Director: Robert Ben Garant
Writer: Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Cast: Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, Thomas Lennon, James Hong, Robert Patrick, Jason Scott Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Patton Oswalt
Running Time: 90 min.
Dan Fogler plays a washed-up ping-pong champion who gets hired by the FBI’s special crime division(led by George Lopez’s character, Ernie Rodriguez) to bust a weapons dealer named Feng (played by Christopher Walken). Since he’s fairly rusty, Randy Daytona (Fogler) decides to get training from ‘pong expert Master Wong (James Hong) and his daughter Maggie (Maggie Q). Once he’s ready, Randy heads to a special tournament to help Ernie take down Feng from the inside.
Essentially a spoof of sports and martial arts movies, Balls of Fury succeeds where Baseketball failed. It doesn’t try to create some sort of weird hybrid of the two genres which no one understands. Nor does it waste time trying to making fun of the players, rather than the conventions of the films. It just goes after recycled cliches such as the older and wiser coach, the “retired” athlete trying to get back into the game, and the tendency to incorporate anthem music into dramatic moments.
Another plus is that it doesn’t go for the obvious jokes, either. For example, it doesn’t (frequently) resort to cheap laughs or insipid puns. It tries to be creative with the material by adding twists and (semi-) surprises in an effort not to treat you like a moron.
Where it does lack is character and story development. For example, Maggie and Randy are fighting, and then, ten minutes later, they’re suddenly dating. Also, the detached relationship between Wong and Feng just isn’t compelling. I know it’s a parody, so those details aren’t really necessary, but they do hurt the potential cult appeal of the film. And some of the more subtle jokes might require you to be more familiar with certain action flicks.
Still, Balls of Fury is a fun spoof which does its job in keeping you amused.
Ningen’s Rating: 6/10