Down-and-out former professional ping-pong phenom, Randy Daytona, is sucked into a maelstrom when FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez recruits him for a secret mission. Randy is determined to bounce back and win, and to smoke out his father's killer -- arch-fiend Feng.
In the unsanctioned, underground, and unhinged world of extreme Ping-Pong, the competition is brutal and the stakes are deadly. Down-and-out former professional Ping-Pong phenom Randy Daytona is sucked into this maelstrom when FBI Agent Rodriguez recruits him for a secret mission. Randy is determined to bounce back and recapture his former glory, and to smoke out his father's killer - one of the FBI's Most Wanted, arch-fiend Feng. But, after two decades out of the game, Randy can't turn his life around and avenge his father's murder without a team of his own. He calls upon the spiritual guidance of blind Ping-Pong sage and restaurateur Wong, and the training expertise of Master Wong's wildly sexy niece Maggie, both of whom also have a dark history with Feng. All roads lead to Feng's mysterious jungle compound and the most unique Ping-Pong tournaments ever staged. There, Randy faces such formidable players as his long-ago Olympics opponent, the still-vicious Karl Wolfschtagg. Can Randy...Written by
As mentioned in the movie, it is forbidden for Wong to teach ping pong to "gwai lo". This is most likely a reference to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993) starring Jason Scott Lee. Bruce was forbidden by the elders to teach martial arts to anyone other than Asians. Jason Scott Lee appears in "Balls of Fury" as Siu-Foo. See more »
In the 1988 Olympic Games, Karl Wolfschtagg is shown wearing a uniform with the letters GDR, for German Democratic Republic, the official name for East Germany. In reality, East German athletes wore the letters DDR, for Deutsche Demokratische Republik (the name for East Germany in the German language). See more »
Better to die like a tiger, than live like a pussy.
Created by the same people behind the TV series 'Reno 911', "Balls of Fury" is really no ball of fire, but it passes the time amiably enough. Alright, so it IS pretty stupid. But it's not exactly aiming high in the first place. Some jokes do get dragged out too long, and there are awkward moments. Still, as it clocks in at just over an hour and a half, it doesn't go on any longer than it should. At its best, it does generate some modest chuckles here and there.
The cast is really more engaging than their material. Dan Fogler stars as Randy Daytona, a star ping-pong player at age 12 who gives up the game for 19 years before being persuaded to pick it up again by Federal agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez). The Fed needs Randy to infiltrate a tournament presided over by arch-criminal Feng (Christopher Walken, at his most Christopher Walken-esque). It turns out that the bad guy is an avid ping-pong fanatic.
Working as a spoof of both action movies and sports movies, "Balls of Fury" is agreeably silly at times. Its characters are reasonably endearing and entertaining, and it's hard to knock a story (written by co-star Thomas Lennon, who plays the swaggering Kraut Karl Wolfschtagg, and director Robert Ben Garant) with an affection for the music of Def Leppard.
Lots of familiar faces here: Maggie Q as the luscious (and badass) love interest, Terry Crews, Robert Patrick (don't be fooled by his prominent billing; he's barely in the thing), Diedrich Bader, Aisha Tyler, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jason Scott Lee, David Koechner, Patton Oswalt, David Proval, Masi Oka. But it's the legendary character actor James Hong who steals the show, in a gem of a comedic performance as the blind, Mr. Miyagi-like mentor. Walken, unsurprisingly, is a hoot as the villain.
Of course "Balls of Fury" is no modern classic, but sometimes a "good" no-brainer comedy is just what some people look for to pass the time. It's certainly not as terrible as it's been made out to be.
Six out of 10.
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