Fireball

(Tar Chon)
Sponsored by: Guru

North american Premiere

  • Thailand 2009
  • 94 min
  • 35mm
  • Thai with English subtitles
North American Premiere

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Credits

Director: Thanakorn Pongsuwan
Screenplay: Thanakorn Pongsuwan, Taweewat Wantha, Adirek Wattaleela
Cast: Preeti "Bank" Barameeanan, Khanutra Chuchuaysuwan, Phutharit Prombundarn
Producers: Adirek Wattaleela
Distributor: Lionsgate

Description

Tai is freshly released from prison, sprung early thanks to funds spread liberally in the right places by his brother Tan. But when Tai goes to express his thanks, he discovers that all is not well. Tan is in a coma thanks to serious head wounds suffered under mysterious circumstances. He was clearly involved in something illegal, and Tai is determined to find out what and exact revenge on whoever is responsible. His only clue that Tan was coming home bruised from playing basketball. And so off Tai goes to the courts...

From time to time a film comes along that is simply far, far better than it has any right to be, a film that somehow rises above a ludicrous premise to become something far more than the sum of its parts. This year that film is Thai combat-basketball film FIREBALL. Combat basketball? You bet. FIREBALL revolves around an underground, to-the-death variant of basketball, a game played five on five with the first team to score—or simply have the last man standing—declared the winner. It’s preposterous, yes, but firm direction by Thanakorn Pongsuwan (OPAPATIKA), a surprisingly strong script that treats its characters with respect and a great cast make FIREBALL a winner. With it, Pongsuwan vaults into the upper rank of current Thai genre directors. His sense of character is spot on, he shoots great film and he draws shockingly good performances from his cast of largely unknown stuntmen. The plentiful action is brutal in the extreme—and there’s lots of it. Every fireball match is a full on, no-holds-barred contest of bare-knuckle brutality. Muay thai is an obvious influence and there is a strong parkour element as well, but this is mostly full-on street brawling. If your knowledge of Thai action starts and stops with stars Tony Jaa and Dan Chupong, this proves that the talent pool runs much, much deeper indeed.

—Todd Brown

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