Australian Council on Children and the Media

Balls of Fury

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Not recommended under 13 (Sexual references, coarse language, crude humour and violence).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Balls of Fury
  • a review of Balls of Fury completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 November 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to sexual references, coarse language, crude humour and violence.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Balls of Fury
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language and sexual references, Mild violence
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film commences with twelve year old Randy Daytona, a ping-pong prodigy competing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics against a rather obnoxious adult East German competitor, Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon). Just prior to the commencement of the match, Randy learns that his father Sgt. Pete Daytona (Robert Patrick) has placed a large bet on the game’s outcome with a Chinese Triad crime lord called Feng (Christopher Walken), who happens to be a ping-pong fanatic. Unfortunately, Randy loses the match when he runs into a guard barrier and knocks himself unconscious, and as a result, Randy’s father is murdered by the Triad.

Nineteen years later, an overweight Randy (Dan Fogler) is earning his living performing ping-pong tricks in a third rate restaurant when he is paid a visit by FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez). The FBI wants Randy to infiltrate Feng’s crime organisation via a prestigious underworld ping-pong tournament organised by Feng. However, Randy’s game is not what it use to be, and to bring his game up to scratch the FBI introduce Randy to Master Wong (James Hong), a blind ping-pong master, and his niece Maggie (Maggie Q), a ping-pong master in her own right.

After beating a local champion named “The Dragon”, a twelve year old school girl, Randy receives an invite to compete in Mr. Feng’s grand tournament. Randy, Wong and FBI agent Rodriguez board a bus and end up at Feng’s secret base somewhere in Central America where Randy learns that the tournament involves games of sudden-death where the loser gets a poison dart in the neck. Randy manages to survive all his matches and move up the ranks to finally face his old rival Karl Wolfschtagg.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Organised crime, arms dealing, death and revenge

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Balls of Fury contains some martial arts fighting, slapstick violence and accidental harm. Examples include:

  • At the start of the 1988 Olympic games, an adult Karl Wolfschtagg spits on twelve-year-old Randy Daytona’s hand.
  • A twelve-year-old Randy watches his father surrounded by threatening and intimidating looking men.  
  • During a ping-pong match, twelve year old Randy Daytona crashes through a guard barrier and falls to the ground, he is left lying on his back dazed and confused.
  • Randy’s father is threatened by men holding large knives. He is dragged off and the next images are of newspaper headlines about his murder.
  • Randy is seen hitting a man in the face and chest with numerous ping-pong balls in a humorous manner. However the man collapses, suffering a heart attack, and subsequently dies. 
  • A man accidentally has a pot of boiling water tipped onto his lap and screams in pain.
  • Master Wong grabs hold of Randy’s groin with a pair of chopsticks, ordering Randy to stay away from his daughter. Later, Master Wong sticks his chopsticks up a man’s nose.
  • A stylised martial arts fight between Maggie and several muscle bound looking men. involves kicks to the body and punches to the face. One man pulls a knife on Maggie and she grabs it and throws it at another man. The knife embedding in the floor between the man’s legs. A similar fight is depicted at the end of the film between Maggie and Feng’s henchmen with Maggie at one point pulling out clumps of a man’s hair.     
  • In one scene, Randy accidentally squashes Mr Wong’s lucky cricket
  • Maggie twists a man’s hand and then shoves a ping-pong paddle down the front of the man’s pants, causing the man to wince with pain.
  • Randy is placed in a small room into which a box of bees is dropped .The bees attack Randy who tries to beat them off with a fly swot. Later Randy is depicted lying in bed with his face covered with swollen bee stings.
  • In one scene Agent Rodriguez wakes from a dream and fires his gun at a sleeping Randy putting a number of bullet holes in Randy’s bed head.
  • In two scenes a twelve-year-old schoolgirl punches Randy in the groin causing Randy to fall to the ground.
  • A group of men pick up Randy, carry him outside, and throw him into a dumpster full of rubbish. One of the men then uses a five-dollar note to blow his nose on and then hands the note to Randy. 
  • Randy and agent Rodriguez are required to insert a tracking device into their rectums; we do not see the pair performing the task, but afterwards they walk in a painful and awkward manner.
  • On several occasions a blowpipe is used to murder men; a poisonous dart is embedded into their necks and the men are then dragged out by their feet.
  • In one scene, Randy jumps through a rice paper window and crashes into iron bars. He then falls to the ground.
  • Rodriguez slams a toilet door onto Randy’s arm. We hear the sound of the bone breaking and Randy yelling in pain.
  • Randy uses a ping-pong bat to stop a poisonous dart hitting him in the neck he then throws the paddle at Feng’s chief henchwoman. The dart hits the woman in the forehead and she falls to the ground dead.
  • The FBI and Feng’s henchmen have a shootout with lots of machinegun fire and smoke bombs. No one is hit by the gunfire, but at the end of the fight Feng’s headquarters explode in a giant ball of flames.
  • Feng and Randy playing a game of ping-pong wearing electronic vests. Every time Randy loses a point he receives an electric shock. After being shocked a number of times, Randy wins a point and Feng is electrocuted. The shock causes Feng to fall into a lake, the vest short circuits and Feng is electrocuted. We see the water glowing and Feng’s body convulsing.
  • Mr Wong is seen walking into an elevator shaft where he falls to the bottom of the shaft. The sounds of the injured Wong are heard from the bottom of the shaft.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by many of the violent scenes described above and the threatening and menacing characters.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by a number of the violent scenes and characters described.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • One scene contained images of a McDonald’s promotional class.

 

Sexual references

Balls of Fury contained numerous overt and covert sexual references and innuendos throughout. Examples include:

  • In one scene Maggie tells a number of men to “Watch your balls, not my boobs”.
  • My Wong refers to the art of playing ping-pong as being likened to “…a fine well aged pro; takes years to learn her tricks.”
  • A man learning to play ping-pong asks Maggie to “give me a hand with my balls.”
  • A reference is made to a “Chinese pissing contest.”
  • Mr. Wong makes the following comments are made in relation to spending time with prostitutes “hard chase and cheap ugly woman,” “laughs at you when you are naked,” “She is the only one that I can afford.”
  • In relation to Randy and Rodriguez inserting a tracking device in the rectum’s the comment is made, “sneak this in the old fashion way.” Later the comment is made, “A million bucks of hardware up his crack.”
  • While staying in Feng’s compound a lady offers Randy “courtesans of pleasure” further describing the courtesans as experts in “sensual and erotic arts”. The courtesans are also referred to as “sex slaves.” In a related scene a squeaking bed can be heard and a man makes the comment “someone’s getting lucky.” Master Wong referred to courtesans as a “pleasure girls” stating “she really knows how to handle a man.”
  • Feng makes a suggestive comment to Randy stating “I want bite anywhere that will show,” and later mouths the words to Randy, “Randy I like you.”
  • In one scene Karl Wolfschtagg tells Randy “I tell people I had sex with your mother”.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film Balls of Fury contains some sensuality and suggestive heterosexual and homosexual activity and occasional toilet-like humour. Examples include:

  • A number of scenes of women wearing clothing which reveals thighs, buttocks and cleavage
  • One scene depicts several men wearing sumo belts that reveal part of the buttocks.
  • In one scene a man, in a sexually suggestive manner, grabs Maggie’s buttocks.
  • Maggie kisses Randy passionately on the lips while wrapping her legs around his waist, after the kiss, Randy pulls down and straightens Maggie’s short dress, which had risen up during the kiss.
  • One scene inferred that the blind Mr. Wong enjoyed having sex with a male courtesan mistakenly believing that the male courtesan was female.
  • Randy is given a male courtesan to spend the night with, for Randy’s sexual pleasure. Randy appears very nervous and unhappy about the situation with both Randy and the courtesan spending the night playing Boggle. In the morning Randy makes it clear to others that nothing happened between him and the courtesan.
  • Mahogany flicks out her tongue in a sexually suggestive manner towards a pole she is holding.
  • When Randy rescues a number of male courtesans from their prison, the courtesans touch and kiss Randy’s cheeks, hands and arms.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Men and women smoking cigarettes.
  • Bar scenes with people drinking alcohol.
  • A man inhales from a medical-looking inhaler, but in a manner more suggestive of drug use.  

Coarse language

Bulls of Fury contains coarse language, put downs, derogatory racial terms. Examples include:

  • Oh shit
  • get your stink out of my theatre
  • laughing my arse off
  • what the hell
  • Oh god
  • Jesus
  • round eyes
  • up his crack
  • blow it out your arse bitch
  • bull poop
  • I blow you my fart
  • stop being such a dick
  • crap

 

In a nutshell

Balls of Fury is a comedy martial arts and secret agent spoof. The film at best is mildly humorous, relying heavily upon sexual innuendo, racial slurs, sending up visually impaired people and slapstick violence

The film’s main messages relate to finishing what you started, finding your strengths within yourself, and making sacrifices for those you love.

Parents may wish to discuss:

  • the manner in which women are portrayed as sexual objects or submissive possessions.
  • the bad sportsmanship displayed by competitors who played against Randy.

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