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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Balls of Fury

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted December 21 2007 - 10:36 AM


Studio: Universal
Original Release: 2007
Length: 1 hour 31 mins
Genre: Comedy/Kung-Fu Action Spoof

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Color/B&W: Color

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Rating: PG-13

  • Release Date: December 18, 2007

    Rating: 2 ½ ½ /

    Starring: Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, Thomas Lennon and Robert Patrick

    Written by: Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant
    Directed by: Robert Ben Garant

    Balls of Fury is a spoof of Bruce Lee martial arts films from the makers of Reno 911! that substitutes ping pong for martial arts in many relevant scenes. A few karate moves are still performed here and there by Maggie Q, but the emphasis here is on table tennis. The movie is engineered to be a fast and fun ride, with various comedy setups arranged in a row, much like an action film is constructed with chases and fights. The plot more or less follows the story of Enter the Dragon, albeit with ping pong battles, with some nods to other films thrown in for good measure. There’s even a sly wink to Never Say Never Again if you’re really looking for it. Dan Fogler has a good time playing ping pong and portraying the kind of part Sam Kinison or Chris Farley could have played a few years back. Christopher Walken, of course, has a good time playing Christopher Walken. The movie moves along pretty quickly and is generally amusing. It’s not particularly deep or memorable, but with a title like that, you probably aren’t expecting that anyway.


    Balls of Fury is presented in a 1.85:1 transfer that works fine in terms of presenting a variety of colourful costumes and settings while preserving accurate fleshtones. The most outrageous costumes, of course, are modeled by Walken, and the picture here shows the purples, reds, and blacks at their most intentionally garish. It’s not exceptionally sharp, nor is it exceptionally detailed. But again, given the kind of film we’re talking about, it doesn’t need to be either of those things.


    Balls of Fury is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English and French that, like the picture, does a fine job without being too showy. The action is pretty much in the front channels, but there is a little use of the surrounds for music and some atmospheric effects. As with the video quality, the audio here isn’t exceptional, but doesn’t really need to be.


    Balls of Fury has less than 30 minutes of bonus features. On the other hand, all of them are in anamorphic widescreen.

  • Alternate Ending (1:51, Anamorphic) – A mercifully short alternate ending is included here. This ending actually hints at a sequel, which may one of the reasons why it wasn’t used.

  • Deleted Scenes – (6:39 total, Anamorphic) - Several deleted scenes and scene extensions are presented here, offering a few character moments and jokes that don’t quite come off.

  • Balls Out: The Making of BALLS OF FURY - (13:57 Total, Anamorphic) – This good-natured featurette primarily consists of interview material with Reno 911! vets Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant talking about their ideas for the film. Both openly acknowledge that they were intending to make a martial arts spoof with ping pong substituted for karate. The usual mutual compliments among the cast and creators are intercut with on-set footage and clips from the film. If anything, the on-set footage is instructive, as it shows how little ping pong was actually played in making the film. The ping pong technical advisors contribute here by discussing how their coaching was meant to make the pantomime moves look real once the CGI ping pong balls were added in.

  • Under the Balls: The Life of a Ball Wrangler - (5:17, Anamorphic) - This brief mockumentary features Irina Voronina (seen in the film very briefly as a ping pong coach) as the unsung “ball wrangler” for the production. As you can gather, this is essentially a series of silly jokes, which culminates in what appears to have been a staged prank on the cast and crew.

    Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for the film itself, as well as for the special features. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference. When the first disc is initially started, the viewer is presented with an optional series of non-anamorphic previews including The Strangers, American Pie: Delta House, the new HD-DVD preview and Balls of Fury: The Game.

    IN THE END...

    Balls of Fury is a relatively harmless comedy that will appeal to Bruce Lee and martial arts fans, as well as Christopher Walken fans. It’s nothing that will stay with you for longer than five minutes after you see it, but it’s worth a rental if you’re interested.

    Kevin Koster
    December 21, 2007.

    #2 of 5 OFFLINE   Brett_M



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    Posted December 22 2007 - 01:21 AM

    Nice review. I didn't have high hopes for this but I can honestly say I laughed out loud many, many times watching this. Dan Fogler has excellent timing and is just plain funny. It's harmless and even the kids will enjoy it. (Most of the jokes went right over my 10 year old's head. She loved it.)
    Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

    #3 of 5 OFFLINE   TonyD


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    Posted December 22 2007 - 03:45 PM

    frst half or so was funny, but i started to fade after about halfway. might be why i missed the NSNA Bond "sly wink", what was it.

    #4 of 5 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted December 22 2007 - 06:11 PM

    The final ping pong match between Walken and Fogler is played in electrified suits that shock the loser. Never Say Never Again features a "Global Domination" video game between Klaus Kinski and Sean Connery where the loser gets shocked. And shocked. And shocked.

    #5 of 5 OFFLINE   TonyD


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    Posted December 23 2007 - 12:46 AM

    oh, yes. i did notice that. thanks for reminding me.

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