Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A former linebacker named Tyler "The Fuse" Draven doesn't burn when his prison is set ablaze. No, he's done so many steroids that the fire bonded with his genetic makeup and has turned him into a human flamethrower. Ian Somerhalder and Lexa Doig play the Mulder and Scully of the film, trying to stop things before they get too hot to handle (zing!).
Is it good movie?
I don't really get why the Sci-Fi network gets the opportunity to release their TV movies on the DVD market. It's not to say that I've seen any that are truly unwatchable, but the problems are always the same and the movies tend to gravitate towards mediocrity at best. I suppose there's an audience for schlock-filled stuff like this, but that audience can just catch their movies as a re-run on the network. I can't understand (as of yet) why anyone would want to pay anything more than bargain basement prices to have this in their collection.
In case you couldn't tell already, Fireball isn't exactly an exception to the rule. I don't want people thinking I can't appreciate a nice, silly b-movie from time to time because I absolutely can. My issue here is that this movie just doesn't have a lot going for it- I know what you're thinking. You're currently pondering how a movie with a giant dude who throws fire for fun could possibly be lacking in entertainment value, and unfortunately I'm going to let you know all about it.
Fireball isn't a complete and utter bomb. Ian Somerhalder and Lexa Doig play off each other quite well in the typical role of burnt-out agent and know-it-all fire expert. They show some decent chemistry from time to time and try hard to anchor this film as best they can. With that said, Somerhalder is miscast here as a tough federal agent. In terms of the villain, he's not much to write home about and that may be due to the fact that very little was written about him in the first place. He's a pretty cardboard villain and doesn't show any real signs of coolness.
The biggest problem here is the logic and the pacing of the flick. The movie expects you to believe that steroids can give you the ability to throw fire in the right situation. That's all well and fine but the writers give Lexa Doig's character a TON of dialogue about how this all happens. Now, I know that it's okay to have a character spouting a line or two about how the film's logic works but she never gets to stop. She gives all these long-winded, boring explanations about things that are not only packed with pseudo-science but annoying and extraneous. She spends all kinds of time droning on and yet she can't even explain why this dude isn't walking around naked all the time! Blech.
The effects here are not very good either, looking like a very low budget TV movie (which this surprisingly was). There's a lot of fire effects that are passable, but too many miss the mark and take you right out of the film. This movie doesn't have a lot going for it.
Video / Audio
I'm not the biggest fan of Ian Somerhalder, but this movie's problems certainly aren't his fault. The film moves slowly, has a relatively lame villain who could have been replaced by anyone, and is jammed with a ton of annoying facts, a lack of logic and a dreadfully slow final act. This one definitely flames out.