It reasonably translates its source material intact to the screen, that being Craig Thomas's novel of the same name and manages to juggle the sci-fi / thriller genres, whilst allowing Clint to add a new facet to his tough guy persona. Being a long time Clint fan, its significant to me, as its his first movie i saw at the cinema, also as it was the first AA certificate film i manage to obtain admittance to here in the UK.
Clint plays Mitchell Gant, a former USAF Major who is "encouraged" by the CIA to undertake a mission into cold war era Russia to steal one of the new fighter plane prototypes the Soviets have developed. The plane in question is the MiG-31, a hypersonic aircraft with revolutionary new stealth and combat capabilities. Handicapped by post traumatic stress disorder and a lack of intelligence mission experience, Gant must successfully steal the aircraft, failure would mean a dangerous shift in the balance of World power to the USSR.
Can Gant pull off this daring heist? Well i'd be shocked if there's anyone reading this who doesn't know the answer by now, but thats the charm of this movie, its re-watch value, i feel, is significant and it makes a great "beer and pizza" night in movie.
There are elements that date it, foremost the long gone cold war setting, some people may cite the miniature based special effects. These are primarily in the last third of the movie, some may claim they look a little dated in our whizzo CGI age, but i call foul on that. The effects have nice weight and heft to them that CGI still cant muster and the dramatic effects of Firefox's hypersonic footprint, make anything in modern movies look positively arthritic, well I think so anyway.
The cast are all getting stuck into their roles, particularly Warren Clarke (who passed away recently and prompted me to write this today) who plays a disgruntled Russian dissident and underground operative.
Firefox is a film that didn't perform financially as well as it may at the time of its release, but 1982 was a year over shadowed by ET and most things that year followed on that movies coat tails.
Its a nice little thriller, out of a time where you knew where the bad guys were and could generally see them coming and its nice to immerse yourself in the nostalgia of that from time to time.
There was a follow up novel written by Thomas, Firefox Down, which is a thumping good read, it never followed its precursor to the screen and would now seem a little out of its time if it did, thats a shame.
I recommend Firefox, as a great thriller, sci-fi, espionage, action movie, if you can imagine such a thing and if you cant, then just think in Russian!