On the last day of school, when high school teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day – The Lego Movie, Pacific Rim) unwittingly causes the dismissal of tough fellow teacher Strickland (Ice Cube – xXx: Return of Xander Cage , 22 Jump Street), he is challenged to a Fist Fight after-school fight.
From the very beginning, the film feels forced, engaging us with a barrage of stilly student pranks and bad behaviour, that feel more like telling us they are out of control, as opposed to actually creating some context for them as teen characters.
Moving on to the main characters, and excusing their actual behaviour, which at times feels like in reality it would be skirting the law, but it is rather difficult to support Andy on his journey as underdog, as the character is both annoying, and seemingly without any knowledge of the world. It’s a wonder how he became a teach at all. He would certainly not have survived an entire year with those kids, let alone the many years he has allegedly had his job for. A job which, along with most other teachers as this public school, is on the line with budget and staff cuts.
Strickland feels like he is ready to explode, and as such would have been a better fit for a slasher film, rather than a half-hearted attempt at adolescent comedy. One feels he has his own very special set of “playground rules”, and beware the person who gets in the way of those.
Fist Fight is a pretty shallow story, aimed at the adolescents it portrays, and should keep them happy for the duration of the film. For those not falling into that category, it is likely to irritate, so choose wisely.
Overall, the disc is of a reasonable quality, technically, save for some terrible compression artefacts on the menu. The main feature, is one of an acquired taste, and feels rather humourless.
Fist Fight is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen during the main feature. Colours are vibrant, with no visible colour bleed. Detail is maintained adequately in darker scenes.
Viewers with the necessary hardware or software could scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, wtih the weight of the audio carried via the front channels. There is not much use of surrounds, but this is understandable, given the genre and nature of the story.
The main menu contains three button that seem to come from a pre-built template one would find in a DVD authoring software package. They provide options to play the film, access languages and subtitles, and view the deleted scenes (this is not a sub-menu, but instead just plays all the deleted scenes, with an on-screen title before each). These buttons are also marked with text labels.
The compression on the main menu is very high, providing for a mass of on-screen artefacts on the still background image. On a larger screen, this looks just plain awful, but it is only the menu, and so doesn’t interfere with the film itself, rather leaving more room, in theory, for the use of less compression of the main title.
The deleted scenes don’t add too much to the film, or value of the disc, and feel as if they were added just for the sake of having extras on the disc. They are on about the same level of humourlessness as the actual film.