Balls of Fury **1/2
Directed by Ben Garant
Written by Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant
Dan Fogler as Randy Daytona
Christopher Walken as Feng
George Lopez as Agent Ernie Rodriquez
Maggie Q as Maggie Wong
James Hong as Master Wong
Terry Crews as Freddy
Robert Patrick as Sgt. Pete Daytona
Diedrich Bader as Gary
Aisha Tyler as Mahogany
90 Minutes(Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and for language. )
"Balls of Fury" is easily the best movie ever made. . . about ping pong. In fact, I think it might be the only movie ever made about ping pong. Come to think of it again, I don't think I've ever even seen ping pong used in a movie in any way. Well, "The Squid and the Whale" used it fairly well. This is the final comedy of the summer, and while it isn't anything to rave about, it has its moments and it has a mild share of laughs. This is the film that you see if "Superbad" is sold out, or if you've seen it more than enough times. When I went into the theatre I was wondering how many times they would make a joke about ping pong balls in comparison to the male private part, and honestly they did not overuse that joke. In fact, it was hardly used at all.
The film introduces us to Randy Daytona, who as a child was the best ping pong player ever. I think one of the sports announcers said it perfectly. "He'll join the list of ping pong greats, who include. . . well, actually I have no idea." When Randy's father bets money on a game with Feng-the leader of an underground Asian triad-he is killed when Randy bombs. Randy never played in a contest again, but amuses little old ladies as matinee shows. He is called in by Agent Ernie Rodriquez, who needs him to get invited to Feng's underground ping pong tournament, so that the FBI could finally catch him doing something illegal. He goes under training with Master Wong, but in Chinatown it is illegal for them to teach ping pong to the white man, and Master Wong is thrown out-unless Randy can defeat The Dragon-a little girl who plays a fierce ping pong game. It is when he defeats The Dragon that Randy is given a chance to go to Feng's ping pong tournament, and becomes surprised with "Sudden Death" actually means that the loser is killed.
Compared to the comedies of the summer thus far-with the strong exception of "Hot Rod"-"Balls of Fury" is pure comedy, and there is not an ounce of drama in it-unless you count the tension of the final ping pong game, which may be the best ping pong game ever put on the big screen. I think what makes it funny-and a joke that stays funny in an odd way-is how seriously these people take ping pong. It reminds me of at the start of July when I was watching ESPN and it was the Annual Rock Paper Scissors Competition. You would not believe how seriously people were talking "RPS" and the slow-mo's and the refs just made it priceless. I watched "Balls of Fury" in the same amusing vein. Its super light fluff-you can do worse, but it'll make you laugh. And its always fun to see Christopher Walken-even when he plays the evil leader of an Asian triad. But he's Walken and we love him. "Balls of Fury" is mild laughs and its even fun at times.