Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested DVDs
Science Fiction or a historical film with a soul??
The Mysterious Traveler | USA | 06/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"FIREFOX (1982) Directed by Clint Eastwood. Based on the novel by Craig Thomas. Score by Maurice Jarre. Special effects by John Dykstra.
Starring Clint Eastwood, Kenneth Colley, Nigel Hawthorne, Ronald Lacey, Hugh Fraser, John Ratzenberger, Stefan Schnabel (as Leonid Brezhnev), Wolf Kahler (as Yuri Andropov) and Freddie Jones.
When Communist Russia creates a super fighter--the MIG 31 code named Firefox--which besides being able to fly six times the speed of sound--is also invisible to radar and thought controlled by its pilot---the freedom of the world is threatened. The CIA and MI6 send in a tortured Vietnam War era American pilot named Mitchell Gant, who speaks russian and is thoroughly trained in Red aircraft, on a desperate mission to steal one of the two prototypes.
Through the sacrifice of a group of dissidents, Gant manages to get into the MIG 31's cockpit but whether he will be able to fly the Firefox out of the Iron Curtain remains to be seen as the Soviet Union extends the iron fist of the Revolution to swat him from the skies.
One of the tiny sub-genre of Anti-communist historical films that have an almost peripheral science fiction element thus causing the film to be grouped in that genre where is is usually recieved with hostility by the majority leftist fanboys while, in reality, belonging to the historical genre where it is usually welcomed once its existence is discovered. Like the germ warfare in THE WHIP HAND or the enzyme in THE CHAIRMAN, the Firefox is pure sci fic but, like those films, it is also completely superfluous to the plot. It might as well be the thingamajig. Instead what the film is is actually an examination of a specific historical subject. With THE WHIP HAND it was the communist infiltration of American society. With THE CHAIRMAN , it was Mao Zse Tung and the Cultural Revolution. Here it is Communist Russia under Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov.
Besides the general fellow traveler nature of the average sci fic fan, there is a justifiable annoyance factor when one watches a film expecting to see Godzilla or lasers and instead gets a historical epic. Rather like sitting down to watch NIGHT OF THE IGUANA expecting to see a giant iguana attacking at night and instead getting Tenessee Williams.
However for the history fan, these films can frequently provide a unique, insightful and rare handling of its subject. Hence THE WHIP HAND handles something almost never touched upon by Hollywood and THE CHAIRMAN still remains the best film about Red China in the late 60s and one of the few films to have Mao as a major onscreen character. And this film is probably the only chance you will ever have to see sustained screen portrayals of Brezhnev and Andropov..and Schnabel is very good as the former. Almost the entire first 90 minutes of this 136 minute film concerns Gant's journey through Brezhnev's Russia in a very lean and to the point esionage sequence. Eastwood was still heavily influenced by Don Siegal at this stage in his career and this is much to the film's credit. While it would drive anyone expecting a wookie insane, this first section is thrilling, engaging and, with two sequences, intensely moving. There are two exchanges Gant has with two seperate dissedents who are assisting him where they explain just what it is like for someone to live in a socialist state, the oppression, the anti-semitism(One of the characters is a Jew) and the soul destroying nature of the society that give the film its heart and sends out an expression of sympathy that was and still is practically non-existent in a Hollywood film(And this one was viciously attacking by the Establishment when it was first released). The scenes also give the last section of the film where Gant steals the plane with the Reds in hot pursuit a genuine suspense beyond that on the surface with the admittedly impressive special effects and spectacular action. Gant must succeed in stealing the Firefox or the hell he leaves behind could begin to spread like the plague it is. This is not just the usual pointless Cold War Hollywood hyjinks where it could all be resolved if only we gave peace a chance. The plot in this film means something.
There is also a subplot involving the Vietnam War that probably annoyed liberals no end but everything annoys liberals no end so who cares? The subplot is both subtle and satisfying. Like everything else in this film, it is both courageous and highly subversive of the Liberal Though Police regime that currently dictates what will be and what will not be in a Hollywood film. FIREFOX would never be made today.
Eastwood's direction is solid. The acting especially Jones, Colley(I love how he pronounces the word "immediately"), Hawthorne and Schnabel is superb. The pre CGI special effects are thrilling and filled with a sense of wonder. The Firefox itself-----looking very much like a Cobra Night Raven---is cool. The history and surprisingly the geography not only of Russia but even Moscow itself is correct. Jarre's score struck this viewer as being trite and condescending but it barely intrudes upon the viewer's consciousness until the end credits.
The type of film that was perhaps average when it was released but has since grown retroactively stature and is now, in this viewer's opinion, an unsung classic.