Balls Of Fury
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Movies like Enter The Dragon, Bloodsport and the “so god-awful it is awesome” Gymkata always have a special place in my heart. That lone badass going to a secret tournament to prove themselves, whoop ass and eventually take down the boss are cliché and a blast to watch. Balls Of Fury is a spoof of this idea, and while it tries too hard at parts and has some jokes fail miserably, is actually pretty damn funny.
Child ping-pong prodigy Randy Dakota is the best there is. He is the Michael Jordan of Ping and the Barry Sanders of Pong. This kid is good! The Olympic finals should be a shoe in for him. The problem is his father Sgt. Pete Daytona (a great small role for Robert Patrick) is back to his betting days again. He bets on his son putting much pressure on him. While the heat turns up on the ping-pong court, Randy is distracted by the serious looking Asian muscle that is surrounding his father. He blows the match, his father is killed by the evil Feng for Randy losing, and the world ridicules him.
Flash forward and Randy is an overweight Vegas act in an all you eat prime rib dive on the old strip. After he gets fired, he is visited by Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) and enlisted into helping him take down Feng (Christopher Walken). Feng gathers up the best of the best pingers from around the world to play off in a secret tournament. Randy is rusty in the ancient ways of ping-pong so Agent Rodriguez takes him to train with an old master; Master Wong (James Hong). After intense training Randy is invited with a golden paddle by Feng’s men.
Randy must now battle the best in the world and take down the man that killed his father; Feng.
The set up is great. Ping-pong? Really? There is comedy in that alone and all involved do a good job making this seem like a serious situation. That is where the comedy is at it’s best. Simple straight faced dialogue in a absurd surrounding shines. There is of course slapstick and at times that is spot on. The problems that bothered me the most were the over the top slapstick moments. They fell flat. A shot to the crotch is not funny to me. I am no longer 10 years old. What make horrible movies like Gymkata great is the fact that it is life or death for our gymnast. Yes, gymnast. (If you have not seen the movie, then you must. Look to the left and you might even see a block to click to get it on Amazon.) Ping-pong to the death by an overweight guy wearing a Def Leopard shirt is a great start for comedy there. You have the setup! Run with it now. Instead there are moments along the lines of all the damn horrible spoof movies like Scary Movie 25 or Epic Date Movie that seem to crawl out of the gutter every week. These moments are why the movie is 50/50.
Dan Fogler is great as Randy Dakota. Forget the fact that he was not funny at all in Good Luck Chuck. No one was, so don’t hold that against him. In this movie, he shines. Playing it with a complete straight face throughout works and him never “winking” at the screen when the absurdity was running rampant made his role all the better. Walken? Do I need to say anything about him. Of course he’s good. (Not great. Again, trying to hard.)
Overall, I laughed out loud on quite a few parts. This could have been a real winner if they let the setup run it’s course, but throwing in nods to Scarface and too much unneeded slapstick that at times was more stupid than funny, it became a movie that was both hilarious and as bad as all the other critics have said. For this, I can only give Balls Of Fury 2 ½ cans. It was half brilliant.
Added: Thursday, March 06, 2008
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