out of Five
Running time: 90
Balls of Fury isn't quite as funny as it thinks it is, but there are some good gags and it's worth seeing for Christopher Walken's performance.
What's it all about?
Dan Fogler plays Randy Daytona, a former Ping Pong whiz kid who hasn't played for 20 years after the murder of his father (Robert Patrick) by the notorious Feng (Christopher Walken), because of gambling debts incurred from betting on Randy's games. However, when FBI agent Rodriguez (George Lopez) offers him the chance to help capture his father's killer, Randy agrees to pick up the paddle once more, in order to enter a secret Ping Pong tournament in Feng's mysterious jungle compound.
In order to help him train, Randy enlists the help of blind Ping Pong guru Wong (James Wong) and the paddle-based expertise of his sexy niece, Maggie (Maggie Q). Can Randy avenge his father, win the girl and defeat his arch Ping Pong nemesis, Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon)?
Part sports comedy, part Kung Fu movie parody, Balls of Fury employs a scattershot approach to gags, throwing everything imaginable at the screen in the hopes that some of it will stick. Fortunately, some of it does, although the gross-out gags don't work at all.
Fogler is much more likeable here than he was in Good Luck Chuck and there's strong comic support from George Lopez (who gets several good lines), while Maggie Q is allowed to do a lot more than just provide eye candy / love interest. However, the main reason to see the film is Christopher Walken, whose Fu Manchu-inspired performance is consistently amusing.
The script could have used a little bit more focus, particularly towards the end, where the film struggles to integrate the sports movie and the thriller elements. It also seems as if several scenes have been cut out – for example, Terry Crews hardly appears in the film, despite featuring in the poster.
Balls of Fury is never quite as funny as its title, but there are some nice ideas and the strong comic performances ensure that it remains watchable.