Finally I can stop complaining about modern Thai action, like I did here and here. Fireball probably has less budget than the two movies I linked to, but is a helluva good little action movie. A while I ago I saw another movie by the same director, Demon Warriors - and I liked it, but felt it ended in an anticlimax. Fireball is the opposite. It starts at full speed and goes more brutal, violent and spectacular until the final showdown.
If I got the story correct, Tan (Preeti Barameeanat) get's his brother killed in an illegal sport where the teams combine basket with Muay Thai. He, himself, gets almost killed and spends a year in the hospital. After he gets out he want to take revenge and starts playing with a new and upcoming team of fighters. The team is lead by a new gangster, who took over the team after his boss died. But who can they trust? The enemy teams are even more brutal, and is not afraid of using weapons to win their games, and with the right amount of money they can be forced to loose a game, and even loose their life to make the boss happy...
This is a raw and brutal movie with a lot of fighting and action. Director Thanakorn Pongsuwan uses his budget well, and creates a dirty and realistic version of the poor part of Bangkok. For once they heroes (and bad guys) aren't honorable country folks or rich well dressed kids. These are the ones that lives under the highway, selling t-shirts to tourists, working hard in the meat district and just are very poor and want to make extra money to get away and get a new life. Pongsuwan has caught the locations very good (I've been there, and lived there, myself - and I feel like I'm there again) and it's just very realistic. Fireball is also shot (beautiful by the way) digitally, which makes the atmosphere even more grittier.
Before I get to the action, I have to say that the actor and script is well above average. These feel like real people, not just caricatures of what people expect from a martial arts movie. They react in logical way, have emotions and the acting is subtle. After the cinematic turds of Hanuman and The Sanctuary, it's a welcome change of quality. Then we have the action. This is hard-hitting and brutal, quite a lot of blood and it feels painful - mostly because all fights are set on asphalt and concrete. The editing is also very rapid, but for once you can understand what's happening and it never becomes irritating. I'm impressed, really.
Fireball is the best modern Thai action I've seen since Tony Jaa's latest, without comparing them - they're totally different in style and mood. But I think you should see it and judge for yourself. I'm already looking forward to the prequel, where the origin of Fireball is explained - which starts during the Vietnam-war. Can be amazing!