Fireball DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 4.5
Video 7.0
Audio 5.0
Special Features 2.5
Total 4.5
Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Classification:
 M15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

4.5


Fireball

A bizarre hybrid of Baseketball and Kickboxer, Fireball revolves around a deadly new game sweeping the world of Bangkokís organised crime syndicates.  The sport in question fuses basketball with Muay Thai and mixed martial arts, with the only real rules being that once the whistle blows each team must beat the living shite out of each other, and the first to score a basket wins.  Death is not uncommon, in fact itís desirable, as the fewer men left standing the more cash theyíll have when the winnings are divided. 

And that, in a nutshell, is that.  The rest of the plot and characterisations are largely redundant; you either want to watch a bloody combination of Royal Rumble and a backyard game of roundball or you donít.  It doesnít really matter that lead character Tai (Preeti Barameeanat) is playing in order to win money for his comatose twin brother Tan, who was beaten unconscious in a game of Fireball trying to win the requisite funds to pay off the bribes needed to free his brother from prison.  Does that sentence even make sense?  I donít know, I just watched a movie that was a cross between Hoop Dreams and Fight Club.  I never thought Iíd say that. 

This movie is guaranteed to leave you equally delirious, or at the very least perplexed.  The premise is so strange, the back stories so superfluous, the gangster cliches so risible (ĎYou donít like my way of doing things? Then get the fuck outta here, and good luck finding another nefarious criminal willing to loan you moneyí) that it makes it difficult to really immerse yourself in the plot, such as it is.  What I did like about the film were a natural performance by actress Khanutra Chuchuaysuwan as Tanís comely squeeze Pang, the welcome intensity of Barameeanat, which keeps things from descending totally into farce, and some interesting and truly arresting shots of Bangkokís literal underbelly; the shady goings-on underneath the buzzing highways, the seedy gangster bars, the wild dogs roaming the streets, the endless sprawl of cheap concrete apartment blocks.  Ultimately however the bad outweighs the good, and despite the best efforts of director Thanakorn Pongsuwan Fireball couldnít be said to be anything approaching essential viewing.  It isnít much of a sports movie, and isnít quite a martial arts film either.  In fact, Iím not sure what the hell it is.  Cool title though. 

Audio & Video

Fireball has been badly and unconvincingly dubbed into English, and accordingly features both a bad DD 5.1 surround English soundtrack and an unconvincing DTS English 5.1 surround mix.  Thankfully however there is the redeeming presence of a Thai two-channel audio track, which is up to par.  Considering one of the joys of watching a foreign film is watching that film in its original language, and not poorly dubbed by voice actors standing in an irritatingly resonant recording booth, this would seem a paltry compromise.  Picture quality is fairly strong, though for some reason the film looks as though itís been overexposed or run through a faint sepia filter.  Or has had similar effects applied digitally.  It worked well in Traffic, but Iím not sure what the purpose was of employing a slightly monochrome palette here. 

Special Features

A 12-minute Making Of, which contains interviews with the filmís animated Director Pongsuwan, snippets of dubbed footage from the film, and not much else of note.






 
 



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