Balls of Fury – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director:
Robert Ben Garant

Cast:
Dan Fogler….Randy Daytona
Christopher Walken…..Feng
George Lopez….Agent Ernie Rodriquez
Maggie Q….Maggie Wong
James Hong….Master Wong
Aisha Tyler….Mahogany
Thomas Lennon….Karl Wolfschtagg

Universal Home Video presents Balls of Fury. Screenplay by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. Running time: 91 minutes. Rated PG-13. Theatrical release: August 29, 2007. DVD released Dec. 18, 2007.

The Movie

Why does Ping-Pong seem like such a happy fun activity, but quickly devolves into a blood sport? How many sweet afternoons with cousins ended with a lifelong family feud thanks to a hollow plastic ball, a green table and a paddle that “accidentally” went upside a head? Balls of Fury taps into the raw aggression that rages from table tennis. The film exposes an underground tournament so ruthless that sudden death is taken seriously. Don’t mistake this for serious movie. It’s from the guys behind Reno 911!

If you haven’t seen Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, then you will not fully appreciate Balls of Fury. You need to get your hands on the two-disc special edition of Enter the Dragon so you get the little jokes. Also it’d be useful to watch “A Fistful of Yen” from The Kentucky Fried Movie. Make sure you catch The Karate Kid on cable. It’s probably on right now. To cap it all off, eyeball Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which stars Jason Scott Lee. He also appears in Balls of Fury. Now after you’ve digested all these movies, you’ll be prepared to catch the spoof moments instead of asking, “What’s the point of that joke?”

What is the joke? Randy Daytona, a teenage Ping-Pong prodigy is about to capture gold and glory at the Seoul Olympics. His father ends up involved with Asian mobsters headed by the mysterious Feng. When Randy chokes under the spotlight, his dad is executed. Randy retreats from the competitive world. He performs Ping-Pong tricks at a casino’s buffet in Reno. But he can’t hide all his life. His nation needs him. Feng hosts a top secret tournament featuring the greatest Ping-Pong players in the world. The FBI wants Randy to get back in the game so he can infiltrate the tourney. They need proof of Feng’s gun running operation on his hidden compound. Randy wants a chance to revenge his father’s death.

Since Randy hasn’t been playing opponents for nearly twenty years, he’s a bit rusty. He has to relearn the game through the training and wisdom of Master Wong, a blind restaurateur. This is where all the Karate Kid spoof moments happen. He eventually gets the invitation from Feng. The tournament is as outlandish as promised. The mobster also has a sick way of treating his honored guests to carnal comforts. This segment is a spoof of Enter the Dragon.

Dan Fogler is hilarious in the role of Randy. He looks like Sam Kinison’s son except Fogler’s able to perform physical comedy. He busts out Sammo Hung moves behind the table. The guy won a Tony a few years back so he’s got acting chops. He’s perfect for his moments of Def Leppard worship when he busts into “Rock of Ages.”

The true star of the film is James Hong as Master Wong. He elevates Folger when the uneven script could have easily let the newcomer flounder. Hong’s been in films since 1955 and it stinks that when he finally gets a major role, they don’t even feature his face on the DVD box cover. He steals the movie from Christopher Walken. Hong wipes the floor with George Lopez. Without Hong, this movie would be as unfunny as a Jimmy Fallon film festival. Where’s the justice for Hong with six other actors getting on the cover?

Balls of Fury is a perfect film for those craving a big dumb comedy that spoofs Kung Fu films, but without using any real martial arts action. The movie captures the frustration of getting crushed in Ping-Pong by what you perceive is an easy opponent. Balls of Fury has a good time spoofing so many conventions of the genre. Christopher Walken goes into overdrive as he spoofs himself. Order Chinese takeout and enjoy the Chop-Socky flavored Ping-Pong.

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The movie was shot on HD video. There’s also a Full Screen Edition for those of you who are allergic to letterboxing.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 5.1. There’s a French dub. The subtitles are in English, Spanish and French.

EXTRAS:
Deleted Scenes (6:39) has seven clips salvaged from the editing room. All of them are lame and were worthy cuts. The scene of Randy hanging from the bridge and seeing his father’s ghost has zero comic value.

Alternate Ending (1:52) was the set up for Balls of Fury II.

Balls Out: The Making of Balls of Fury (13:57) has Thomas Lennon admit that they just made a Kung Fu movie, but made all the martial arts action Ping-Pong games. Everybody gushes about their time with Christopher Walken.

Under the Balls: The Life of a Ball Wrangler (5:17) is a spoof profile of Irina Voronina. We get to see how she takes care of all the Ping-Pong balls on the set. There’s a prolonged joke about her racing around the set asking the crew if she gave them blue balls.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Balls of Fury
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)