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 moments.
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 wacky 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.