Tyler “The Fuse” Draven is a former pro linebacker who has finally hit rock bottom. Draven has been caught using steroids and is no longer allowed to play pro football; if that’s not enough he has a news reporter constantly harassing him waving a camera in his face. After attacking the news reporter Tyler is sent to prison and one would think that would be the end to this mans story however a fire erupts in the prison and melds with the steroids in Draven’s blood stream causing him to suddenly be able to control heat and fire, now somebody is gonna pay!
“You get beat down so many times before you beat back!”
K.T. Donaldson’s Fireball isn’t a movie for everybody. The opening sequence shows a group of four being chased by a rather large bald man who some how manages to conjure a fireball out of thin air. The intimidating fellow then throws the said fireball at the van causing it to explode and then the credit sequence starts, oh and the viewer finds out that what they have just seen actually happens four days from the start of the film (why are so many movies starting this way these days?).
During the credit sequence the viewer gets to hear a radio broadcast about former pro football player Tyler “The Fuse” Draven. Draven, as he is called most of the movie, is a professional sporting team’s worst nightmare. It is said that he has more assault charges than championships, and there are even claims that he has been using steroids based on his own DNA. While we hear these radio broadcast we get to see Draven hauling ass down the road in his car, he is being tailed by a news reporter named Tim Timmonds. Timmonds is on the phone about ratings and he carries a small camcorder with him making sure to get every moment on film.
Draven pulls into a gas station and quickly gets out going about his business. While Draven is pumping his gas Timmonds suddenly storms off on him waving a camera in his face asking him how it feels never being able to play pro ball again, he also points out that Draven is also supposed to be on house arrest but is obviously no where near his house. Having had enough of Timmonds Draven suddenly snaps back and viciously attacks the news reporter slamming the mans camcorder into the side of his head several times, of course it’s only a matter of seconds before the police show up. The trial process is shown rather quickly and the viewer learns that Draven is to be sent to Cedar Hills prison.
Draven doesn’t take to the enclosed space very well we get to see him throw up, bash his head against the door, work out and practice football drills that he will never get to perform again in the rest of his life. It is only after Draven falls asleep that a fire breaks out at the prison.
In the aftermath of the fire it is clear that the fire chief is not in town, he is on a fishing trip and instead a woman named Ava Williams is in charge of investigating the fire. A man named Agent Lee Cooper, a city boy who constantly complains about mosquitoes, also shows up on the scene explaining that he is personally in charge of escorting Tyler Draven into custody.
Draven is soon found by the blundering firemen and we learn that 90 percent of his body has been burnt by the fire so the next stop is the hospital. While in the hospital Draven suddenly wakes up and is healed completely, well except now he’s bald….wait he’s the bald guy from the beginning of the movie! Draven jumps out of the window and starts to run away when a car almost hits him, Draven stops the car by putting his hands on the hood and causes the car to instantly explode, it is about at this point in the film that you realize that if you aren’t into comic book villains and explosions you really aren’t going to have a good time. However if you are into comic book villains and explosions you are about to love this movie!
K.T. Donaldson does a great job at directing this script that contains characters that are larger than life. Tim Timmonds is the sneaky tabloid news reporter who even asks witnesses that he interviews to lie in order to gain ratings. Ava Williams is a sexy small town woman whose father was a hot shot with the fire department; she is also referred to as a living textbook several times in the course of the movie. Agent Lee Cooper is a city slicker FBI agent who complains about mosquitoes, is fascinated by the fact names are on mailboxes and he wears cufflinks with a matching belt buckle, all of the characters in Fireball could easily be found hidden inside a stack of my son’s comic books.
Aleks Pavnovic’s portrayal of Tyler Draven however sells the film, the guy is a monster and he does truly come across as psychotic. Over the course of the film Draven starts to develop more and more powers, yet he also seems to be wearing his own body out in the process. He also causes a lot of damage around the town to those who he feels have wronged him. He causes a gas grill to blow up on a witness from the gas station attacks face, he drives a gas truck into the judge who sentenced him to jail, he causes one victim to simply burst into flame and causes a cop to accidentally shoot himself in the leg when his shotgun becomes to hot. Draven’s powers however get blown way out of control when Agent Cooper and Ava Williams attempt to smother him out with a ton of sand, he turns the sand into glass and sends it exploding all over his attackers. Just like in the beginning of the film Draven also has somehow figured out how to make fireballs to throw at his would be victims as well.
Fireball never once takes itself seriously, it knows that it is a silly movie and the pacing of the film is perfect. There is rarely a slow scene during its whole running time and even if the dialogue can get bad it’s still good for a few chuckles especially in a scene where Agent Cooper just calmly says “He’s heading to the nuclear power plan….oh that’s not good.” There are also plenty of explosions to keep most viewers easily entertained.
Fireball is cheesy, it knows it’s cheesy but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fun film. Definitely recommended for comic book fans and fans of the “so bad it’s brilliant” style of film making.