Watch the balls fly in this hilarious, action-packed comedy starring Christopher Walken (Hairspray) and George Lopez (The George Lopez Show)! When former professional table tennis phenomenon Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) is ... more »recruited by FBI Agent Rodriguez« less
"(To the tune of Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee lewis)
You shake your hips as you paddle the ball So much work hitting balls that small Your turn to serve, just watch that curve Goodness gracious, great balls of fury I watched this film and I thought it was funny Though if you rent you'll save some money Your funny bone will creak and groan Goodness gracious, great balls of fury
This is an irreverent but funny film about extreme table tennis, and I do mean EXTREME, especially when playing in Christopher Walken's domain. Randy Daytona, (Dan Fogler from Good Luck Chuck) plays the unlikely hero, a former Olympian who discovers that it's a small world after all, and who is coerced by the FBI to play undercover ping pong in a sting operation against Walken's character, Feng.
This takes place nineteen years after his last Olympic appearance, and an out of shape Randy goes through some "Karate Kid" moments with his teacher Wong (James Hong), and Wong's niece (played by Maggie Q) before being invited to Feng's place for some ball paddling. The next section pays homage to the Bruce Lee mega movie "Enter the Dragon", before the shocking conclusion.
Packed with low blows, slapstick and full frontal stereotyping of several ethnicities, nationalities and persuasions, this is not a movie for the easily offended, or those who demand realism in a movie. Let me hasten to say that I didn't find it distasteful or vulgar, and that the actors obviously enjoyed themselves hamming it up to the max, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Definitely worth renting for those times when you need some stress free comedy, and don't feel like overloading a brain cell or two.
Amanda Richards, November 21, 2007 "
Anyone for Table Tennis?
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 08/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even if the title weren't a double entendre, "Balls of Fury" would still be a funny movie. I suppose it's no wonder that something so unnecessary can still be enjoyable; mindless comedies are sometimes a welcome diversion. This isn't to say that all mindless comedies are good. A year ago saw the release of "Beerfest," a film I recommended only for the thrill of watching an awful film trying to work and failing every step of the way. Unlike that film, "Balls of Fury" has actual ambition to be funny, not just through juvenile humor, but also through character development, setting, and plot. This movie is by no means a masterpiece, and I suspect that it will be forgotten fifty years down the line. But for all intents and purposes, it still accomplished its goal of making the audience laugh.
The film opens in 1988, when twelve-year-old Ping Pong prodigy Randy Daytona (Brett DelBuono) competes at the summer Olympics. His crushing defeat put an end to a future in professional Ping Pong. It also resulted in the death of his father (Robert Patrick), who unwisely made a bet with an underground Chinese faction. We see the result of Daytona's misfortune when we flash forward to present day: he's reduced to doing Ping Pong tricks in a Reno lounge act. Daytona (now played by Dan Fogler) has clearly let himself go; he's overweight, unkempt, and generally unconnected with his audience (most of which don't seem to know that he's on stage).
But things begin to change with FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) approaches him with a mission: To infiltrate the secret world of underground Ping Pong and find a ruthless weapons dealer known only as Feng. In order to prepare for his mission, Daytona is taken to Chinatown and introduced to Master Wong (James Hong), a blind restaurant owner who coaches Ping Pong players in his spare time. Daytona also meets Wong's niece, Maggie (Maggie Q), a woman whose driving force is equal parts Ping Pong and martial arts. Both of these traits are appropriately overplayed, as seen when she's matched against many players at once; not only does she hit every ball that flies across the table, she also answers the phone to take an order. When the game is over, she fights them all. Why this was deemed necessary, I have no idea, but I suppose analyzing it would be pointless.
After intense training, and after winning a game against The Dragon (a Chinese girl no more than nine), Daytona finally gets Feng's attention and is invited to compete in his tournament, which is held somewhere deep in the jungles of Central America. Upon their arrival, Daytona, Wong, and Rodriguez finally meet the elusive Feng (Christopher Walken), a man who couldn't be less Asian even if he tried. This, of course, is part of the joke, as is his appearance. His ornate robes, delicate hairdo, and pasty makeup give him a look that's incredibly over the top; at one point, Wong wonders if Feng still dresses in clothes from Elton John's garage sale.
The climactic tournament scenes pit Daytona against the world's best Ping Pong champions. This includes Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon), an arrogant German who claims to practice nude in front of a mirror (I think it's safe to take his word for it). He also defeated Daytona at the 1988 Olympics. In a plot device perfectly suitable for a comedy of this sort, Daytona can now show his arch nemesis what he's capable of. But he has to be careful; all players are subjected to Sudden Death, meaning they will be killed if they lose. I won't say how the rest of the film plays out, but I will say this; if you're into these kinds of movies, then how it plays out will most likely be the last thing on your mind.
I don't know if I've been describing a film anyone would want to see. As I've already said, this is a mindless comedy, a silly parody free from anything even remotely enlightening or meaningful. But I'd by lying if I said that I didn't find it funny. Not hysterical, mind you, but funny nonetheless. Consider a moment when a riddle engraved on a golden Ping Pong paddle is examined: Maggie translates the Chinese characters into English, after which Daytona gives an impressive interpretation of it's meaning. But logical thinking had nothing to do with it; he was only reading the back of the paddle, which explained the riddle in English.
If that joke doesn't do it for you, then maybe you'd prefer Daytona and a male courtesan playing Boggle, or a cameo by Patton Oswalt as an asthmatic Ping Pong champion. Whatever suits your fancy, "Balls of Fury" is sure to deliver on some level, which is just as much a relief as it is a bizarre thing to say. I say this because comedic escapism is an indulgence, like eating a big slice of chocolate cake after weeks of dieting. "Balls of Fury" is to audiences as cake is to someone on a diet. Enjoy sparingly."
Ron | Jersey | 01/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film is the best and worst of comedies. It certainly had some funny moments, but there were way too many dry spells. Set in the seedy underworld of ping pong with Walken playing a chinese triad member who arranges illegal ping pong tournaments, this is a crazy very of Enter the Dragon. Look for Jason Scott Lee(who played Bruce Lee) in a funny role. In fact, you will spot a lot of well known comedy actors making appearances big and small. Fogler is alright in the role, though he seems to be aping Jack Black for most of the film. I enjoyed the film, but I was glad I just rented it instead of buying."
Uneven, But A Great No-Brainer
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 12/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Take one part ENTER THE DRAGON with Bruce Lee. Take one part KARATE KID, only with ping pong as a martial art. Take one part RUSH HOUR with mismatched partners and support groups. And one part normal Christopher Walken craziness. Shake well, cut down to 90 minutes, and drive this baby across the screen like a man-eating tiger driven through the jungle before angry drummers.
BALLS OF FURY is definitely not Oscar-winning material. It's not even a real story. It's a loosely defined spy/revenge film with over-the-top acting, humor, and insane moment.
Still, this is one of those movies that never once takes itself too seriously - or seriously at all, for that matter - yet somehow manages to deliver entertainment all the same. The overall plot that hangs everything together is laughable, though not in a good way. It's so contrived that it actually works better that way than if it tried to take itself seriously.
Dan Fogler stars as Randy Daytona. At 12 years old, he was an Olympic hopeful. Unfortunately, his father (Robert Patrick) has a gambling addiction and bet on him. That unnerved young Randy and he lost to a German opponent. His father was summarily killed by Feng (Christopher Walken in an inspired role of basically spoofing himself).
Fast forward 19 years and Randy is a matinee novelty act who refuses to play in competition any more. The bits are funny, but they're not big laughs. Still, they get the job done as FBI Agent Rodriguez (George Lopez) drafts Randy into serving his country. Rodriguez believes that Feng, now a notorious international crime lord, can be gotten to by a champion-level ping-pong player.
Right off the bat, though, Randy isn't any match for competition. He gets stomped, and that segues directly to Rodriguez taking Randy to Feng's mentor, Wong (played wonderfully whacky by veteran James Hong). The laughs start coming steadily at this point, but martial arts superstar Maggie Q seizes the spotlight on several occasions with her looks and her fighting abilities.
The violence stemming from Wong's decision to train a white man in ping-pong is pure Asian theater, complete down to the destruction of the school and the threats. So is the showdown, though when the Dragon turned out to be something that doesn't fit the normal idea of a really tough bad guy, I was thrown for a loop. I looked forward to the match, and it was over far too quickly. This movie truly keeps things moving along.
After a brief victory celebration that doesn't end up near any way Randy thought it might, he gets approached by Feng's men (who were obviously just waiting to deliver the gold paddle invitation). A funny, out-of-character bit happens when the threatening guy has to ask for directions back to the highway. Even the dramatic music grinds to a halt.
From there, the film goes more into spy-spoof mode and turns up the ENTER THE DRAGON drive. Lopez gets some funny moments, but this is truly primarily Christopher Walken's shtick and Fogler even hangs onto everything Walken does. You can tell Walken is having the time of his life playing himself playing an Asian warlord. Other than his dress, he doesn't try to put on anything - no prosthetics and no makeup - to try to look Chinese.
BALLS OF FURY is tame enough to be considered a family show, but it's not going to deliver any information or emotion that's going to stay with you long. This one is a great entertainment when you're looking for a no-brainer and a chance to see Christopher Walken in action. "
"What part of 'Sudden Death' don't you understand?"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For me the reason that "Balls of Fury" works is because it is centered on the simple idea of making a kung-fu movie about ping-pong. Okay, specifically this 2007 comedy is about the world of underground ping-pong, but you get the idea. Consequently, director Robert Ben Garant is able to chart quite a different course than in parody movies where if you have not seen the films they are making fun of then you do not really get the joke. There are certainly pop culture references throughout the film (you can say "cricket," but people of my generation will think "grasshopper" as in "Kung Fu"), but these are clearly homages rather than parodies. Plus, the movie pays as much attention to the ping-pong part of the equation as it does the kung-fu stuff. Besides, "Balls of Fury" has Christopher Walken, an actor whose fractured cadences and idiosyncratic sense of emphasis would make a reading of a random page from the phone book a comic tour de force.
The framework for "Balls of Fury" is your basic sports story of redemption, beginning at the table tennis semi-finals of the 1988 Olympics, where 12-year-old Randy Daytona (Brett DelBuono), the prohibitive favorite, goes down in ignominious defeat (literally). There are a couple of other crosses for Randy to bear, and 19 years later doing table tennis shtick at a casino, Randy (Dan Fogler) is approached by FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) to help bring down the arch criminal Feng (Walken). Out of shape for competitive ping-pong, Randy turns to Wong (James Hong), a blind master, whose niece Maggie (Maggie Q) distracts our hero from his mission: to be invited to Feng's Sudden Death Ping Pong Tournament. So we have all of the basic ingredients for this genre: the training process, the distracting romance, and the deadly competition in the final act.
I certainly liked seeing Dan Fogler get a chance to play the lead in a movie off of his success creating the role of William Barfée in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," which earned him the 2005 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. There is a role in this world for large male comic actors, and hopefully Fogler will get some more opportunities to fill that niche after this one. "Balls of Fury" might not do much for competitive ping pong, under or above ground, but it certainly gives the legacy of Def Leppard a shot in the arm and see people tracking down "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (actually it was the most popular song played by the DJ at the last wedding I attended). I have to round up on this film just for that song alone."