Getting physical with the cast of 'Fist Fight'

Posted February 18, 2017

"Fist Fight" asks you to accept a freaky parallel universe in which inner-city school teachers settle their differences with after-school rumbles that are advertised by Taiwanese animators on YouTube.

Usually it's the students who start fights in high school, but in Ice Cube's newest movie "Fist Fight", it's the teachers who are up to no good. Fist Fight's logline is succinct and easy to put on a poster, and while it would've been nice to make the marketers work a little harder, to have a story that was more about character and less about concept, even failing that, someone should've realized that this concept doesn't give anyone much to do. I love what you had to say.

"'I got hit by a truck". "I hadn't been in front of a camera, so I didn't know [what it would be like]". With just one day's notice he flew to Atlanta to meet the Barbershop star. Still, Ice Cube and Day gleefully send up their tough versus timid onscreen personas, and the supporting cast earns enough laughs of their own to justify an outing for this fitfully amusing February release.

Not that you should be looking to Fist Fight for moral guidance; there might be something seriously wrong if you do. I would hop on my bike and I'd go watch them film. There's nothing creative or clever or subversive about Fist Fight.

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It's the last day of school, and all Andy has to do is not get fired as part of the poorly timed downsizing meetings that are happening, take time out of his day to perform a daddy-daughter musical number at her elementary school, and generally survive the wacky and really unsafe pranks the outgoing seniors are performing. Strickland vows to fight Campbell at the end of the school day, and news of the rumble spreads faster than your thumbs can type #teacherfight. Kids drug horses with meth and rig them with paint buckets to run around hallways; the principal's auto is vandalized; pictures of male genitals are secretly planted everywhere, from whiteboards to the football field. Had the races been flipped - let's say Jordan Peele as the nerd, and Kid Rock as the bully - might that have been funnier?

In the end, Fist Fight bit off more than it could chew.

Much of the film consists of Campbell's ineffectual efforts to forestall the inevitable, in a grown-up evocation of the 1987 comedy "Three O'Clock High" (a far better film about a wuss trying to avoid a beatdown by a schoolyard bully).

With his squeaky voice and fidgeting, the capable Day ("Horrible Bosses") convincingly becomes a milquetoast who always seems to be on the verge of throwing a tantrum in private.

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Word of the impending fight quickly spreads, not just among the social media-addicted students, but also with an unsympathetic 911 operator (Kym Whitley), who assumes at first that Campbell is a student anxious about a fight.

Also starring in "Fist Fight" is Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks and Dennis Haysbert, among a number of others.

"I'm just happy to be working". "Fist Fight" is not one of them. And they don't even have good comedic chemistry together.

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