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Clint Eastwood’s Early Effort at Multitasking: “Firefox”

Firefoxclinteastwoodmovieposter Reagan-era Hollywood loved pitting its heroes against international threats to homeland security: In Die Hard (1988), a barefoot Bruce Willis gunned down German heisters; in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Sylvester Stallone single-handedly trammeled the Vietnamese military. Before either of those blockbusters, Clint Eastwood was thwarting leather-faced Soviets in his mid-career thriller Firefox (1982). His hero’s mission was a difficult one, too: to highjack the USSR’s Mach 6 MiG-31 jet fighter from under the very noses of the enemy.

Eastwood directed, produced, and headlined this self-propelled star vehicle years before he became the fully fledged artist of Bird , Unforgiven , Million Dollar Baby and Letters From Iwo Jima. (At this point, Eastwood was still being associated with his "chimp" movies Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can .) Today, Firefox is best viewed as a cinematic encapsulation of a decade when Cold War anxieties still fueled a bilateral race for military superiority. The high-speed flights (courtesy of special effects wizard John Dykstra who won an Oscar for Star Wars) aren’t too shabby either.

Firefox plays tonight on AMC at 8 p.m. EST | 7 C.

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