Eastwood: Firefox

The 1980’s have arrived and American is under the Hollywood spell weaved by President Ronald Reagan which can only mean it’s time for Clint to kick some Communist ass. Firefox is a highly advanced stealth fighter which the American’s worried about as it gives Russia a tactical advantage. The plan is to send a pilot behind the Iron Curtain and steal the plane from under the dirty reds noses. They need a man who can blend in and even think in Russian (due to the plane’s advanced weapons system) of course they turn to Clint.

This was Clint’s one and only foray into the heightened world of Cold War 80’s America and given the utterly ridiculous outcome it’s most probably a good thing. The American Intelligence services have gotten wind of a new Russian Stealth fighter that could prove to be the ultimate first strike weapon. They need a man who can infiltrate Moscow and make away with the plane and of course who else but the mayor of Carmel himself Clint Eastwood.

The film runs at almost two hours and to be honest and there’s barely enough action to fill forty minutes as Clint basically walks around Moscow for an hour. Once airborne in the Firefox things don’t get much better as Clint battles with his ability to think in Russian, hardly making for scintillating action. He is pursued through the air but this like everything else takes forever and is a world away from Top Gun.

Released in 1982 the film did poorly and author Howard Hughes called it ‘another Eiger Sanction’ which is why I love it so much. This is undoubtedly a companion piece to Clint’s climbing espionage thriller as he once gain takes on anti-American forces. His character is once again a reluctant hero and is reminiscent of Dr Hemlock in being more cerebral than violent. We also get the inevitable post Vietnam syndrome which was a prerequisite for the 1980’s.

Firefox is a film for the Clint enthusiasts and is unlikely to wow anyone not obsessed with the mighty Eastwood. The best way to watch Firefox is immediately after The Eiger Sanction as a sequel of sorts then you will have a satisfying experience. Both are essentially bad films but given the political context and the involvement of Clint in somewhat Republican avenger role they are fascinating.

Once again Clint takes the reins as director and does another uninspiring job when all is said and done. Watching this film it’s astounding to think that he would later be responsible for such classics as Unforgiven, Million Dolllar Baby and White Hunter, Black Heart. The Vietnam flashbacks in Firefox are mildly embarrassing if I’m honest and make you think of the type of exploitation classics that James Glickenhaus was churning out in the 80’s.

All that being said we’re talking about Clint here and with the exception of dirge like The Dead Pool he can do little wrong in my opinion. Politically this film is interesting given the rise of Reagan and America’s new found love of armament build up and the drive for Star Wars. The USA became a very strange place in the 80’s and right wing films such as this were actually in demand. A fascinating curio than and is nothing else in did influence a Grandstand game console that had very little to do with the film itself other than utilize then name. Not Clint’s greatest hour by far but for me the film holds a weird fascination especially when played alongside The Eiger Sanction. Clint kicking some Russian ass didn’t happen very often so this may be your only chance to experience it, jump in people.

Aled Jones

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