Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So yes, I’m trying to watch every Sci-Fi original movie ever made, but this one here, ‘Fireball’, jumped on me by accident.  I told my son to track down ‘Fireball’, the Thai film that’s essentially ‘Deathsport’ meets ‘Intramural Basketball’… and who wouldn’t watch that… but instead he got ‘Fireball’, a Sci-Fi original out of Canada about a crazy dude who throws fireballs.  Now the ‘Fireball’ I saw wasn’t the worst Sci-Fi original I’ve seen, not by a long shot, but I was really looking forward to Asian dudes hooping it while beating each to death in the process.  The disappointment was palpable… and the search for that other ‘Fireball’ continues on.

Tyler Draven (Aleks Paunovic) is the meanest, toughest, hardest football player in all of… Canada I guess.  Unfortunately he’s also uncontrollably violent, basically due to the ‘designer steroids’ he’s been taking, which has him beating this schlocky tabloid reporter who follows him everywhere like a sick puppy near to death.  Locked away and awaiting trail, the prison catches fire, and Draven is burnt to a crisp.  It’s tragic. 

Then into town flows socially inept Special Agent Lee Cooper (Ian Sommerhalder) who has been tasked with bringing Draven back to stand trial for some other crime he’s committed, assuming he survives the scorching he took at the prison.  He’s also made the acquaintance of pretty Fire Investigator Ava Williams (Lexa Doig) who does a great job in this movie of talking real technical like real fast.

Then the oddest thing happens.  Draven, who we thought was damn near burnt to death with third degree burns over 95 percent of his body, gets out of the hospital bed and jumps out a window.  Followed by him setting a car on fire simply by touching it.  That’s odd.  Follow that up with people who have done Draven wrong, say like a lady who embellished a TV report or a hard line sentencing judge turning up dead, all by some sort of fire event, it looks like Draven is on a rampage. 

What our very thin but sexy fire investigator has figured is that somehow, probably due to the designer steroids, Draven has become a sort of Human Torch, able to set things on fire just by thinking real hard.  Crazy.  He’s even refined his power to where he’s now able to throw super slow fireballs through the air. 

It’s a bad situation considering the angry murderous dude is also damn invincible since bullets melt before they reach him, but it gets worse because the murderous dude is a suicidal paranoid schizophrenic who blames everybody else for his problems.  And everybody has to pay.  Hopefully there’s not a nuclear power plant nearby… oh well… The fate of North America now rest in the hands of two very thin, but very good looking Canadians. 

So Draven is a linebacker in The League and in one of his many, many rants he claims he averaged five sacks a game.  In a sixteen game season that’s 80 sacks.  That’s a record.  That’s like hitting 215 Home Runs in a season.  Draven was awesome.  ‘Fireball’… well… not so much.

We like the concept of a dude setting stuff on fire, I mean who wouldn’t dig that?  Plus making Draven a suicidal paranoid schizo was also a good look for the character, even though I probably would’ve preferred if our filmmakers played down Draven’s backstory a little bit since I really don’t see the need to feel sympathy for my super villains, and considering they just glossed over it in the first place, it just came off as unnecessary.   But I’m thinking what ‘Fireball’ really needed was a lot more of Draven setting stuff ablaze, and just a little less of Doig and Sommerhalder doing that rapidfire Tracey / Hepburn thing they had going on.  It was impressive, Lexa Doig showing the ability to reel off reams of fire tech, and make it sound believable, even though I’m almost positive she knows next to nothing about whatever the hell she was talking about, and Ian Sommerholder using his amazing eyebrows to achieve maximum effect. If this were a Romantic Comedy then all of that would’ve been just about perfect, but this was an action thriller about an extra large dude setting stuff on fire that needed more action and thrills featuring a large dude setting stuff on fire.

Still, what action there was in the movie was decent enough, things blew up real good, the low budget CGI fire effects are pretty basic but effective, despite the fact that the average person probably could outrun one of Draven’s fireballs , and Aleks Paunovic is a large, oppressive dude who looks like he could’ve actually played football for the Argonauts or somebody.  The end was kind of odd since I think our attractive stars were supposed to hug or kiss or get down or something, but they just kind of stood there looking at each other in a very uncomfortable way.  Don’t know what that was all about.  But all that being said, in comparison to what has come before it and what will eventually follow, ‘Fireball’ was a palatable sci-fi original production.  Though I’d rather have been seeing Asian dudes beating each other near to death on a basketball court.

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