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Balls of Fury is a 2007 American sports comedy film starring Dan Fogler and Christopher Walken. It was directed by Ben Garant and was released on August 29, 2007.

Plot

The film begins at the table tennis finals of the 1988 Olympics. Twelve-year old Randy Daytona is the American contender. He is anxious, and his anxiety increases when his father says that he bet on him despite his original promise not to. His opponent is Karl Wolfschtagg from the German Democratic Republicmarker. During the intense first point, Daytona runs back too far and hits his head on the table. This loss, combined with the fact his father, who bet on his son to win, was killed by Triad agents of the criminal Feng, causes Daytona to leave competitive ping pong a disgrace.

Nineteen years later, Daytona is working at the Peppermill Casinomarker in Reno, Nevadamarker, doing table tennis routines. After getting kicked out (for scaring someone that unexpectedly caused a heart attack), Daytona meets FBImarker agent Ernie Rodriguez who requests his assistance in taking down Feng. Daytona eventually agrees as Rodriguez informs Daytona that he needs to win some championships in order to be noticed by Feng's scouts. After losing as a local tournament to get to state, Daytona is brought to a Chinatown noodle shop to be apprenticed under a blind man named Wong, who was Feng's former mentor. Wong, even constantly calling Daytona a "Gwai-lo" (Cantonese slang for Caucasian, meaning "white ghost"), recognizes Daytona's talent. With his niece Maggie aiding Daytona, Wong chides him in his training until China Town locals vandalize Master Wong's house for him going against their edict of teaching white people ping pong. They say that the only way to solve this is to defeat "The Dragon" (which is actually a small girl) in a ping pong match with Wong exiled from China Town if Daytona loses. After a short match, Daytona defeats The Dragon, who kicks him in the groin before running off in defeat. Feng's men take note of Daytona's victory and invite him to participate, with he, Rodriguez, and Wong leaving for the tournament soon afterwards.

Once there, after an awkward night with one of Feng's sex slaves, Gary, Daytona handily beats his first opponent Freddy "Fingers" Wilson. He becomes afraid when he discovers that the "sudden death" format of the tournament is exactly that, the loser is killed off with a poisoned dart. He attempts to escape unsuccessfully until Feng invites him out on a tour of the facility. He attempts to convince him to join his side and reveals that he only finished half of Wong's training. He says it would be the ultimate satisfaction to win Daytona away from Wong. Feng also shows Daytona his specially-modified ping-pong table, which is wired to give electrical shocks when one side loses a point. Daytona gives Rodriguez the location knowing the illegally manufactured guns are sufficient evidence to incriminate Feng and catch him 'red-handed'. While Rodriguez investigates the hidden facilities, Daytona defeats numerous opponents for his very life. When Rodriguez returns, only Wolfschtagg and Daytona remain.

Upon learning that Wolfschtagg again is his opponent, Daytona tells Rodriguez that he wants to get out as the FBI has not yet responded to Rodriguez's homing beacon. Rodriguez agrees to this, and breaks Daytona's arm. Daytona does not have the opportunity to say he has changed his mind. Feng discovers Rodriguez's attempts to contact the FBI and forces Daytona to face Wolfschtagg. But at the last second, Feng decides to have the abducted Maggie Wong take Wolfschtagg's place, killing him when he protests. As Daytona is in love with her, they keep playing back-and-forth until Feng breaks up the battle. The FBI swarms the place, causing chaos. Daytona goes down to lead Feng's sex slaves to safety, but is stopped by Feng at gunpoint. Feng decides not to kill Daytona immediately as it is still unknown which of the two is Wong's greatest pupil.

Feng and Daytona agree to a match using Feng's ping pong gear in order to see who is the best student under Wong. During the game, as the facility's self destruct sequence is accidentally activated, Feng reveals that not only did he forget to add an off switch, but changed the rules so that the ball can now be bounced off any surface once and still be in play. The game escalates as the facility is about to blow up, both players hit the ball out of the room and eventually take the game out to the rope bridge over the river adjacent to the facility. Daytona loses the point and nearly falls into the river. Master Wong, on a boat, shouts to Daytona that Feng only completed half of his training. With this knowledge, Daytona serves to Feng's underdeveloped backhand. Feng lunges for the ball, misses, falls into the river and is electrocuted as the gang escapes the chaos. Two months later, all of the major characters are reunited for the reopening of Master Wong's rebuilt Mushu shop, with Rodriguez attempting to learn the sport under Maggie's tutelage with Daytona as one of the teachers. Eventually, Wong tells everyone to be aware of their surroundings, but shows his ignorance to this when he falls down the elevator shaft.

Cast



Reception and box office

As of May 19, 2008, the film had a score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 27 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, 23% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 125 reviews (29 "fresh", 96 "rotten"). The film opened well with a U.S. take (opening weekend) of $14,312,850. Final gross (November 4, 2007) ended up being $32,844,290.

Video game

Two video games based on Balls of Fury were released for Wii and Nintendo DS by Black Lantern. The storyline involves an underground ping-pong competition, based on the film. They were released on September 9, 2007 (DS) and September 25, 2007 (Wii).

References

  1. Balls of Fury (2007): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-12-19
  2. Balls of Fury - Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-12-19
  3. IMDB Business: Balls of Fury. Retrieved 2007-12-19
  4. Wii News: Four new Wii games revealed - ComputerAndVideoGames.com


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