Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fireball, burnt by airport closure, finally opens

Fireball (Tarchon) opened in Thailand's cinemas today, offering a unique blend of hard-hitting Muay Thai kicks and bloody, no-fouls-called basketball.

Directed by Thanakorn Pongsuwan, who previously helmed Opapatika and Fake, Fireball is the first production by Bangkok Film Studio, a reboot of the old Film Bangkok run by producers Sa-ngar Chatchairungruang and "Uncle" Adirek Wattaleela. They backed some of the first Thai films to make it big on the international scene, like the original Bangkok Dangerous, Tears of the Black Tiger and Bang Rajan.

When I talked to the filmmakers last September, they said the idea behind the company was to make films with the international market in mind with sponsorship from companies not normally associated with the movie business. Red Bull is among the backers of Fireball, so you can expect to see product placement for the energy drink.

Initially, Fireball was to be distributed by a company called Adamas World, a Thailand-based concert promoter that brought the Korean acts Rain and Super Junior to Bangkok.

Fireball was planned for release in November or December, but the months came and went and there was no Muay Thai basketball.

What happened? Well, for around 10 days at the end of November, a mob of anti-government protesters blockaded both of Bangkok's airports, playing havoc with travelers (like me) and causing a major disruption in the Kingdom's commerce. Adamas had planned a "super concert" of Korean bands in Bangkok around that time, and with the airports shut down, the bands couldn't fly in. Adamas canceled the concert, lost a ton of money and had to pull out of Fireball.

However, the ever-resourceful Uncle and Sa-ngar were able to broker a deal with none other than Phranakorn Film, which will handle the Thai distribution rights.

Fireball also introduces a tough new face to international audiences -- Preeti Barameeanan, better known as Bank, tattooed frontman for the Thai rock band Clash. His cheekbones alone look like they'll devastate an opponent.

Rounding out the cast are some athletes: a boxer known as Nine Million Sam, model and former basketball player "Earth" Anuwat Jeg, former soccer player "Johnny" Kumpanart Ungsoonmern and basketball player "Bas" Karnnut Samerjai.

The lead actress is "Aem" Kantura Chuchuaysuwan, who's been on TV shows and in music videos.

The story involves Bank as a guy named Tai who gets out of prison and finds his twin brother Tan laid up in a coma. To find out who put the hurt on Tan, Tai joins the Fireball, a team playing in an underworld bloodsport.

There's a trailer on Phranakorn Film's YouTube channel, and it's embedded below.

See also:

(Via Daily Xpress)

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