Firefox

by Alan Rapp on October 14, 2017

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Firefox
  • IMDb: link

Firefox movie reviewBased on the novel Craig Thomas, and set during the Cold War, 1982’s Firefox stars Clint Eastwood as a former Air Force pilot tasked with an impossible mission to steal a prototype aircraft in Bilyarsk. Despite his post-traumatic stress, Mitchell Gant (Eastwood) is chosen for his unique qualifications: his piloting ability, his similar size to the Russian pilot (Kai Wulff) the Firefox is designed for, and his ability to speak and think in Russian (as the plane’s weapon systems are controlled by thought).

Sent to Moscow undercover as a heroin dealer, who needs to be shadowed by the KGB initially for the cover to hold, it becomes obvious to Gant fairly early in his adventure that he is in far over his head long before he makes it to the secret base where the Firefox is kept. Half Cold War spy film and half action-thriller, Firefox holds up pretty well 35 years later as Gant’s journey keeps him one-step ahead of the KGB thanks to a group of Jewish dissidents and sympathizers that will give their lives to get Gant to the plane and allow him to do the rest.

Well-before the days of CGI, Firefox relies on practical effects including four large-scale replicas and one full-sized model of the Firefox jet along with the creation of reverse blue-screen photography by John Dykstra (who, over his career, has worked on everything from the original Star Wars to 2017’s Ghost in the Shell). The Firefox looks cool in the hanger and in the air, and the movie saves its best action sequences for the final act where Gant gets into a dogfight with a Soviet pilot flying a second prototype.

The movie isn’t without it’s flaws, primarily the Eastwood’s unconvincing Russian (or even speaking English without a trace of a Russian accent) which should have gotten Gant caught on multiple occasions. While it allows for the film’s climactic dogfight sequence, Gant’s choice to kill the Soviet pilot when given the chance is also problematic. Also, you can certainly poke fun of the increasing number of Gant’s last-second escapes from the KGB which begins to border on ridiculous. Still, none of these issues distract too much from an enjoyable film.

Released on DVD and Blu-ray multiple times over the years, the only extras included are a single behind-the-scenes featurette and the movie’s trailer.

[WarnerBrothers, $11.44]

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