(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Imagine if the character Deebo (Tiny “Zeus” Lister, Jr.) from the cult classic “Friday” spent his days as a schoolteacher and not the neighborhood bully.
Instead of bullying people out of their money or jewelry, he bullies students in the hallway for behavioral problems.
Imagine Ice Cube’s signature angry growl with the aforementioned character traits and you have his character Mr. Strickland in “Fist Fight.”
Now, combine Red’s (D.J. Pooh) docile and weak personality traits also from the classic movie “Friday” mixed with some of Craig’s (Ice Cube) frustration with the bullying tactics of Deebo and you have Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) in “Fist Fight.”
The opposite personalities of the two lead characters result in a hilarious comedy, which might be the tone setter for comedies in 2017.
In “Fist Fight,” Strickland and Campbell teach at Georgia’s Roosevelt High School, which appears to be the most out of control campus in America.
Many of the teachers have no authority over their students.
Some of the administrators are only concerned with having sex with the students, which makes Roosevelt High no different than any other high school in America.
However, others like Strickland take their jobs way too seriously, cussing at students and destroying their desks with an axe when they hide things like cell phones.
Contrarily, Campbell is the pushover at the school.
He lets the children get away with murder and lets his colleagues get away with even more.
All Campbell wants to do is get through the last day of school and keep his job despite impending budget cuts, make it to his daughter’s talent show and be their for his wife when their child is born.
However, when Campbell is forced to snitch on Strickland for the axe and desk incident, he soon finds out that snitches get stiches.
In “Fist Fight,” Campbell has to endure the day from hell and hope that his hell is not extended any longer than necessary.
“Fist Fight” is remarkably funny from the pranks the high school seniors play like cutting obscene pictures into the football field to the horse running through the school high on crystal meth.
Strickland is a straight “pyscho” and probably one of the reasons many parents homeschool their children.
Coach Crawford (Tracy Morgan) has made losing in athletic competition a tradition at Roosevelt High School.
And Campbell’s daughter Ally (Alexa Nisenson) might actually be the scene stealer with her inappropriate performance of Big Sean’s obscene rap song, “IDFWU.” Ally literally has a drop the mic performance in which she shuts all of her haters up.
“Fist Fight” has enough fight to be up to par with Ice Cube’s other comedy classics like the “Friday” trilogy, “Barbershop” and “First Sunday.”
Furthermore, his chemistry with Day is excellent.
Day also shines as the timid English teacher and it is refreshing to finally see him stand up for himself regardless of the consequences.
Like many students, Campbell has to come to the realization that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to that bully, for better or worse.
And while no other Ice Cube comedy will ever truly challenge “Friday” for supremacy, “Fist Fight” is up for the challenge of second or third place in the Ice Cube comedy canon.