I had a chance to watch Balls of Fury on DVD the other night… And before you say “what the heck were you thinking??” let me just say that I like oddball comedies now and then. This appeared from the trailers to be right up my alley. And honestly I didn’t think it was that bad — not that it was that great either. 🙂
So Balls of Fury deals with the furious sport of ping pong and the downfall early in the career of Randy Daytona, a young up and coming U.S. ping pong player who lost in the 1988 Olympics and uttered the fateful words in a delirious state — “I’m going to Disneyland!” Sad? Yes. Ludicrous? Probably. It then picks up 10 or so years later with Daytona (played by Dan Fowler) working in a run-down Las Vegas theater doing ping pong parlor tricks. There he meets FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) who wants to take down drug lord Feng (played in great fun by Christopher Walken) who has a ping pong fetish.
This movie has one heck of a list of actors with parts and cameos… Maggie Q (gorgeous as always) plays Maggie Wong. James Hong (who has been a staple in serious and funny movies for years and years) plays Master Wong. Robert Patrick plays Daytona’s father – Sgt. Pete Daytona. Diedrich Bader (from the Drew Carey Show) plays Gary, a male prostitute. Jason Scott Lee plays Siu-Foo, a rival ping pong player. Masi Oka (Hiro from NBC’s Heroes) plays Jeff, a bathroom attendant. Patton Oswalt plays a wacked out ping pong player called Hammer… The list goes on…
Did I like the movie? It had its moments. It starts slow, but once it gets going it’s actually kind of funny in spots. The ludicrous nature of the premise keeps it going all the way to the end. (Though I kept thinking about Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport and trying not to giggle at the comparison.)
This to me was funnier than most of the recent Seth Rogen comedies if that helps at all.
Ultimately it was worth watching once and that’s about it… It was fun to see all of these actors making fun of themselves and the subject matter so easily. I give it a solid 2 out of 4 for that, which is more than I thought I might. 🙂
Until next time… Go watch a movie!