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Blu Tuesday: Fist Fight and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on social media with your friends.

“Fist Fight”

Comedy works best when it’s grounded in real situations, but nothing about “Fist Fight” feels even remotely realistic, starting with its titular premise. Most of the teachers in this film wouldn’t pass a background check, let alone display the competence to run a classroom, while Ice Cube’s hot-headed teacher would have been fired long before swinging an axe into a student’s desk. (Side note: If he was already feared among everyone in the school, what kid would think that provoking him was a good idea?) Unfortunately, co-writers Van Robichaux and Evan Susser have put so little thought into the screenplay that the movie is filled with these kinds of questions. That might have been excusable if “Fist Fight” was actually funny, but not even Charlie Day’s manic energy can save this film.

Extras include a brief featurette on location shooting in Georgia and some deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

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Movie Review: “Fist Fight”

Starring
Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert
Director
Richie Keen

The first two-thirds of “Fist Fight” play like a Ben Stiller movie from the early 2000s. Our hero is kind but doesn’t assert himself and is perceived to be a loser by everyone around him, including the ones he loves (and supposedly love him). This part of the movie is less fun, because from a filmmaking standpoint (and in life), picking on the 98-pound weakling doesn’t take any courage or risks. When our hero finally sticks up for himself, the movie feeds off his adrenaline and begins to soar, culminating in a rather spectacular finish. The path to the ending is littered with dick jokes, but “Fist Fight” makes the early hardships worthwhile. Just barely, though.

It is the last day of the school year and Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is a high school English teacher just trying to get through the day so he can help out his daughter at her talent contest. Andy tries to help Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) get a video started, and when Andy discovers that a student is responsible for the repeated malfunctions, Mr. Strickland loses it, grabbing a weapon from the hallway and terrorizing the students. Andy and Strickland go before the principal, who lays an impossible ultimatum on the two: either one of them confesses or tattles, or they’re both fired. Andy’s wife has already missed her delivery date with their second child, so Andy rats out Strickland to keep his job. Strickland tells Andy that he’s going to fight him after school is out. Andy knows he’s going to get clobbered, so he tries everything he can to back out of it, failing miserably in the process.

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