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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven, But A Great No-Brainer, December 23, 2007
This review is from: Balls of Fury (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Take one part ENTER THE DRAGON with Bruce Lee. Take one part KARATE KID, only with ping pong as a martial art. Take one part RUSH HOUR with mismatched partners and support groups. And one part normal Christopher Walken craziness. Shake well, cut down to 90 minutes, and drive this baby across the screen like a man-eating tiger driven through the jungle before angry drummers.

BALLS OF FURY is definitely not Oscar-winning material. It's not even a real story. It's a loosely defined spy/revenge film with over-the-top acting, humor, and insane moment.

Still, this is one of those movies that never once takes itself too seriously - or seriously at all, for that matter - yet somehow manages to deliver entertainment all the same. The overall plot that hangs everything together is laughable, though not in a good way. It's so contrived that it actually works better that way than if it tried to take itself seriously.

Dan Fogler stars as Randy Daytona. At 12 years old, he was an Olympic hopeful. Unfortunately, his father (Robert Patrick) has a gambling addiction and bet on him. That unnerved young Randy and he lost to a German opponent. His father was summarily killed by Feng (Christopher Walken in an inspired role of basically spoofing himself).

Fast forward 19 years and Randy is a matinee novelty act who refuses to play in competition any more. The bits are funny, but they're not big laughs. Still, they get the job done as FBI Agent Rodriguez (George Lopez) drafts Randy into serving his country. Rodriguez believes that Feng, now a notorious international crime lord, can be gotten to by a champion-level ping-pong player.

Right off the bat, though, Randy isn't any match for competition. He gets stomped, and that segues directly to Rodriguez taking Randy to Feng's mentor, Wong (played wonderfully whacky by veteran James Hong). The laughs start coming steadily at this point, but martial arts superstar Maggie Q seizes the spotlight on several occasions with her looks and her fighting abilities.

The violence stemming from Wong's decision to train a white man in ping-pong is pure Asian theater, complete down to the destruction of the school and the threats. So is the showdown, though when the Dragon turned out to be something that doesn't fit the normal idea of a really tough bad guy, I was thrown for a loop. I looked forward to the match, and it was over far too quickly. This movie truly keeps things moving along.

After a brief victory celebration that doesn't end up near any way Randy thought it might, he gets approached by Feng's men (who were obviously just waiting to deliver the gold paddle invitation). A funny, out-of-character bit happens when the threatening guy has to ask for directions back to the highway. Even the dramatic music grinds to a halt.

From there, the film goes more into spy-spoof mode and turns up the ENTER THE DRAGON drive. Lopez gets some funny moments, but this is truly primarily Christopher Walken's shtick and Fogler even hangs onto everything Walken does. You can tell Walken is having the time of his life playing himself playing an Asian warlord. Other than his dress, he doesn't try to put on anything - no prosthetics and no makeup - to try to look Chinese.

BALLS OF FURY is tame enough to be considered a family show, but it's not going to deliver any information or emotion that's going to stay with you long. This one is a great entertainment when you're looking for a no-brainer and a chance to see Christopher Walken in action.
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