Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
|Featuring:||Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, James Hong, Terry Crews, Robert Patrick, Diedrich Bader, Aisha Tyler, Thomas Lennon, Cary-Hiroyuki, Brett DelBuono, Jason Scott Lee, Toby Huss, David Holmes, Heather DeLoach, David Koechner, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Floyd Van Buskirk, Jenny Robertson, Patton Oswalt, Jim Lampley, Na Shi La, Mather Zickel, Jim Rash, David Proval, Philippe Durand, Masi Oka, Brandon Molale, Guy Stevenson, Steve Little, Greg Joung Paik, Eugene Choy, Matt Sigloch, Marisa Tayui, Mark Hyland, Justin Lopez, Irina Voronina, Darryl Chan, Ede Van Quathem|
|Director:||Robert Ben Garant
“Night at the Museum,” “Herbie Fully Loaded”
|Producer:||Derek Evans, Ron Schmidt, Toby Emmerich|
|Distributor:||Rogue Pictures (Focus Features)|
“Balls of Fury” is a comedy about an “underground” ping pong tournament. That is appropriate, since fans will doubtless want to watch this underground. It may be worth a look just to see Christopher Walken playing the role of an Asian mobster and ping pong has been. It is one of those movies you watch late at night when no one knows that you are watching—the kind that is both oh-so-bad and oh-so-good, if you are into absurd comedies, outrageous silliness, and are bored out of your mind. In this case, mostly bad.
First, parents should be reminded that PG-13 is usually what used to be rated R. The jokes include plenty of crude, rude, and perverted humor. One involves a running gag about homosexual sex slaves that recurs throughout the film. Overall, the film contains 18 foul words, countless double entendres, and sex noises can be heard. There is comic violence (including attacks to the groin), jokes involving bodily fluids, jokes about prostitution, and ample cleavage.
In many ways, “Balls of Fury” is a parody of extreme sports. The promo itself says that the film takes place “in the unsanctioned, underground, and unhinged world of extreme Ping-Pong.” This is the movie’s strength, but some may consider this a one gag movie. “Balls of Fury” has been compared to “Dodgeball,” and there are many comparisons, but, between the two, I actually prefer “Balls of Fury.” It doesn’t take much to make “Dodgeball” an extreme sport, so seeing ping pong treated as an extreme sport does have it moments. There are some laughs to be had seeing ping pong players constantly flexing their muscles, crushing ping pongs with their bare hands, shouting macho remarks, and… oh yea, being executed if they lose. Says Christopher Walken, “What part of sudden death didn’t you understand?” It also contains parodies of countless clichés from sports movies, including the once humiliated sports star returning to glory against his old nemesis. The funniest part of the movie is probably the ping pong games themselves.
Overall, I thought “Balls of Fury” was better than I was expecting, but frankly I wasn’t expecting much. I was bored out of my mind when I decided to see the film, so it was a welcome distraction for 90 minutes, but with ticket prices today, you might want to wait till it comes out on DVD and then wait until everyone is asleep before pulling it out and watching it. If you are caught watching it, you may never live it down. You will take nothing worthwhile out of this movie. But somehow I suspect it will develop an underground network of fans from those who like absurdly silly comedies.
Ultimately, “Balls of Fury” is unfit for Christian audiences. The amount of crude humor and sexually related jokes should have made the movie rate R. The mature Christian can find better sources of entertainment, and more uplifting ones.