Fireball (2009)

Preeti Barameeanat, Khanutra Chuchuaysuwan, Kumpanat Oungsoongnern, Phutharit Prombandal,
Fireball is a movie starring Preeti Barameeanat, Khanutra Chuchuaysuwan, and Kumpanat Oungsoongnern. Tai, a young man arrested on a crime charge, is discharged thanks to his twin brother Tan's dogged help. After being set free, he...
  • 5.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Kiat Sansanandana, Taweewat Wantha, Adirek Wattaleela, Writer:
  • Thanakorn Pongsuwan, Director:
  • Producer:

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4 / 10

Breath taking, in all areas but the ingredients of a good film

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

The Thais are fast taking over the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese in terms of producing the most acclaimed martial arts films in the heart of their home countries, without the aid of any Hollywood CGI or props to spruce them up. We've had Tony Jaa in the Ong-bak films delivering his breath taking visual displays and now we have this less successful effort from director and co writer Thanakorn Pongsuwan, focusing on some competitors in an underground interfusion of basketball and muay thai, that obligatorily forgoes the use of a decent plot and unhammy acting. Sadly, it's also just never any fun, the close ups on the fights and their sheer relentless nature proving more distracting than entertaining and it all ends up feeling like it's really dragging on. Some fun here and there, but generally as much fun as a 'fireball' in the gut. **

4 / 10

Sounds like an awesome idea!! But executed badly.

The idea of integrating two of my favorite sports of martial arts and basket ball sounds like action heaven!! But this movie is poorly executed. The performers certainly do what they can, but no matter how their acting performances are or martial acrobatics. It just doesn't get off the ground to involve or genuinely excite you. The cinematography is all over the place, leaving you confused about who is who or simply feeling queasy from the all the shaking and spinning camera angles. The martial arts and acrobatics is nothing that you haven't seen before, even placed with the basketball skills and setting. Even the emotional subplots aren't enough to get you connected to the characters to care about what happens to them in the brutal "life and death" basket ball courts. Better to spend your time watching the other quality Thai action movies like Ong Bak, Chocolate, Raging Phoenix and Bangkok Knockout...

4 / 10

Abuse of Editing Makes This A Difficult Watch

I hate when you watch a film that not only feels like a waste of time but when you lament that time could have been spent elsewhere from watching a better film or cleaning the toilet. I knew not to expect an Ong Bak or a Chocolate. Also, I recently enjoyed the Legend of the Tsunami Warrior which was not a great film, but you can see the maturity of the Thailand popular cinema in terms of special effects and film techniques so I was curious on this film. Sometimes curiosity is dangerous.

Many times when you are watching a martial arts film (sometimes this goes with musicals as well) you can forgive an inane plot, idiotic characterizations and pretty much everything else if the fight scenes are sagacious. Usually when they are not it is because you are presented with actors (and/or choreographers) who know nothing about showcasing the proper aesthetics and the artistic ability to convey the beauty that makes martial art cinema great. Sometimes, like in this film, the actors have the martial arts ability, but it is the director, editor and cinematographer that help make this film an irritable exercise in how long can you sit at a time while watching this before you change and watch something else. I can forgive the film quality which has the feel of a low budget TV movie. I cannot forgive (besides the plot) the elliptical editing, the cinematography which seems to be done by a 300 pound ex-alcoholic after running a mile who is suffering delirium tremens, and the soundtrack with exception of the cool Thai rap heard early in the film. Honestly, I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish with the editing. Were they trying to outdo Michael Bay?

The plot was not much better. Here we have Tai (Preeti Barameeanat) a criminal who was set free because of his twin brother's Tan's (same actor) cash contributions that left Tan in a coma. Tan was making money with the underground basketball game called Fireball. Tai takes his identity and gets back into the game to find out who was responsible for his brother's condition as well as try to make money to pay for an operation for his deteriorating brother. In the meantime he is falling for his brother's girlfriend. I like the idea of having an underground basketball game featuring Muay Thai and run by drug lords. But the execution of it could have been better. Allowing weapons to be used really made it silly and stupid. I know I should not be thinking, but who would put themselves into that situation without much money or without having their family held hostage? Ultimately the best situation for this type of game where you win by scoring once (or dispatching all of your opponents) would be to hire very fast players who could score right off of a fast break (even with individuals trying to beat you up) since a good basketball player should be able to do a layup/dunk even with two or three guarding and not getting hit. With full disclosure I am a basketball fan – I have no idea whether that would predispose my thinking one way or the other for this movie.

One of the benefits of lower budget films is that much is done on location. You get to see a lot of city life and as a byproduct of the frenzied fight scenes I found myself enjoying the surroundings more (it is usually a bad sign for a film when you start paying attention to things like background people, possibly product placement and anything but what you are supposed to be focusing on). The attempt at creating a commentary on the social-economic conditions of these youths ultimately did not work because of a few plot threads that either made you to hate the drug lords yet put your sympathy on the one upcoming drug lord who recruited the protagonist and a few others who you get to see a bit of their daily lives.

The Lionsgate release had no issues though it does seem that there are dubtitles – so there is an English dub along with this as well. Special Features include a trailer for the film, additional Lionsgate trailers (Wushu, Death Warrior, Four Dragons, Bodyguard: A New Beginning, Never Surrender) and a Behind The Scenes which lasts around 11m 44s. The Behind The Scenes is in Thai with intercut scenes of the movie in English dub and even has some outtakes and behind the scene footage (where wires are shown). It has the director Thanakorn Pongsuwan talking about the origin of the story, the plot of the film and choice of actors. Also featured are: the producer Sangar Chatchairungruang (can't believe he stated that goal of the film was creating fun), the lead actor(s) Preeti Barameeanat (from Clash Band), actor Sam Kasem (Zing; in real life he is a Thai boxer who fights in Japan) and actor Arucha Tosawat (Tun).

9 / 10

Loved it

This movie, at least for me, is awesome... The true embodiment of entertainment.The acting and the story are nothing outstanding, but the fights are fantastic, with fast pace, and very brutal.I don't care about depth, in movies... I'm not looking for a movie that makes me think... I'm just looking for something that entertains me, simple as that...And this is pure entertainment... I loved it

1 / 10

Wow—as in 'Wow, what a pile of crap!'

Tai (Preeti Barameeanat) is released from jail, all charges dropped, his brother Tan (also played by Barameeanat) having greased some palms with cash earned playing the violent street sport Fireball. After Tai arrives home to discover his brother in a coma, badly bruised and beaten, he enters the Fireball arena to try and find the person responsible, while earning some cash to pay for a much-needed operation.

Thai martial arts movie Fireball (AKA Muay Thai Dunk) revolves around an illegal tournament in which two teams of five men battle it out on a basketball court, maiming and killing their opponents while trying to score a single basket. As such, I wasn't expecting much in the way of a gripping (or logical) storyline—and I didn't get one. I was, however, expecting some decent fight scenes—a bit of bone crunching, adrenaline fuelled action, as the quote on the DVD cover promised—but I didn't get that either.

Director Thanakorn Pongsuwan seems to have gone out of his way to reduce every potentially exciting scene to an incomprehensible mess through the use of wobbly camera-work and rapid editing. There are several lengthy Fireball matches, but it is virtually impossible to work out who is punching or kicking who, making the film an extremely frustrating (and utterly boring) experience. In between the 'action', Pongsuwan pads out the running time with cloying emotional drama, but since I couldn't care less about any of his horribly clichéd characters, this did nothing to help improve my opinion of the film as a whole.

So bad it makes the barely above average Kung Fu Dunk (2008) look like a work of pure genius by comparison, I have no reservations in giving Fireball the lowest possible rating of 1/10.