Oh Balls of Fury, how could you, a movie about the dirty Ping Pong underground, be green lit, let alone have some of Hong Kong’s strongest martial arts actors making cameos and snag Christopher Walken as the villain? Regardless of how it was done, the writer and directors of Night at the Museum and Reno 911!: Miami manage to pull an hour and a half of comedy about hollow balls that are smacked with paddles…actually, just writing that makes it obvious how the film came to be.
Despite being a child prodigy with the ping pong racket in his youth, Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) was humiliated in the match of his career by Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon). His father, who put money down on the match for his son to win, was killed by the Chinese Underground and Daytona was forced to live a life in shame, performing at small holes in the walls to demonstrate his once legendary skills. However, when an opportunity to take down a crime lord known as Feng (Christopher Walken) presents itself, FBI agent Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits Daytona in an attempt to gain access to an unsanctioned and deadly table tennis match.
Surprisingly, even with the films barrage of reviews calling it horrible, Balls of Fury manages to remain entertaining throughout. While it does slow down a bit too often and allows the jokes to come a bit stale while we wait for our characters to progress, the film does make one laugh, either at the premise alone or the comedic timing that Dan Fogler brings so superbly to the film. Lopez manages to get in a few laughs, although Walken more often than naught steals the show. Secondary characters are relegated to worn out jokes and we’re even forced to watch a blind man talk in the wrong direction in an attempt to get us to laugh—oddly enough it halfway works, although the scene ends before you decide it’s funny enough to chuckle at.
While the film is undoubtedly a waste of time, I never really felt the urge to shut it off or do something else while I played. For better or worse, Balls of Fury kept my attention, although that may only be out of loyalty to the Reno 911! crew, a few of which had parts in the film as well as being directed by Robert Ben Garant, one of the funnier members on the Reno 911! police squad. Still, even in the flawed moments of the film, it draws laughs, whether it’s Diedrich Bader as a male prostitute Gary or Lennon’s absurdly excited Wolfschtagg, at the very least the film is worth a Rental for those that are fans of Lennon and Garant’s past work. It really depends on your ability to withstand stupid films—although if you’re considering watching a movie called Balls of Fury, you’re rather likely to know where your comedic tastes stand.
Balls of Fury arrives in a standard DVD case with a mirrored surface disc with the movies logo printed on it. The font on the disc is all in blue, a change from the usual solid black that Universal uses on almost every DVD release. There’s no chapter insert, although there is an insert for the “Killerspin” table tennis table and a promo code for 20% off apparel from the Killerspin website. Menu’s are simple and easy to navigate.
Video for the film is a solid 1.85:1 transfer without any strong signs of compression or anything that’d detract too much from the films various locations. Audio is a decent 5.1 surround mix, with a few elements thrown to the satellites, but, as with all comedies, the film is mostly front channel focused.
Moving onto the extras we have seven deleted scenes (6:36) and an alternate ending (1:50) that really don’t make one laugh in the least. It’s obvious why they were cut, although we did get to see more of Roger Patrick as Daytona’s father. Moving past the deleted scenes we have “Balls Out: Making of Balls of Fury” (13:56), which opens with Lennon telling us what to expect from watching this film: absolutely nothing. No morals are to be learned and the film really serves no purpose other than to entertain, which it does on more than one occasion.
The final extra on the set is “Under the Balls: The Life of a Ball Wrangler” (5:16) a mock documentary on the ball wrangler for the film. She’s put in short shorts and forced to bend over multiple times for the camera and ask if anyone on the camera has blue balls. It’ll evoke a few snorts, but it’s nothing that’s worth watching more than once.
Overall the DVD is a bit bare, but it’s nothing that you’ll need to watch over again—nor is the film. Rent it.
Balls of Fury is now on DVD and HD-DVD.