Balls of Fury appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. No significant issues developed during this satisfying transfer.
Only a little softness ever developed, as some wide shots occasionally looked a bit iffy. Otherwise, the flick seemed accurate and well-defined. No jagged edges materialized and edge enhancement was minimal. Some shimmering cropped up in the Ping-Pong nets, but not to a serious degree. Source flaws remained absent during this clean presentation.
Colors produced the picture’s strongest elements. The film went with a broad palette that looked terrific at times. The Chinatown shots and some of Feng’s costumes and décor really stood out as positive; they showed bright, vivid hues. Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows looked acceptably smooth and clear. Overall, the movie provided solid visuals.
If you expect much more than a standard “comedy mix” from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Balls of Fury, you won’t get it. The climactic sequence added some life to the mix, as gunfire and explosions opened up the spectrum to a decent degree. Otherwise this was a pretty forward-focused track. The various elements used the side speakers well and moved smoothly, and music showed good stereo imaging. There wasn’t a lot to stand out from the crowd, though.
No issues with audio quality occurred. Speech was natural and concise, and effects showed good clarity. Those elements were crisp and clear, and the smattering of louder bits offered decent bass. Music was also fairly bright and full. This wasn’t an ambitious mix, but it satisfied.
A few minor extras round out the set. We get seven Deleted Scenes (6:40 total) and an Alternate Ending (1:52). The segments include “Gary Catches Randy Trying to Escape” (1:26), “Rodriguez Tries to Use Credit Card to Open Door – FBI Shoots At Them” (0:32), “Feng and Randy on Rope Bridge” (0:32), “Feng’s Presentation of Polymer Guns” (0:46), “Randy Empties His Trunk” (1:11), “Randy Sees Ghost of Dad in Alley” (1:04) and “Randy Sees Ghost of Dad While Hanging From Bridge” (1:06).
During the “Deleted Scenes”, a few funny bits emerge; I especially like that we get more of Diedrich Bader’s sex slave in “Escape”. The others aren’t quite as good, but some of them have their moments. The presentation order makes no sense, though, as it flits from one part of the movie to another. Wouldn’t it make more sense to show them in the order they would have appeared if they’d been in the final cut?
As for the “Alternate Ending”, it’s not bad. It leads toward a potential sequel, and it brings back Bader. That makes it okay in my book.
Two featurettes follow. Balls Out: The Making of Balls of Fury goes for 13 minutes, 58 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from director Robert Ben Garant, writer/2nd unit director/actor Thomas Lennon, table tennis advisor Wei Wang, table tennis technical advisor Diego Schaaf and actors Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, James Hong, George Lopez, Jason Scott Lee, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa and Maggie Q. We get a few notes about the film’s origins and influences, cast and performances, Ping-Pong training, the prominent use of Def Leppard and the work of the directors. The focus remains superficial but some decent notes emerge. This becomes a short but fun piece.
Under the Balls: The Life of a Ball Wrangler fills five minutes, 18 seconds with notes from Lennon, Garant, Fogler, Maggie Q, Tagawa, actors Diedrich Bader and Aisha Tyler, and “ball wrangler” Irina Voronina. Remember when I said that the movie indulged in surprisingly few puns that use the word “balls”? “Life” makes up for that in a big way. Voronina played the big-chested topless girl in the Reno 911! movie, and here she shows up for a one-joke featurette that puns “balls” about 1000 times in its five minutes. If she went topless again, it’d be worthwhile, but as it stands, it’s predictable and lame.
A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for The Strangers, The Office, American Pie Presents Beta House, the Balls of Fury videogame and HD-DVD. No trailer for Balls appears on the disc.
Sometimes when a movie seems better than expected, that acts as a strong endorsement. In the case of Balls of Fury, however, it simply means the film doesn’t completely stink. Balls provides spotty entertainment but doesn’t ever turn into anything terribly satisfying. The DVD offers very good picture along with decent audio and a few minor extras. This is the kind of flick you watch when it hits cable on a dreary Sunday afternoon, not something that you buy on DVD.