, so this really should have been the flag that saved an hour and a half of my life. Like I said, sometimes my brain is a real jerk.
I honestly can’t remember if I laughed during the movie, but I seem to recall finding the horse running through the hallways of a high school amusing. But that’s definitely the only time I laughed, if at all. Not even Charlie Day could save this chili-fart of a film, as a trio of writers and one director delivered what can only be described as what a dog is thinking right before it starts licking its own crotch. And that’s closer to literal than you think, as this film featured a multitude of bad dick jokes that even a first-grader would frown at.
Obviously, the lack of comedy is the biggest reason why this movie sucked, but the second biggest reason was that it was impossible to suspend my disbelief, even for as shallow a movie as this. The setup in this film is that it’s the last day of school at Roosevelt High School and the entire senior class is committing as many senior pranks as they can. Paint bombs, vandalism, assault, toilet-papering, horse-theft and more with nary a cop or campus security to be seen. Meanwhile, the principal (Dean Norris) is firing more than thirty teachers because this isn’t a real high school. When some kids mess with Mr. Strickland (Cube), Strickland smashes a bunch of electronics and hacks a desk to pieces with an axe (with a kid barely escaping) in full view of a class full of students and Mr. Campbell (Day). Rather than have him arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, the principal merely fires Strickland after Campbell corroborates the kid’s story. Strickland tells Campbell they’re going to fight after school and Campbell spends the next sixty minutes trying to get out of the fight. At one point, he even calls 9-1-1 to report the threat and the responders laugh at him. Har-har-har – bite me.
Perhaps the dumbest thing that happens is the sanctimonious shit coming out of Strickland’s mouth through much of the film. Displaying a level of Trumpian hypocrisy, Strickland lectures Campbell that telling the principal about the axe incident comes with consequences and that Campbell should take responsibility for his actions. Nevermind that this prick is shirking the responsibility of having just attacked a student with an axe because someone “told on him.” Couple that with the insane level of pranks that would definitely get every student expelled and we have a movie that comes off like what Betsy DeVos and other school voucher proponents must imagine public schools are like as they buy off another congressman.
As I hinted at earlier, there are about two minutes of fight scene that would have been far more worth waiting around for if the rest of the movie hadn’t sucked balls. Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell round out the supporting cast and both are competing with each other to see who can be the least funny. The answer is neither are the least funny because Dean Norris and Ice Cube are in this movie. And, if your brain is as big a jerk as mine and prevents your legs from walking your body out of the theater before the end of the film, be prepared to watch Campbell and his elementary-school daughter close out the film with a dance number featuring Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck With You” which is basically the song version of every Ice Cube character. Man I hate my brain for this film.
Rating: Ask for all of your money back and punch the movie poster on your way out of the theater.