It’s been nearly a decade ago since two specific movies were released that, at least in my opinion, were remarkably similar to each other in tone, humor, and title. Those two movies are Balls of Fury and Blades of Glory. Two movies I’ve seen so many times – both of which I’ve actually never reviewed before, so I thought I’d go ahead and give it a shot. First of all, neither of these movies are perfect, nor award-winning material. They are both silly, though. If I had to pick the better of the two – I’d go Blades of Glory, but I’ve always enjoyed this movie as well. So let’s get into it.
Balls of Fury is a film about a retired ping-pong champion that is called into the world of ping-pong once more when the FBI contacts him about a terrorist of sorts that holds a secret ping-pong championship every year and he’s the perfect candidate to take the man down. It should be pointed out that this film is officially a parody film based off of generic martial-arts movie tropes, which in my opinion, is the smart parody. One that doesn’t resort to unrelated movie characters and celebrities like a random Michael Jackson showing up. A real parody that lightly makes fun of a genre. That’s what this movie was, and that’s ultimately what I like about it…it’s silly.
What surprised me, in a way, is how Will Ferrell isn’t in the movie…because it would be perfect for him. A silly sports-genre comedy? Where is he!? If he were going to play anyone in this movie, it would no doubt be Christopher Walken’s character…but I digress. Ferrell’s involvement would no doubt escalate the already obvious presence of racist undertones, like Christopher Walken playing a Chinese character using an American accent. In a way, it knows what its doing can possibly be seen as offensive, it just doesn’t care.
Like I said, this movie isn’t perfect. It just isn’t. While I used to love this movie years ago, it doesn’t click with me now as well as it used to. Yes, I laughed here and there at the silly things that happen, but I’ve moved on from the movie since. The acting is over-the-top and there isn’t enough balance with real emotion in order to connect with the characters. Furthermore, I may like the main character, but he doesn’t have the best chemistry with anyone on screen. He may be a funny guy, but he might as well be a funny guy alone on stage while the rest of the cast struggles to find their place. So that’s the problem – everyone is funny in their own way, they just struggle to work together. There was one person that Dan Fogler worked well within this movie, and that is Diedrich Bader – which is sad, considering how little the man’s role was.
The only reason I like this movie is because the concept is somewhat original. We don’t have a lot of movies about ping pong, because why would we? Ping pong as a central plot is probably a difficult topic to write an entire film about, which is clearly why they decided to go the route of parody. The only other movie I can think of that uses ping pong as a plot device is probably Forrest Gump. So the premise is memorable, the cast isn’t bad at all, and a lot of the jokes stick. Unfortunately, these things are all simply jigsaw pieces to a larger image, and not too many of those pieces work together.
Tastes change, obviously. What I used to love, I simply find interesting. I’ll probably still watch it in the future, though. Don’t read this review believing I hate the movie, that’s not so. It’s a fine comedy. In today’s world, it’s actually difficult to find a comedy with an interesting and silly concept like Balls of Fury. So don’t take that for granted, check it out for yourself!