Fireball: Muay Thai Dunk features a a brutal, no-holds-barred game where two teams of five players each fight it out Muay Thai-style on the court. To win, you still have to put the ball into your opponent’s basket, but it only takes one dunk to win. Either that, or the team with the last man standing will be the victor. Killing your opponent is allowed, but only within the court. Whether or not such a game is really played in Thailand, it’s a bluntly employed pretext for gratuitous violence, because only one rule applies: Kill or be killed. Story is pretty straight forward, man who wakes up from a coma to find that his brother has been killed in a deadly game of basketball joins said basketball game to avenge his brothers death.
The film reveals a filthy world of match-throwing and slumdogs desperate to make good to their wives or mothers, but the background and characterization are weak on realism. The theme of this movie is that this world is one big test. There’s a lot of cruelty that we have to find a way through, which to me is very interesting. Muay Thai Dunk will definetely satisfy any action junkie who misses the good old days of no holds barred fights. Drawbacks are included in this film very much. First of all, there’s that shaky camera… thing. In a martial arts movie. It gets steadier after the first half of the film, but by then you’re too giddy for it to make any difference. Second, Tai, who feels guilty now, returns to the court to fight it out and win the prize money to pay for his twin’s hospital bills. This decent plot, however, takes a hit, especially during the hurried introduction to get to the action. The cast reportedly spent a year training for the film, and it shows.
Given knowledge that a prequel will be made, I can’t help but to think that this film could end up as the “middle” movie, since it ended the way it did with doors opened for a sequel, and of course the story of Tan provides ample room for scenes before the opening shot here. This is not a martial arts film in the sense that there are elaborate, highly choreographed movements taking place. Still, it is hugely entertaining and surprisingly well made. Muay Thai Dunk is a pure, fun b-film that takes its premise and pushes it as far as it can possibly go.
The games are agile and vivid, raw and fast. Pity the story though, which could have used a lot more work to make the characters more engaging. Unfortunately, when the action stops, that’s when the movie stalls. The camera work for example, is confusing. The camera is often spinning out of control, shaky at times and a little out of focus especially during fighting scenes. So what you have hear is a lose-lose situation. But both aspects were deemed passable in my book so I’ll let it scrape by with a slot on this site. But be warned, this movie is not a slam dunk in the least. In this competition, you don’t have to be a good basketball player to win. No, you’re better off practising your punches and kicks than your hoop shooting and ball passing. So its kind of pointless on top of it all.