Print this Article
Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007 03:56 pm

Foul Balls

Pingpong starts strong, but peters out at the end

Untitled Document Amidst Christopher Walken’s many film credits, I doubt that the latest, the uproarious but uneven Balls of Fury, will be cited in Walken’s obituary, but it is a prime example of how an actor who fearlessly goes out on a limb can make a sow’s ear into at least a passable knockoff handbag. Walken plays the despicable Master Feng, a fashionista madman who runs an underground pingpong tournament in Central America. Players from around the world come to deliver their steroid- or martial-arts-fueled moves as they
crush pingpong balls with a degree of intensity that’s usually reserved for weightlifting competitions or high-stakes mah-jongg tournaments. Though the penalty for losing is death, it’s the rush of competition that these players are after. Dropped into the middle of all of this is Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler), a former U.S. champ who embarrassed himself in the 1988 Olympics
and has been reduced to displaying his paddle prowess in a cheap act in Reno. Dayton gets a shot at redemption when FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him to infiltrate Feng’s tournament.
As written by Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant, the script is much like a promising racehorse that fades in the home stretch. Despite an effective cast of oddball players, the film begins to wear thin at about the one-hour mark, even with Walken dispensing some killer lines with his trademark deadpan delivery. The final showdown between Daytona and Feng, paddling it out on a suspension bridge, is a hoot but by the time we get there far too many pratfalls have been done and far too many jokes have been beaten like a dead horse. The bottom line is that Balls of Fury starts out smokin’ but winds up snuffed out in the end.
Log in to use your Facebook account with

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes


  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun