Within the whole sports genre we really haven’t seen a Ping-Pong movie before—especially one portayed in such a spectacularly goofy way. Former child Ping-Pong prodigy Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) who was unceremoniously defeated decades ago is now reduced to performing ball tricks on stage at a local bar. But Randy’s luck changes when FBI Agent Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him for a secret mission: to ferret out FBI’s Most Wanted arch-villain and Ping-Pong connoisseur Feng (Christopher Walken) the man who killed Randy’s father. But times have changed since Randy choked and Ping-Pong is now played in an unsanctioned underground and extreme kind of way. Randy has to get into shape with the spiritual guidance of a blind Ping-Pong master named Wong (James Hong) and his kickass niece Maggie (Maggie Q) in order to make it to Feng’s mysterious jungle compound to play in the most unique Ping-Pong tournaments ever staged. Randy has his work cut out for him though if he’s going to wield his paddle and triumph over rampant wickedness. Who is this Dan Fogler guy and why haven’t we seen him before? Apparently he’s been on stage winning a Tony Award for his work in the Broadway play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee among other things. Now Hollywood is beckoning—and it looks like Fogler has the chops to stick it out. Sort of a cross between Jack Black and Meatloaf the actor totally makes Balls of Fury’s campiness work. He also has lots of help from his fellow players: Lopez is hilarious as the FBI agent who has been working a desk job but fancies himself a James Bond; veteran Asian actor Hong gets to use chopsticks in some interesting ways as the sage but cantankerous Wong; the hard-bodied Maggie Q (wonder what the "Q" stands for) who up to this point has only kicked butt in action movies like Live Free or Die Hard and Mission: Impossible III plays it light in Balls; and of course Mr. Walken as the evil Feng doing his own impression of any Bond villian you can think of while still being Christopher Walken. That man has WAY too much fun in this film. Also look for loads of cameos by recognizable folks. Director/co-writer Robert Ben Garant and his screenwriting partner actor Thomas Lennon (who plays Randy’s hysterical uber-Nazi Ping-Pong rival Karl Wolfschtagg) certainly have a peculiar sense of humor something they created while working on MTV’s The State’s sketch comedy back in the ‘90s and then cultivated on their Comedy Central show Reno: 911!. They’ve gone PG with writing credits such as Night at the Museum and The Pacifier but have gotten R-rated especially with the Reno 911: Miami big-screen effort. Balls of Fury falls somewhere in between (that would be PG-13)--a mixture of James Bond bad martial-arts films Matrix-like slow-mo effects and just about any sports movie starring Will Ferrell. In other words for as many tiny balls that get batted around in any number of silly ways if you buy into their particular brand of comedy (like me) Balls of Fury will keep you in stitches. Oh and if you're a Def Lepperd fan you'll also be pleased with the soundtrack.
The Oscar is not the only film award out there.
The European Film Awards unveiled its slate of winners Saturday, with director Lars von Trier's weepy musical "Dancer in the Dark" picking up a field-best two nods for best European film and best actress for the debut performance by pop singer Bjork, Reuters reports.
The best actor award went to Sergi Lopez in the French dark comedy "Harry, He's Here to Help."
Other winners include: Laurent Cantet's first film "Human Resources" about French labor politics for the European Discovery Fassbinder award; Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's period infidelity drama "In the Mood for Love" for the Screen International Award; Spain's "Goya in Bordeaux" for the best cinematographer award; and France's "It Takes All Kinds" for best screenwriting.
On the same day but in a continent thousands of miles away, Taiwan also announced the winner of the country's annual Golden Horse Awards, Reuters reports.
Taiwan's native son Ang Lee swept the awards with six wins for his martial-arts flick "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" -- including best picture, best film editing and best sound effects.
Best actress kudos went to Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung for "In the Mood for Love" and the best actor award was nabbed by Francis Ng in the Hong Kong action flick "The Mission," which also won the best director award for helmer To Kei-fung.
The Golden Horses, long hailed as Taiwan's equivalent to Hollywood's Oscars, is an annual showcase of Chinese-language films mainly out of Taiwan and Hong Kong.