Friday, September 21, 2007

Balls of Fury

I'm not sure what I was thinking going into this? Was I expecting it to be good? or even just entertaining? After watching it, I still have no idea what I was thinking. It was neither of those two adjectives, and I should have recognized that just from the previews. In fact, anyone who has even seen just the previews would be in the ample position of writing just as thorough of a review. Sometimes I see movies I know will be bad, just to give me something to review. In this case, I didn't need to.

Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) is a washed up ping-pong player who has been reduced to performing at a Las Vegas buffet. He had potential years ago as a child, but during a pivotal Olympic moment, he choked- resulting in his loss, and the death of his father (something about illegal gambling). Back to present day, he is recruited by FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) to infiltrate a top secret ping pong championship put on by crime lord, Feng (Christopher Walken), who also happens to be the man that killed his father. Eventually he consents, trains, and enters the tournament to try to stop Feng.

The first two thirds of the movie are about Daytona training to become a ping pong master. He studies under a blind teacher named Master Wong (James Hong), and his daughter, Maggie (Maggie Q). This is where a majority of the gags are. A blind master, a fat oafish apprentice....and ping pong. The cornerstone is your typical groin humor. People get hit in the crotch, kicked in the crotch, paddled in the crotch, and hit by, well, balls. There were a few funny moments, like when Master Wong sent Daytona on a task swatting bees with a paddle. But for the most part, it was just an old blind man running into things, and lots little balls.

There was a vague trace of glossed over character development, but unfortunately it made no sense. At first Daytona did not want to help the FBI, but seeing a water park built next to his father's grave brought him around. Huh? Or what about Maggie and Daytona? She goes from despising him to being a love interest faster than one round of table tennis. I must have missed something there.

The acting is probably what you would expect from a movie where ball do most of the talking. (I'm sorry, but I need to use as many double entendres as possible). Fogler is kind of an unfunny cross between Seth Rogan and Jack Black. George Lopez is never funny. Hong was actually kind of endearing, but also kind of an unstable character, flipping back and forth between harsh and touching. And Walken, what was he doing in this. I love Christopher Walken. Even in this, he's still Christopher Walken (though this was certainly no Captain Koons).

I guess this isn't surprising from Ben Garant, who's only previous experience has been on Reno 911!. This movie was painfully unfunny, and just another movie to be left off of Christopher Walken's resume; at least he had Hairspray earlier this year. I thought this review should be obvious, but there was actually quite a bit of laughter during the movie. I suppose that means some people out there liked it. No matter, just watch the preview. If you've seen that, you've seen the movie.


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