Walken on empty

BALLS OF FURY Di­rected by Robert Ben Garant. Star­ring Dan Fogler, Christo­pher Walken, Ge­orge Lopez, Mag­gie Q, James Hong, Robert Pa­trick 12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews - MICHAEL DWYER

SOME movies are be­yond re­demp­tion, to the point where even the pres­ence of Christo­pher Walken can’t save them, even though he tries gamely in Balls of Fury. Un­for­tu­nately, Walken doesn’t come in un­til the half­way point; even more un­for­tu­nately, the fo­cus of the film is on the ut­terly gorm­less Dan Fogler from Good Luck Chuck.

A pro­logue in­tro­duces Randy Day­tona as a 12-year-old tableten­nis whizz rep­re­sent­ing the US at the 1988 Olympics. His fel­low Amer­i­cans, among them Ron­ald and Nancy Rea­gan, watch the fi­nal on TV, and when Day­tona stum­bles, he goes from hero to laugh­ing stock. Flash for­ward to 2007, and Day­tona (now played by Fogler) is re­duced to per­form­ing in two-bit stage shows for bored tourists in Reno when the FBI re­cruits him for a top se­cret mis­sion.

Groomed by a blind trainer (James Hong), Day­tona re­turns to com­pet­i­tive ta­ble ten­nis to in­fil­trate the head­quar­ters of gang­ster and ping-pong afi­cionado Feng (Walken), who hosts a tour­na­ment for an au­di­ence of crim­i­nal friends. Sport­ing ex­trav­a­gant coif­fure, Walken is dressed in flam­boy­ant cos­tumes that may have been re­jects from Mem­oirs of a Geisha.

Day­tona is the butt of the movie’s puerile hu­mour, forced to wear an un­com­fort­ably large FBI hom­ing de­vice inside his body, and re­peat­edly sub­jected to gen­i­tal tor­ture. Balls of Fury is as tacky-look­ing as it is silly, but not at all silly enough to be funny.

The sound­track is pep­pered with Def Lep­pard songs; one, Pour Some Sugar On Me, is per­formed by the cast over the clos­ing cred­its.

Chris as Feng: sleep Walken

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