Follow TV Tropes


Film / Balls of Fury

Go To
In the world of illegal underground table tennis...
— entirely deadpan opening line from the trailer

From a slate of obscure-sports sports movie parodies (DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Blades of Glory) that were popular in the mid-'00s. It is directed by Robert Ben Garant with the screenplay by Garant and Thomas Lennon.

Nineteen years after a humiliating failure at the '88 Olympic Games against Karl Wolfschtagg (Lennon), ping-pong prodigy Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) is eking out a living as a trick-ping-pong-artist; on the day he gets fired, he is invited by FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) to be the Bruce Lee equivalent in a ping-pong themed Enter the Dragon parody: reclusive criminal overlord hosting exclusive tournament in private fortress.

The film also stars Christopher Walken as Feng, Maggie Q as Maggie Wong and Robert Patrick as Pete Daytona.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Maggie, very much. She nearly curb-stomps a bunch of mooks on her own before being taken.
  • Actor Allusion: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa used to be in the same role as Feng. As Shang Tsung.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Feng. His "courtesans" are all men. And they don't need to be gay for some reason. Randy hangs out with one like they were bros.
  • Ass Shove: "We're gonna have to sneak this in the old fashioned way..."
  • Bad Boss: Feng in spades. He has Mahogany kill his associate, the Mysterious Asian Man, because Wong, Randy and Ernie were 15 minutes late to the banquet.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Averted.
    Feng: Ping pong! Or, as the Chinese call it, ping pong!
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Congratulations, you beat the Dragon! Here's your money, too bad it's got snot all over it." He then proceeds to blow his nose on the prize money.
  • Butt-Monkey: Randy. In spades. You'd be hard pressed to find a scene where he isn't being mocked, physically injured, or accidentally screwing something up.
  • The Cameo:
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Maggie beats 3 people in ping pong at the same time while also answering the phone to take a food delivery order, while sounding absolutely bored.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Bouncing ping-pong balls off of people. Also inverted in that the Big Bad's major weakness in his incomplete training is that he cannot reverse-serve a ball.
  • Combat Parkour: Maggie uses combat parkour when she takes on a group of martial artists.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Feng's palace looks mostly Chinese, but there's Sumo wrestlers carrying his palanquin, and Feng's fashions make him look like Bram Stoker's Dracula. There's even what appears to be North Korean officers, but those are probably guests.
  • Damsel in Distress: Beautifully Gender Flipped with the sex slaves, who do nothing but squeal and cower while they're being rescued.
  • Dance Party Ending: A karaoke party over the end credits, with nearly all the characters regardless of whose side they're on (Feng, Mahogany and even his servant girls are here).
  • Deceptive Disciple: The Big Bad learned everything in how to become a master ping-pong player from Master Wong, but left before his training was complete and became a crime lord with a penchant for ping-pong death-matches. The incompleteness of his training becomes a Hoist by His Own Petard during his battle with Daytona.
  • The Dragon:
    • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is the man who's been doing all the legwork for Feng, including kidnapping and killing Randy's father.
    • Feng's female assistant, Mahogany, who among her other duties executes losing contestants with poisoned darts. For extra Shout-Out points, she resembles May Day.
    • The best player in the local competition in the first act is a little girl who is literally nicknamed "the Dragon".
  • Exact Words: Feng demonstrates how evil he is by killing the first contestant that loses (played by Terry Crews) and telling Randy:
    "What part of 'sudden death' didn't you understand?"
  • Expy: Jason Scott Lee plays Eddie, the translator for "The Dragon," doubling as an Shout-Out to himself in Enter the Dragon and also as a Shout-Out to the urban legend of Bruce Lee fighting for the ability to teach the kwailo kung fu. "The Dragon" herself is an Expy to Bruce Lee, in this case in the realm of ping pong.
  • Fanservice: What else would you call Maggie Q in a sports bra and tight workout shorts for half of the movie and wearing a short red qipao like dress(which she cartwheels in during one of the ping pong matches, showing her underwear)?
  • Faux Affably Evil: Karl Wolfschtagg for Randy, and the Big Bad as well.
  • Gift Shake: At the end, Randy gives his master a gift. He vigorously shakes it before Randy has a chance to tell him that it's a new lucky cricket, which is now dead.
  • Groin Attack: Happens a few times, including an incident with chopsticks.
  • High-Voltage Death: At the end of the film, Randy exploits Feng's weak backhand, causing the latter to be fatally electrocuted by his own vest.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Dragon ends up being killed by one of her own poison darts.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Karl Wolfschtagg coldly mocks Randy and his dead father over and over, laughing at his own jokes. When someone heckles him from the audience with "You suck!" Wolfschtagg meekly protests that insults "sting."
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: Randy, in a daze, blurts this out when he is humiliated at the Olympics. Years later, when greeting Feng's audience, a foreign national breaks the silence with, "how was Disney World?" making this statement an Old Shame.
  • Insult Backfire: This gem:
    Thug: You smell like fear!
    Master Wong: The joke's on you, it's Lady Speed Stick!
    Randy: [beat] Thank you, master.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Randy discovers the hard way that all of the matches in this tournament are this, but the one that better fits is the climax, in which Feng forces Randy and Maggie into a match — one dies or both die.
  • Large Ham: Karl Wolfschtagg. He's anything but subtle in his gloating.
  • Little Miss Badass: The Dragon. Complete with Hello Kitty backpack!
  • Mighty Whitey: Though Randy is referred to by his teacher as "gwailo" (literally "ghost man" but taken to mean "foreign devil"), he is acknowledged as the only player able to beat Feng's contestants (and Feng himself).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Ping pong is portrayed with as much intensity as your average kung-fu fight.
  • Mundane Solution: How does Ernie deal with a crime boss with an AK out to hijack his rescue boat at the pier? Kick the gangplank out from under him.
  • Murderous Thighs: See "leg-grip-neck-crunchy thing" below.
  • Never Heard That One Before: People taunting Randy about the Disneyland thing.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Lampshaded, at the end.
  • Not Just a Tournament: As befits a parody of Enter the Dragon, the reason for the FBI being interested in the tournament is because of a crime lord funding it... and using it to draw the attention of unlawful people interested in his product, which is undetectable plastic firearms.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mahogany invokes the trope after Randy deflects one of her own blow darts back at her.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Parodied. The directions to the rendezvous for the transport of the tournament are on the "Golden Racquet", as a Chinese riddle. Daytona seems to solve it, but then shows that the address was printed in English on the other side of the racquet, which nobody had noticed until then.
  • Old Master: Wong.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Feng used to be Master Wong's ping-pong student until he got deep into the criminal business.
  • Pec Flex: Daytona's first opponent in the tournament (Mr. Terry Crews) does this excessively.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Subverted. Maggie punches a bad guy, kicks him, does a Sophitia-esque leg-grip-neck-crunchy thing to him, and he doesn't even bat an eye. Then he falls over.
  • Rule of Funny: The only reason the "grave site under a water slide" scene works. Zoning laws obviously wouldn't allow for such a thing to be possible.
  • Sadistic Choice: Feng's real endgame - pitting Randy against Maggie. Either way one of them will be killed for losing.
  • Serious Business:
    • "You killed him..." "Well, duh. What part of 'sudden death' didn't you understand?"
    • Ping-Pong in general is taken VERY seriously in this movie.
    • Also lampshaded: "This is where fortunes are won, or lost. I'm speaking hyperbolically, but you get my point. People bet on ping-pong here."
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    "I'm trying to sacrifice my life in the name of our love, quit being such a dick!"
  • South of the Border: Although the compound and the Big Bad scream Yellow Peril, the place is situated "someplace in Latin America", and can even be reached by charter bus.
  • The Unfought: Karl Wulfstagg.
  • Theme Music Power-Up / Miracle Rally: Averted Trope and Defied Trope: when Randy turns on a Def Leppard song to perform a power-entry to his match with Karl (after a much-needed and sports-film-standard Rousing Speech by Wong regarding Randy's need to fight with his off (and unbroken) hand), the Big Bad gets bored and kills both the radio and Karl.
  • There Was a Door: Inverted. You could try to break through the armored door, but that's stupid when there's a window right next to it.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Even Ernie gets a badass moment.
    "I'm FBI, pendejo!"
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Feng being a white guy played by Christopher Walken is treated as a surprise. But you wouldn't know it from every piece of promotional material.
    • The commercials give away a general overview of the plot and most of the jokes.
  • Training from Hell: Naturally, as a parody of martial arts films. Among other examples there is When You Snatch the Pebble underneath.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Randy after winning his first round in the tournament. Then his opponent is killed for losing.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Subverted: we never find out what lesson the cricket in Master Wong's hand was meant to help impart, but it apparently wasn't "grab it as quick as you can."
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Enter the Dragon. Even the "Courtesans" scene is a parody.
  • Yellow Peril: Parodied: Feng, played by Christopher Walken, is so white yet obsessed with being a stereotypical "kung-fu film crime lord Big Bad" kind of guy that only gets a pass because of Rule of Funny (and probably Pretty Fly for a White Guy).
  • You Killed My Father: Pete was executed by Feng due to his son losing match and him owing money to the Triad that he bet on Randy's victory.