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Movie Review: "Fist Fight"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 2/17/2017

Theatrical Release: 2/17/2017

Synopsis

It is the last day of the school year, and for teachers, that means one thing: senior pranks. Every year, seniors pull all sorts of pranks on their teaches, and they always try to out-do the pranks of the seniors that came before them. It is all in good fun for the students, but it can become a nightmare for the teachers. Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) and Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) are two such teachers. Both are trying to keep their cool amidst all the pranks. They just need to get through the day, and then they will be in the clear until next year.

When Ron Strickland inevitably loses his cool in a big way, the school has no choice but to fire him. He blames Andy Campbell for not having his back, so Ron has a score to settle. He tells Andy Campbell that they are going to fight after school. He sets a time, he sets a place, he claims that he is going to kick Andy Campbell’s ass, and he does all of this in front of the entire school. The upcoming fight is getting a lot of hype around school, and there seems to be no way out for Andy.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Premise (+3pts)

The Execution (-4pts)

Charlie Day & Ice Cube (+4pts)

The Comedy (-4pts)

The Fight (+3pts)

The Ending (-3pts)

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Pro: The Premise (+3pts)

I really liked this premise. It was a ridiculous idea that set up the movie perfectly. I knew that it was a movie that would not take itself too seriously, and I knew there will be some ridiculous, physical comedy along the way. I also knew that one teacher was essentially a bully, while the other was a helpless victim.

It was a familiar story, but making it about teachers made it drastically more ridiculous. The premise told us what kind of movie this was, while also peaking your interest, and leaving me curious to see how the whole thing would play out. The movie ended up being at its best while it was focused on that premise, but the filmmakers unfortunately had a tough time doing that. I will get into that a little later, but know that the movie had a decent premise, which was both funny and engaging whenever the movie was focused on it.

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Con: The Execution (-4pts)

As I mentioned before, this movie was at its best when it was focused on the premise. Unfortunately, it seemed like the filmmakers did not have much of a story to tell in relation to that premise. This meant they needed to add additional storylines, and it meant those storylines would not be entirely relevant to the premise. One of their solutions was to add storylines for each of the two teachers’ personal lives. These storylines added context to these characters, and they added drama, but they ultimately distracted focus from what this movie should have been. I am all for setting these characters up in ways that would make them more than one-dimensional, but I thought the movie would have been better off if the filmmakers cut these personal storylines and gave even more focus to the premise—by having more silly, crazy, and ridiculous things happening to the teachers in the school.

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Pro: Charlie Day & Ice Cube (+4pts)

These two actors were perfect for these two roles. The filmmakers needed someone to comedicaly play a teacher that would be in an absolute panic over a potentially having to fight a bully. They could not have found a more fitting actor than Charlie Day. They also needed someone who could play an intimidating, hot-heated bully with a short fuse, and I think we all know that Ice Cube could do that.

I had some trouble buying that Ice Cube’s character would have ever had the patience to be a teacher, but this was not a movie to be taken too seriously, so I thought he worked as a teacher in the context of this movie. I also thought the two actors had pretty decent chemistry with one another. This probably had a lot to do with the two actors being perfect for their respective roles, and the movie being written around their relationship with one another, but I still thought there was decent chemistry between them. Say what you want about this movie and its issues, but these two actors are entertaining and they were perfect casting choices for these two characters.

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Con: The Comedy (-4pts)

Unfortunately, the comedy in this movie left a lot to be desired. It was not terrible, as there were some moderately entertaining moments scattered throughout, but for the most part, the comedy was chuckle worthy at best. The movie had such a silly and ridiculous premise, and the comedy had the potential of being great. The number of potentially hilarious moments that could have come out of this premise were seemingly infinite, but it always felt like the filmmakers were holding back. This movie could have been filled with laugh-out-loud moments, but the filmmakers seemed afraid to let their premise loose, as the movie was never really that funny.

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Pro: The Fight (+3pts)

This entire movie built toward the fight between the two teachers, as should come as no surprise to anyone who knows what this movie is about. I thought the fight ended a bit too quickly—when considering how much build up there was—but I thought the fight was pretty entertaining while it was happening. I do not want to give any of it away, but it ended up being a lot more than just Ice Cube's character mopping the floor with Charlie Day's character. There was plenty of chaos and humor, each character had their share of moments, and it all felt pretty climactic. Again, I would have liked to have seen it go on for a bit longer, but I found it pretty entertaining anyway.

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Con: The Ending (-3pts)

I liked the fight while it was happening, but the ending of the fight felt a little cheap. The whole movie was building toward the confrontation between these two characters, so the way the filmmakers ended the fight felt like they took the lazy way out. This is supposed to be a non-spoiler review, so I will not give anything away, but the fight was disappointing, and it made all of the build up feel somewhat pointless. This was just a comedy after all, so I did not think this hurt the movie too much, but the whole movie was building toward this showdown, and the ending felt like somewhat of a cop out.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C- (74pts)

The best thing about this movie was its premise. It was just the right amount of ridiculous for a comedy like this one, and it ended up making for a pretty entertaining climax. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to lose sight of the premise. Maybe it was done to add filler and increase the run-time, or maybe the filmmakers simply got distracted while writing the script. Either way, the result was a movie that spent more time setting up the main characters’ irrelevant personal lives, and not enough time focused on the premise.

The comedy was not terrible, but it could have and should have been a lot better, and I thought the fight ended in a pretty disappointing way that felt like more of a cop out than a satisfying conclusion to this story. Fortunately, I thought Charlie Day and Ice Cube were perfect casting choices for their respective roles. They were pretty entertaining, and they were able to make up for some of this movie's issues. At the end of the day, I would not exactly say that this was a bad movie. It just felt like the filmmakers had a decent premise, but they did not have a well-thought out script to go along with that premise, and they ended up botching the execution as a result.

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