Fist Fight Blu-ray Review

War: It’s Good for Everything Apparently

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Violence solves everything, according to Fist Fight. Any adults watching Fist Fight probably know better (or should) leaving the movie in a plotless bit of catharsis for teachers. Public school educators will undoubtedly cheer the fantasy of Ice Cube taking an axe to an unruly student’s desk or some confrontations with budget-slashing superintendents. They’re probably not so in line with the meth gags or language though. Hopefully, anyway.

Ice Cube and Charlie Day try their best to piece together a WWE tryout video

Fist Fight takes some 80-minutes to reach the climax predicted by the title. It’s a slog to get there. Charlie Day screeches as he wanders the halls, repeatedly scheming his way out of a brawl with rival teacher Ice Cube, and failing. Badly. Fist Fight doesn’t say much for public schools – the teacher beef spreads across worldwide social media (with a hashtag no less) without any highers ups knowing. Few teachers ever enter their classrooms. Day himself leaves school for a chunk of the day and no one seems to notice or care.

Sitcoms structure themselves better, making the project a fit for TV/first time film director Richie Keen. Fist Fight jumps between scenes erratically, often without logic or sense. Most modern studio comedies do. Even taken as an adult high school fantasy, it’s a wonder what some of these sequence have to do with anything. Few of the characters seem plausible even in this skewered, off-kilter world. Christina Hendricks’ Ms. Monet walks around the school and… that’s it. Her influence on the story is nill.

Warner’s comedy hinges on its leads, with an assist from Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell. Day’s the lone character with an actual arc, connected partly to the fight, and partly to his daughter’s dance recital. Neither story thread particularly stands out. Somewhere, another scriptwriter cries at the predictability, if not at the handful of successfully crude gags.

By the time of the fight, it’s a release. Finally, Fist Fight finds some energy, and it’s a cartoon-like scuffle involving fire extinguishers, broken windshields, and a Mariachi band breaking out the Rocky theme (that’s funny). Ice Cube and Charlie Day try their best to piece together a WWE tryout video. Even though they each take a beating, all is well by the end. Fist Fight ties up so improbably well, somewhere there’s an art teacher ready to go to blows with a music teacher to save their respective classes (and jobs). After all, it worked here in Fist Fight.

Video

Prepare your retinas. Fist Fight comes with incredibly overdone brightness, bleaching out the initial outdoor images to an absurd degree. It continues from there, indoors, with less sunlight to bake the simple cinematography. It’s still too bright and overexposed though, washed out to an exaggerated degree.

Said effect saps energy rather than adds while also draining color. Fist Fight looks unusually peaked. Overdone lighting (or post-production correction) is intrusive, although what saturation does come through works. Accurate flesh tones and solid primaries work well enough.

The key here is detail. Most of Fist Fight is shot in close-up, allowing for exceptional facial definition. Even at distance, say shots of the school football field, superb resolution is notable. Until the finish, there’s limited challenge to Warner’s encode outside of light noise. Come the actual brawl, hundreds of students surround the area excitedly trying to get a view, and without a hint of artifacting.

Audio

Music is one of the few things powering this DTS-HD track, using dynamic range to puff up the soundtrack and catch on the low-end. Dialog never leaves the center and directionality doesn’t offer anything of consequence.

The eventual fight does bring the mix to life, surrounding Ice Cube and Day with students cheering for their preferred teacher. It’s basic crowd noise, but for something as lean as Fist Fight, take what you can get.

Extras

If you’re interested in the Georgia Film Commission, a short two-minute puff piece/commercial is for you. Fifteen minutes of deleted scenes probably offer more to chew on though as a bonus feature.

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