Firefox (1982)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Firefox</strong> (1982)

(In French, On TV, June 2018) Craig Thomas’s late-seventies novel Firefox has a special place in techno-thriller history as one of the progenitors of the subgenre, paving the way for Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October (1984) and codifying many of the field’s quirks. The novel is stuffy, written in an overwrought style (especially compared to its imitators) and not as entertaining as one would suppose. The movie adaptation has more or less the same issues—while you’d expect a Clint Eastwood movie about an American caper to steal a Russian super-plane prototype to lead to white-knuckled excitement, the result is more perfunctory than thrilling. Eastwood gives an adequate performance, but the script multiplies tangents and less interesting moments. It takes a long time for the protagonist to step in the plane, and things don’t really improve afterwards given the repetitive nature of the ensuing chase and the now-primitive special effects that remind us about the film’s early-eighties pedigree. It’s really not fair to harp on the special effects given that they were innovative at the time and they still get the point across today. On the other hand, they do take viewers out of the film at a moment when they should be absorbed by the cat-and-mouse chase between two high-tech fighter planes. Still, even taking this away, the fact remains that Firefox is dour and dull, which are not attributes that should be present in a thriller. I’m glad I’ve finally seen the entire movie even decades after reading the book and Eastwood is always interesting no matter the circumstances, but it’s not essential viewing for most audiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *