Some movies are governed by such a potent premise that their logline titles tell you everything you need to know. Runaway Train. Castaway. Maniac Cop. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Samuel Jackson is rumored to have signed on to Snakes On A Plane after hearing the title (that’s actually not true).
And so it is with Fist Fight. The trailer opens with a highly economical first second, juxtaposing a mad-as-hell schoolteacher Ice Cube against a scared-shitless schoolteacher Charlie Day—culminating in screaming and a foley-enhanced punch. Ushered in by the sweeping opening of Carl Orff’s overused cantana, Ice Cube’s Ron Strickland makes a quietly intimidating promise to colleague Andy Campbell (Day): “I’m gonna fight you.” And from there, the tempo of “Carmina Burana” escalates the unfolding insanity. The promise of adult fisticuffs causes jubilation among the student body, while unraveling their milquetoast English teacher (#teacherfight is trending hard).
There’s nothing subtle or surprising here, from Christina Hendricks knowing her way around a butterfly knife and Cube taking a fire axe to a school desk, to students cock-punching each other and a hogtied Day being dragged down a hallway by a panicking horse. We can all guess what’s roughly going to happen in Fist Fight, but maybe that doesn’t matter. If the cast (also including Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and Dean Norris) and director Richie Keen (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Shameless) can deliver giddy mayhem that hits all the right beats, that could well be enough. The only thing this movie might be missing is Andy Daly and somebody being set on fire. We’ll find out how tasty this knuckle sandwich is when Fist Fight hits theaters February 17.