Clint's Star Wars
Let's see what this baby can do - Mitchell Gant
If you look at Clint Eastwood's career you can sort of say before the 80s he was a cowboy and then a cop, he explored a few other roles but these two characters were what he was known for. Then the 80s came and it seems that Eastwood tried to diversify, exploring many different roles some of them working better than others. Unfortunately his choice not only to act but also direct "Firefox" is for me not one of his better choices because unfortunately it is one of his least memorable movies.
In a way "Firefox" is two different movies with the first half feeling like an 80s cold war thriller as we have a man sent to Russia on an undercover mission and forced to deal with the KGB and various other dark issues lurking in the shadows as he avoids being captured. The second half is more action thriller as the story shifts to the same man stealing a top secret Russian plane and having to deal with various attempts to stop him. It's because we have two halves which almost feel like individual movies that "Firefox" drags on to a bit of a bum numbing 136 minutes which is a shame as if it had been made into a two part movie then maybe it would have worked.
So for the first half of "Firefox" we have what is very much an 80s cold war thriller as Mitchell Gant (Clint Eastwood), a former pilot mentally scarred by his service during Vietnam is persuaded to help steal a revolutionary new military plane from Russia. It means that after some training and tuition from an over the top Freddie Jones as Kenneth Aubrey, Gant heads to Russia under an alias and dodgy moustache. We watch as with the help of local agents he avoids the KGB time and again as we have murder, close calls and a couple of moments of excitement as he has to sneak past check points. But the thing is that this first half goes on and on and because you know this is a movie about stealing a technologically advanced plane you become impatient for that to happen.
Eventually it does happen with Gant in the nick of time, as the KGB finally become aware of the plan to steal the plane, manages to fly off in it. Now this is where "Firefox" should get exciting, Gant in a super plane with weapons controlled by your mind and with the Russian military desperate to stop him from getting back to America. But unfortunately it fails to deliver with only a couple of moments of action including an obligatory dogfight through some glacial ice canyons which look very similar to scenes from "Star Wars". It never truly grips you with the drama and action and after such a long build up it is a bit of a let down.
Now to be honest I am a fan of Clint and there are very few of his movies which I don't like but sadly "Firefox" is one of them. It almost seems like it was too far out of his comfort zone, not just as an actor but also as a director and the end result is for me an overlong movie which doesn't gel. But whilst Clint's performance didn't do it some of the others did especially those from Warren Clarke and Nigel Hawthorne and whilst Freddie Jones delivers a theatrically over the top performance it is enjoyable but for sort of the wrong reasons.
What this all boils down to is that "Firefox" is sadly one of only a few of Clint Eastwood's movies which failed to do it for me. It just felt too outside of Clint's comfort zone and ended up over long and disjointed as if it should have been 2 movies instead of one.
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