Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Firefox (1981)

Firefox is another curious entry in Eastwood's filmography.  While no one was better at portraying hardened gunslingers, be they cowboys or cops, he was never opposed to trying his hand at something new and different.  Firefox is a special effects treat from 1981 that stars Clint as a troubled pilot who is thrust into a daring bit of Cold War espionage despite suffering from some serious PTSD.  It seems that the Russians have assembled a visionary aircraft and the U.S. is determined to steal this plane in the name of all that is fair and good.  Surprisingly, while the early stages of the picture lead one to think that this movie won't really take off until Clint gains control of the titular aircraft, it's actually the cat-and-mouse game between Eastwood and the KGB that takes place prior to the big dogfight at the end that makes Firefox worthwhile.  Now, to be fair, once the movie takes to the air, we're treated to some thrilling aerial warfare and the special effects are solid.  It's just that the intense and grim second act of the film is far more riveting and dramatic.  Eastwood directed the film with flair and while there aren't any other major stars in the mix, Firefox is loaded with potent performances.  I thought Warren Clarke was nothing short of sensational as Pavel, a gruff ally who sacrifices everything for Clint's mission even though he doesn't seem all that impressed with Clint himself.  In the end, Firefox isn't typical Eastwood fare, but he does a fine job as the lead.  I like the fact that the character he plays is engaged in a fierce battle with his inner demons as that makes him far more intriguing than most of the dependable heroes featured in similar pictures.  This may not be one of Clint's best efforts, but it's still an exciting motion picture that benefits from his charisma and his passion for filmmaking.

Final Grade: C+

Firefox is a serviceable thriller despite the fact that the events leading up to
Eastwood climbing inside the titular aircraft are far more exciting
than the big finale that ensues once he's in the cockpit.

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