FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing “Balls of Fury,” which stars Dan Fogler (Kung Fu Panda, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can, Seven Psychopaths), George Lopez (George Lopez [TV series], Spare Parts), Maggie Q (Designated Survivor [TV series], Divergent), James Hong (Chinatown, Wayne’s World 2), Aisha Tyler (Archer [TV series], The Talk [TV series]), Thomas Lennon (17 Again, The Odd Couple [2015 TV series]), Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Office Space), and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Walk the Line). It was directed by Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!: Miami, Hell Baby), who co-wrote it with Thomas Lennon. In order to reclaim his glory as a ping pong champion, has-been Olympic ping pong player Randy Daytona (Fogler) helps the FBI by getting into a secret tournament held by Feng (Walken), a powerful man who has been on the most wanted list for a long time.
The things I have to say about “Balls of Fury”…geez people, is this what comedy has come to? Sure, this was released back in 2007, but my gosh it’s only ten years old. When it comes to the realm of comedy, I’m a man of simple taste. I’d choose smart humor over vulgarness any day, though there is a place in my heart for silly, idiotic features like “Dumb and Dumber” and “Norbit.” I’ve seen plenty of crap over my nineteen year span on this earth, accepting some of it, but “Balls of Fury” belongs to a breed that makes me question the film industry. This movie about ping pong tournaments and Asian people has to be one of the most laziest, thrown together pieces of nonsense that I have seen in the past year. Running at an hour and thirty minutes, the story about Randy Daytona and his reclaiming of glory moves at a quick pace, opting for comedy over character development. More often than not, the humor didn’t make me laugh, as jokes were predictable and at a speed that I am not attune to. What jokes are those? The ones George Lopez decides to take part in. I have nothing against Lopez, but every film I’ve seen him in since his show ended was crap. There’s a certain sloppy comedy he loves to take part in that’s both stupid and unnecessary. I’m sure some of these other stars on screen sign up for the same type of stuff, though I was shocked at the amount of “famous” people I saw in this; I put famous in quotations because, while I know them, they are all B and C rate actors. Of course, you had to have James Hong as the ping pong instructor because he’s the go to guy for an old Chinese man in Hollywood, but everyone else came out of happenstance. I mean, you’ve got Christopher Walken, Terry Crews, Thomas Lennon, Patton Oswalt, Robert Patrick, and Diedrich Bader. I’ve seen all of these talented stars in better material, and while some of them provided good humor, they should’ve definitely dodged this bullet (or as I should say, ping pong ball). Did I expect this to be great? No, but I was hoping for a comedy that I would laugh at, quote, and jokingly regard as a classic. There are elements to this story that hold promise. It certainly has a somewhat original idea that could’ve been executed properly, as well as a main character that the audience can get behind; Dan Fogler is no Chris Farley, but he did put on quite an entertaining show. I found a few parts of this movie to be funny and there were some actors that had solid performances. You can never go wrong with Christopher Walken, and I was excited to see him perform. His role as the head honcho to face off was great only because Walken embodied him. It’s not like a wasted my time on this flick, because there was hardly enough time to waste. Really, if this film focused on developing itself at a steady pace and offered better jokes, it would’ve been exceptionally better. Things happen so fast that in the first thirty minutes, Randy is on top, becomes a nothing, is assigned a mission from the FBI, and trains with the best ping pong master around. His training takes place in a montage and romance sparks between him and the only female lead just because she’s a woman. There was no chemistry amongst them and there were never hints to show that she liked him. They just…started liking each other. That was the biggest complaint I had when it came to development because it was rushed and wasn’t given reason to. But, this is a cheap nonsensical comedy, so what can I say? If you’re looking for a comedic film worth your time, I’d point you somewhere else. The title and plot may intrigue you, but it is all an illusion with “Balls of Fury.” FINAL SCORE: 58%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: