September 6, 2007


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Balls of Fury (PG-13)
A disgraced ping-pong player must compete in Christopher Walken’s underground, to-the-death ping-pong tournament to avenge the death of his father and regain his self-esteem in Balls of Fury, a comedy that has probably already, in the first sentence here, lost your interest.

Can’t you just hear the pitch meeting for this movie? “It’s Dodgeball with ping pong!”

Yes, that and worse writing, hammier actors and none of the aforementioned comedy’s good-for-a-laugh charm.

As a kid, Randy Daytona (Brett DelBuono) lost a big ping-pong tournament to East German ping-ponger Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon) and inadvertently caused the death of his father, who had bet on the game. As a grown man (well, an older person), Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) makes his living by doing ping-pong tricks at a low-rent casino. It’s here that FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) finds him and tries to convince him to get back on the competitive circuit. If Randy can win a couple of games, Ernie says, maybe he’ll get an invitation to a super-secret ping-pong tournament held by Feng (Christopher Walken), a man under investigation by the government and the man who killed Randy’s dad all those years ago. To get Randy back in shape, Ernie sends him to Master Wong (James Hong), a ping-pong expert who runs a school with his uber-hot niece, Maggie Wong (Maggie Q).

Master Wong is blind — which the movie plays for full stupid comic effect. Match that with the pling pling pling of Chinese restaurant string music that underlies everything and you have a tag team of offensive lameness for the movie to lean on. Yes, Christopher Walken’s delivery of even the most bland lines is funny and hey, who doesn’t love a good Def Leppard reference, but none of these borrowed bits of other movies reconstitute into anything worthwhile here. Balls of Fury is a four-minute sketch stretched into a movie without nearly enough thought or effort put into keeping that movie going forward. Once you get over the giggle offered up by the title, Balls of Fury simply deflates. D

Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor and for language. Directed by Ben Garant and written by Garant and Thomas Lennon, Balls of Fury is an hour and 30 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Rogue Pictures.