Balls of Fury

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Balls of Fury
Balls of furymp.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Robert Ben Garant
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Gary Barber
Jonathan Glickman
Thomas Lennon
Written by Thomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
Starring Dan Fogler
Christopher Walken
George Lopez
Maggie Q
Thomas Lennon
Robert Patrick
Jason Scott Lee
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Thomas E. Ackerman
Editing by John Refoua
Studio Intrepid Pictures
Spyglass Entertainment
Distributed by Rogue Pictures
Release dates
  • August 29, 2007 (2007-08-29)
Running time 90 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $40,990,563[1]

Balls of Fury is a 2007 American sports comedy film directed by Ben Garant, and starring Dan Fogler, George Lopez, Christopher Walken and Jason Scott Lee. The film was released in the United States on August 29, 2007. This was Jason Scott Lee's first theatrical release film since 1998's Soldier.

Plot[edit]

11 year old Randy Daytona (Brett Delbuono) plays for the United States in the 1988 Summer Olympics table tennis finals. His anxiety increases when his father says that he bet on him to win, despite his original promise not to do so. During his first game between his opponent Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon) from the German Democratic Republic, Daytona runs back too far, falls over the arena enclosure and hits his head on the floor. Unable to continue, he loses the match. His father is murdered by the loan sharks, agents of the criminal mastermind Feng (Christopher Walken). Daytona leaves competitive ping-pong.

Nineteen years later, as an adult, Daytona (Dan Fogler) works at the Peppermill Casino in Reno, Nevada, doing table tennis routines. After being evicted from the casino, Daytona meets FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez), who requests his assistance in arresting Feng for running guns. Feng's hidden jungle hideout is the site of a black-market Ping-Pong tournament, and Randy's invitation is a way for the FBI to infiltrate the master criminal's organization. Daytona agrees to help capture the man responsible for his father's death. Rodriguez informs him that he needs to win some championships in order to be noticed by Feng's ping-pong scouts. After losing at a local tournament, Daytona is brought to a Chinatown noodle shop to be apprenticed under a blind man named Wong (James Hong), who was Feng's former mentor, and who recognizes Daytona's talent. Daytona also meets Wong's niece, Maggie (Maggie Q). When Chinatown locals vandalize Master Wong's house for violating their edict against teaching white people ping pong, Daytona is forced to play against "The Dragon", a young girl, in exchange for Wong's right to remain in Chinatown and Orange County. After Daytona beats the Dragon, Feng's men take notice of his win and bring Daytona, Rodriguez and Wong to Feng's facility.

Daytona handily beats his first opponent Freddy "Fingers" Wilson (Terry Crews), though he is unnerved to learn that the tournament is literally sudden death—the loser is killed by a poisoned dart delivered by Feng's majordomo, Mahogany (Aisha Tyler). After Daytona attempts unsuccessfully to escape, Feng invites him to join his side, and reveals that he only finished half of Wong's training. He says it would be the ultimate satisfaction to win Daytona away from Wong. Feng also shows Daytona his specially modified ping-pong table. It is wired to special vests that give increasingly powerful and fatal electrical shocks for failure. Daytona informs Rodriguez of a hidden cache of illegal guns that are sufficient to put Feng in jail. While Rodriguez investigates the hidden facilities, Daytona defeats numerous opponents for his very life.

Upon learning that Wolfschtagg is his last opponent, Daytona tells Rodriguez that he wants to get out as the FBI has not yet responded to Rodriguez's homing beacon. They then come up with a plan to brutally injure Randy, so that he has to quit. However Randy changes his mind, and he goes to tell so. When Rodriguez hides out in a bathroom, Daytona visits him in the bathroom to let him know of his desire to play against Wolfschtagg. However, he surprises Rodriguez, who breaks Daytona's arm, unaware of Daytona's change of heart. Feng discovers Rodriguez's attempts to contact the FBI and forces Daytona to face Wolfschtagg. Feng decides to have Maggie take Wolfschtagg's place, killing Wolfschtagg when he protests. Daytona plays one-handed and tries to stall for time. Maggie tries to lose on purpose to sacrifice herself to save Daytona. However, Daytona uses his ping-pong expertise to hit Maggie with the ball, and she unsuccessfully tries to dodge Daytona's hits. While this goes on, they both decide to try to escape together. Enraged, Feng orders them both executed. Mahogany shoots the poisonous dart at Daytona, but Maggie successfully defends him with the ping-pong paddle. Daytona then throws the paddle with the dart stuck in it at Mahogany, killing her. The FBI swarms the place, during which the heroes attempt to escape. Daytona's attempts to rescue Feng's sex slaves leads to the villain's forces capturing the heroes. Feng decides to play Daytona to determine which of Wong's students is the superior ping pong player.

During the game, the facility's self-destruct sequence is activated, and Feng reveals there is no off-switch. He also states that he changed the rules so that the ball can now be bounced off any surface once and still be in play. The self-destruct sequence countdown progresses, the game moves through several buildings and finally onto a bridge over a nearby river. After Wong informs Daytona that Feng has a weak backhand, Feng is electrocuted and falls into the water. Daytona and his friends, along with Feng's slaves, escape in Wong's boat. Two months later, the major characters are reunited for the reopening of Master Wong's rebuilt Mushu shop.

Cast[edit]

James Hong with Dan Fogler at the 2007 Comic-Con convention for a panel on the film

Reception and box office[edit]

As of May 19, 2008, the film had a score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 27 reviews.[2] On Rotten Tomatoes, 23% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 125 reviews (29 "fresh", 96 "rotten").[3] The film opened well with a U.S. take (opening weekend) of $14,312,850. Final gross (November 4, 2007) ended up being $32,844,290.[4]

Video game[edit]

Two video games based on Balls of Fury were released for Wii and Nintendo DS[5] by Black Lantern. The storyline involves an underground ping-pong competition, based on the film. They were released on September 9, 2007 (DS) and September 25, 2007 (Wii). Both received very poor critical reviews.

References[edit]

External links[edit]