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Buddy Van Horn
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The Soviets have developed a revolutionary new jet fighter, called "Firefox". Naturally, the British are worried that the jet will be used as a first-strike weapon, as rumours say that the jet is indetectable on radar. They send ex-Vietnam War pilot Mitchell Gant on a covert mission into the Soviet Union to steal Firefox. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
A new special effects technique for the shooting of the flying sequences called "Reverse Blue-Screen Photography" was developed by John Dykstra for this picture. Wikipedia states that the process involved "coating the model with phosphorus paint and photographing it first with strong lighting against a black background and then with ultraviolet light to create the necessary male and female mattes to separate the foreground model and the background footage. This enabled the shiny black model to be photographed flying against a clear blue sky and gleaming white snow; compare this with traditional blue-screen technique used in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)". See more »
Through all the movie Soviet officials keep demanding papers - VASHI BUMAGI (your papers), whilst correct way to demand them in Russian is VASHI DOCUMENTY - your docs (ID). See more »
But you want me to fly?
Yes, we want you to fly. We want you to fly the greatest warplane ever built.
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There are no opening credits after the title has been shown. This has since become a trademark of all Eastwood-directed films. See more »
Suppose a specially trained Soviet pilot sneaked into this country illegally during the Cold War and, with the help of Communist spy rings, managed to impersonate an American officer, insinuate his way into Edwards AFB or Area 51, was responsible for the deaths of several American enlisted men, stole a top-secret American fighter which topped anything the Soviets could put in the air, and flew it to the USSR.
That's the plot, only vice versa. If you enjoyed the old black-and-white propaganda films about the success of the underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe, you'll probably like this one. Instead of Nazis we have the Russians. Instead of the Gestapo we have Soviet officers but the only difference is the uniform. The Soviets are grim, beady-eyed, humorless, and ruthless. They torture prisoners and are annoyed when the prisoner happens to die. They sacrifice their own people without blinking an eye.
Instead of the heroic French or Norwegian or Czech resistance fighters we have Jewish dissidents who help the hero. They sacrifice their lives for the cause. When trapped, they shoot themselves rather than take a chance of being beaten into giving away secret information.
Instead of Errol Flynn we have -- well -- we have Clint Eastwood in one of his lesser efforts. (Flynn would have been an improvement in the role.) Clint is a top ex-pilot suffering from PTS syndrome but projecting fear is not his forte. He projects it by closing his eyes and breathing a little harder than usual. When he's shocked at something, he registers the emotion by raising his brows and opening his eyes a little wider without changing his grim, determined expression.
Nobody else in the movie really counts, but I loved Freddie Jones in the part of the British operative who explains the plan to Clint. Jones is a burly, florid man with a bush of frizzly hair like the older Dylan Thomas (a fellow Welshman) crowning his occiput. He overacts outrageously, not only chewing the furniture, but ravishing it before swallowing it. He makes Charles Laughton look like the Sphynx. His bobbing head and mellifluous irony make up for what Clint forgot to bring to the party.
The arctic scenes are nice, but the special effects are pretty clumsy. They're so bad that whenever you try to get into the plot while the plane is airborn, the cheesiness jolts you back into the realization that you're just watching a movie.
The airplane, by the way, is SO advanced that it reads minds when it carries out orders. You want it to fire a missile? Just think, "Fire a missile." But -- get this -- the equipment can only read minds that THINK IN Russian. This raises a number of interesting questions about the equipment. How about if you have a Muscovite accent? Suppose you think more like a Ukrainean than an ethnic Russian? If you simply visualize the missile being fired (or whatever) in your right cerebral hemisphere, will the thing still go? Will it go if you think in the conditional -- "If I were to think that the missile should go, then it will go"? If a missile is fired and you think, "Go, Missile, Go!", does it fire a second missile? Suppose you happen to be fixing your makeup in the rear-view mirror when you think the missile should fire -- does it blow you up? Would it fly backwards for a dyslexic pilot? If you think, "Hey, I was only kidding!", does the missile abort?
This film certainly does.
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