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Fist Fight (Blu-ray Review)

Fist Fight is a comedy that came and went this past winter and accomplishes what it sets out to do in the weakest way it can. Working as a very loose remake of Three O’Clock High, the novelty comes from seeing the meek Charlie Day go up against a very intimidating Ice Cube, all while Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and other random cast members add some jokes in the background. The results are a mixed bag of laughs, where most of the humor is reliant on cursing and the results of letting the camera roll. It fits with a realm of other broad, R-rated comedies, but it does not exactly fit in the upper leagues.

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Film:

Set on the last day of high school, Fist Fight exists in a fantasy world where seniors play an elaborate number of dangerous pranks and are never held accountable. Teachers say and do horrible things that would get them fired in an instant. Those actually in charge are happily sitting back and taken to the extreme as far as failing to make anything better for both educators and the kids. But that only matters depending on your expectations of reality in a film that is built around Ice Cube taking an axe to a student’s desk and Day ratting him out.

Yes, the film revolves around a challenge to a fight made by Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) to Andy Campbell (Day) at the end of the school day. Campbell obviously does not want to fight and spends the day trying to get out of it. Whether it’s through scheming or the advice of a horrible guidance counselor played by Bell and the P.E. coach played by Morgan, Campbell will try his best to figure this all out.

Having the structure of a “one long day” film, Fist Fight is limited to a few locations and gets the most use it can get out of the school and the various characters that keep popping up. The problem is the flimsy script. Since all of the characters are pretty much written to be as loud and big as possible, save for Morgan (who is hilarious) and a brief role from Kumail Nanjiani, there is only so much they can do to play into this story. Were the characters more nuanced, that may have helped the film work in the themes involving the education system. Instead, it’s a lot of people yelling at each other and using the F-word as a constant crutch.

The film isn’t devoid of humor. Day is a reliable source of fun energy, even if the role is pretty typical for him. Cube may be playing one of the only modes he knows how to play, but it works since he’s not a huge part of the film. There’s also the actual fight, which is ridiculous, but something of a highlight. It’s just too bad the level of vulgarity isn’t very clever in relation to the rest of the film. Also not helping is the presence of Dean Norris and Dennis Haysbert, who are given nothing to do with their exceptional talents as stern men amidst absurdity.

Fist Fight has little moments here and there thanks to the comedic cast making up this ensemble, but it doesn’t know how to utilize what it has for the best. Even as a throwaway comedy, it’s not smart enough to play well with other great R-rated comedies. At the end of the day, Fist Fight is far from a knockout.

Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: Unsurprisingly, even with a bad movie, Warner Bros./New Line has a good-looking film on their hands when it comes to this Blu-ray transfer. Richie Keen’s direction may not have been all that involving, but this digitally shot film makes the most out of its bland locations. The level of detail seen in the school setting works well and moments of ambition (the fight) allow for plenty of clarity.

Depth: Good depth work here, as scenes featuring multiple characters feel well-balanced, with no blurring.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep enough, quite rich and feature no sign of crushing.

Color Reproduction: This is a very colorful film, thanks to the various outfits all the students and teachers wear, along with sights of the school, the track fields and more. It all pops, as you have a strong handling on this aspect of the film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones come across quite well, as facial textures allow for an impressive sight of the details found in the characters.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing of note.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: With a lossless track, you get the expected amount of quality audio one would hope for in a studio comedy. Everyone is heard making jokes, but there are bigger moments surrounding the pranks and the big fight that do the film’s audio track a favor. It all sounds as it should – which is balancing the chaos with the comedy.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel gets some fun moments to really shine, as the soundtrack can be pretty aggressive.

Surround Sound Presentation: Given how relatively uncomplicated the sound mix is, this aspect is fine. It’s mostly center-focused, but the rear channels do what they need to. The balance is handled well enough.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sounds clear.

 

Extras:

Not too shocking to see that there isn’t too much in the way of special features. However, it would have been nice to get a bit more from where the writers were coming from in developing the film.

Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 15:23) – Deleted, extended and alternate takes. Plus more outtakes
  • Georgia Film Commission (HD, 2:08) – Standard EPK focused on the Georgia locations of all things.
  • DVD Copy of the Film
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film

 

Summary:

Fist Fight is the kind of movie that will wind up censored on TBS and give audiences some mild joy at most. The R-rated comedy found on this Blu-ray is not a waste of time, but it does feel like a waste of good talent. Not every comedy needs to be ambitious, thematically rich or the best laugh-fest of the year, but just a basic understanding of what makes a functional movie would be nice. I laughed a number of times, but this is pretty forgettable.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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