Balls Of Fury

Featured In Issue 128, February 2008

WSR Score2
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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For crude and sex-related humor and language
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Dual Side/Dual Layer (HD DVD30/DVD9)
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Robert Ben Garant
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital+ 5.1
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Randy Daytona (Fogler) is a disgraced former ping-pong champion who is drawn back into the world of competitive, high-stakes table tennis by the F.B.I., to carry out a top secret mission. Randy is recruited to ferret out the the notoriously evil, Feng (Walken), whose thriving criminal empire has transformed him into a truce menace to society. Hopefully, Randy's ping-pong skills haven't faded, and his Balls Of Fury will be in good enough form to see the fallen champ back to the underground world of extreme table tennis. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include up-front previews, seven deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and the following featurettes: Balls Out: The Making Of Balls Of Fury (14 minutes) and Under The Balls: The Life Of A Ball Wrangler (five minutes).

The anamorphically enhanced 1.84:1 DVD exhibits murky black levels that can cause the image to look flat and lifeless. Details are captured well, though, with good resolution, especially in the close shots. Colors are generally undersaturated, and the color palette is typically limited to hues of red and brown. Shadow delineation is adequately well resolved, but the darkest portions of the image are flat. Edge enhancement and compression artifacts are noticeable throughout. While contrast is improved slightly in the VC-1-encoded HD DVD, blacks still look milky, and shadow delineation near the bottom end is slightly unrefined. Details are captured well, but the image doesn't have the level of dimensionality that can bring the best releases to life. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is very basic, typically relegated to the center channel. The corner full-range channels can be completely ignored, giving the soundtrack a very dimensionless sound. Dialogue generally sounds natural, although there are times when it shows poor spatial integration and sounds rather forward. Phantom imaging is limited, even when all of the channels are used. The LFE channel is incorporated well when it is needed, delivering powerful bass, but it is not used often. The HD DVD's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding is an improvement over the DVD's Dolby Digital encoding (and the HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding, which sounds almost identical to the DVD), but it is still limited by the mix and the same inconsistencies in the recording. (Danny Richelieu)