Thriller
Firefox
.
Dir: Clint Eastwood
Star: Clint Eastwood, Nigel Hawthorne, Warren Clarke, Freddie Jones
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1982
Format: DVD R2
'

Retired U.S. Air Force pilot Mitchell Gant Clint Eastwood is hired by the CIA to head a joint operation between the CIA and the British Secret Service to steal the prototype of the Mig 31 - also known as the "Firefox" from it's testing ground in Russia. Firefox has been developed by the Russians and is a highly sophisticated and deadly warplane. It can fly in excess of six times the speed of sound, is invisible to radar and even more importantly has a thought guided weapon system. This technological marvel is an unprecedented achievement by the Russains and naturally the Americans want to get hold of it. Their only chance for success lies in the hands of one of the best pilots they have had, unfortunately Gant suffers from "Post traumatic Stress" syndrome and is prone to fits, not to mention the fact that the Russians are unlikely to just let him waltz in and take the plane.....

Penned by former Welsh school teacher Craig Thomas, Firefox is set during the "cold war" and obviously written at such a time that paranoia was running away with people concerning our Russian counter parts over the Iron Curtain. In that sense the story and film are victims of the age and certain elements of the film reflect this. Which does unfortunately mean that the film doesn't age that well. On the other hand you also have a well written espionage novel that has for once, been given a decent big screen incarnation, without sacrificing the story. This is one of those films that can pander to the desires of fans of spy thrillers, action and of course anyone that likes sleek, black, supersonic aircraft that seriously "rock".

Clint Eastwood has the unenviable job of starring and directing here and to be honest, he does do a rather splendid job of it. Some well framed photography is complimented by some fine direction and performances. At times Eastwood keeps the lighting far too subdued in an attempt to invoke more atmosphere. The atmosphere is inconsistent and the tension doesn't quite manage a tight grip upon you which means the pacing evidently has problems. Admittedly the film does bear an undeniable 80's spy film feel and has some cheesy dialogue, the stock KGB henchmen and of course the over accentuated fight choreography. In spite of these standard flaws this is actually a pretty cool film. Eastwood pieces together the story well and builds tension along the way, even if it is a little formulaic by modern standards and does lead to a typically triumphal ending...... or does it. In order to find out what happens after the film, you need to read "Firefox Down" also by Craig Thomas which even as a book is a pretty cool sequel, it's just a great pity that they never made that into a film as well.

Some typically groundbreaking (at the time) special effects work courtesy of the one and only John Dykstra who manages to make the Firefox fly at Mach 5+ to great effect. The dog fight is very cool as are most of the effects including the Firefox soaring through the Urals. But, some of the effects don't hold up particuarly well by todays standards and the Dykstra touch is most evident in a couple of shots. Some of his explosion effects manage to look identical in several contexts, be it Battlestar Galactica, Firefox or even Star Wars they look the same wherever you see them. Some poorly edited together stock air combat footage is inserted into a couple of segments through the film which detract somewhat from an otherwise nicely put together piece. The film is accompanied by a stirring soundtrack courtesy of Maurice Jarre (yes, the father of Jean Michel Jarre) which despite it's dated feel remains a delightful anthem and fanfare for the film.

A highly enjoyable cold war thriller, filled with British acting talent, Clint Eastwood and a very cool and mean looking aircraft, despite the age this is still a very entertaining movie.

Quote

You must think in Russian

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen Nice transfer but occasionally grainy
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Overrall rather good considering the age of the film
Features Static but musically accompanied menu set around cover painting
Theatrical trailer
Cool documentary about Clint Eastwood "the director"
Unimpressive photo gallery
Verdict Some of us have been waiting for a while for this film to make it onto DVD and frankly I did find this a bit dissappointing. There are virtually no extras but the film looks and sounds great.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home