Balls of Fury: HD DVD Review
This sporty spoof has some guts, but sadly no high-def glory.
“Remember, you suck when you are nervous.”
That’s not just a line from “Balls of Fury,” but apparently a mantra—and someone on the set must have been plenty nervous throughout the filming of this slapstick comedy. Got balls? You’re going to need them to sit through the 91 minutes of this movie.
Dan Fogler (“Good Luck Chuck”) plays childhood Ping-Pong prodigy Randy Daytona, who opens the movie (in his thirties) in a Reno casino. After getting fired, FBI agent/former sitcom star George Lopez recruits Daytona to help catch crime lord Feng, played by Christopher Walken—yeah, that Christopher Walken.
To help catch the killer, who also was responsible for the death of his own father, Daytona trains with blind Pong master Wong (James Hong) and his niece Maggie (Maggie Q). Once Daytona regains his skills and confidence, he can play in Feng’s underground Ping-Pong tournament. The film is part “Dodgeball,” part “Kill Bill,” part “Karate Kid,” and mostly crap. Sure, it’s not another remake or sequel, but let’s just cut to the chase: “Balls of Fury” is a bad movie.
It’s really upsetting and surprising, given that the movie is written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (who also directed), who are both alums of “The State” and currently castmates on “Reno 911.” That said, I know there are many of you out there that have a need to collect every high-def movie. This shouldn’t be at the top of your list. Come to think of it, it shouldn’t be at the bottom either.
We could debate the point of whether or not Fogler’s face was made for high-def, but when it comes down to it, the transfer and the colors are just not that impressive in a film where you’d expect tons of imagery to distract viewers from the dialog. Even hottie/ex-“Talk Soup” host Aisha Tyler doesn’t look good. That says something.
It is a bump over standard-def, and yes, even has its moments. The kung-fu scenes were pretty cool, if not cheesy, and the sweat of our star glistens nicely. However, the movie’s most visual moments can be found in the Tournament of Champions. Unfortunately, you have to sit through about 50 minutes to get to that point. It’s too bad the HD didn’t make Christopher Walken look like another actor; I am embarrassed for him and his powdered wig. Worth the money? Hardly.
The audio uses Dolby Digital 5.1, and although it’s fine, it won’t really make use of many of the speakers in your set. The previously mentioned fight scenes are quick and loud, and the group Karaoke scene at the end sounds great—if you make it that long.
Just in case you were still clinging to some hope of extras, the HD DVD disappoints as much as the movie does. The extras are unbelievably basic, with deleted scenes, an alternate (and equally bad) ending, a “making of” featurette, and two others that you need to snag from the web. Maybe if it came with a free Def Leppard paddle, that might make it worth the $30 to $40 purchase price.
Format Reviewed: HD DVD
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Disc Size: N/A
Aspect Ratio: 1080p, 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Director: Robert Ben Garant
Starring: Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, James Hong, Maggie Q, Thomas Lennon, Robert Patrick
Studio: Rogue Pictures/Universal Studios