Balls of Fury

Plot: A ping-pong protégé (say it 10 times real fast) falls on his face at the Olympics. Years later, he must join forces with the FBI to take down Feng (Christopher Walken), a notorious criminal, and win an underground ping-pong tournament.

Who’s it for: I was hoping it would be for die-hard ping-pong fans, but I would say it’s for people that are just dying for another summer comedy and would settle for anything.

Expectations: It’s not really a proud thing to admit, but ping-pong is one of my best sports. Throw Christopher Walken into the mix and I was looking forward to the film.



Dan Fogler as Randy Daytona: Nothing was played up enough in this film. The perfect example is Randy’s love affair with Def Leppard. This is his first starring role, and based on this performance, it could be his last.
Grade: 4

Maggie Q as Maggie Wong: The creation of Maggie Wong was a lazy one. The film constantly focuses on her sexuality, yet Maggie is bothered by men leering. At no point is there a clear moment where Maggie begins to fall for Randy. And if she is so amazing at ping-pong, why wasn’t she the one to go to the underground tournament?
Grade: 2

George Lopez as Agent Ernie Rodriguez: Here’s a tip, don’t have your film depend on Lopez zinging one-liners — especially when a couple come straight from “Scarface.”
Grade: 2

James Hong as Master Wong: Do you like lame blind jokes? Well here is your dream character. He has such a great presence and is immediately recognizable, it’s a shame he was stuck in this character.
Grade: 4

Christopher Walken as Mr. Feng: One of the better jokes is at the very end during the credits, when Feng tries to explain to Randy that he’s mispronouncing his name. Walken also seems to be doing a send-up of himself, much like he’s willing to do in “Saturday Night Live.”
Grade: 6

Talking: I’m trying to remember a quality joke but it’s just not happening. It doesn’t seem any of these actors have the comedic chops to take an ordinary line and deliver it in a way that will be funny, except Walken and Diedrich Bader in a very small role.
Grade: 3

Sights and sounds: After the very first match, I didn’t believe any of the ping-pong skills I was seeing. None of the characters were over the top (in a good way) and if Randy is going to be stuck playing lefty in the end, why wouldn’t they show him training as a southpaw?
Grade: 3


Best Scene: The first time Christopher Walken appears on screen is over halfway through the film. That’s a mistake because he added instant credibility.

Ending: In an implausible movie, it’s amazing they could make an ending this bad. First Maggie shows up in a tiny outfit and gets balls knocked off her head, and then Feng and Randy fight in a jungle ping-pong, electroshock duel. Sigh.

Random Thoughts: Here’s what the film should have been … A child superstar is disgraced at the Olympics, get’s fat and finally decides he needs a comeback. So he convinces a coach to train him, has a kick-ass training montage, and then attempts to redeem himself in an underground tournament. Forget the F.B.I., blind jokes, father’s death and lack of ping-pong. For the most part, they could have just followed the “Dodgeball” script.

Rewatchability: No, normally I’ll say something about accidentally sitting through the film on cable. Not this time.


“Dodgeball” and “Beerfest” do a better job of actually showcasing their “sports.” Just think if you could tell that 95 percent of the shots in “Hoosiers” were special effects. The entire film feels like a B-list of comedians. Comedians like Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Ben Stiller can get away with lesser material because just looking at them can elicit laughs. Dan Fogler is not in that category. If “Balls of Fury” can’t honor ping-pong, and can’t make quality jokes then what’s the point? Oh yeah, a goofy Christopher Walken, but I assume I could have caught those moments on YouTube. Don’t play with these balls.

Overall Grade: 3


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