Firefox (1982)

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Released 27-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Featurette
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 119:26
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Clint Eastwood
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Clint Eastwood
Freddie Jones
David Huffman
Warren Clarke
Ronald Lacey
Kenneth Colley
Dimitra Arliss
Austin Willis
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Maurice Jarre


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Based on the novel by Craig Thomas and adapted for the cinema by Alex Lasker and Wendell Wellman, Firefox has Clint Eastwood experimenting with producing, directing and acting in the lead role. I can vaguely remember seeing this movie when it was first released on video. The technology advances since then have made the elements of this movie, specifically the main features of the plane, less impressive. Nevertheless, it was and still is a good movie that kids of the current generation can enjoy.

††† The worst fears of the West become a reality when they learn that the Soviets have developed a lethal flying machine. The MIG-31, code-named Firefox, is so advanced that its weapons and tactical abilities are controlled purely by thought. Sensors in the pilotís helmet convert the thought patterns into actual commands the plane can understand. The plane can fly at MACH 6, is invisible to radar and is so advanced that the Americans have nothing that can even come close to its abilities. So, rather than try and develop one of their own, they decide to do the next best thing - steal it!

††† The catch is that the plane can only understand Russian, so they need to find the best pilot in the business who can also understand the Russian language. The man for the job is retired U.S. pilot Mitchell Gant (Clint Eastwood).

††† The allies must get Gant into Russia, track across the countryside undetected by the KGB, and steal the plane before anyone notices it has gone. Whilst the KGB is like a bear (slip by quietly and no one will notice), Gant unfortunately wakes the giant, which makes for an exciting and action-packed movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Warner have given this particular Eastwood title more attention than some of his other titles and only the archival file footage segments let the picture quality down. There is, however, one scene at 75:14 when a group of cars pull up at the airport in the dark. Then, at 75:24, when the cars leave, the sky is late afternoon...hmmm. I noticed no other irregularities of this nature.

††† The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

††† The transfer was amazingly clear with good delineation between edges and the background, evidently due to the remastering work. Luckily, shadow detail is not a big problem as there are a lot of night scenes or dimly lit areas when the agents are hiding from the Russians. In nearly all instances there is some form of artificial lighting on the subject's face or at the centre of the cameraís attention to overcome the dark backdrops. An example of the added light on the subject's face can clearly be seen at 11:27. A perfect example where shadow detail has been superbly handled is at 22:56. There is mild low level noise, but no instances draw attention to themselves or cause a distraction.

††† The colours were mostly muted with no instances of bright or vibrant colours. This is probably as a result of the production design or the film development process rather than a fault of the transfer. Personally, I felt that the muted colours suited the tone of a secret agent/spy picture. Some skin tones seemed slightly unrealistic, but for the most part faces and hands looked natural in colour.

††† Aliasing is very rare and very mild when it does occur. Film artefacts are a big problem for all scenes that use archival material. These were mostly confined to aerial shots of planes and dog fights. There was a dramatic quality shift as the scenes switched between this material and the Firefox movie production shots. The main feature itself contains mild film artefacts and those that do appear are minimal in size and not distracting at all.

††† There are 10 subtitle tracks on this disc with 2 additional tracks for the hearing impaired available in English or Italian. The English version I checked were close to the spoken word but not exact.

††† This disc is an RSDL disc. As yet, I have been unable to detect the layer change on my Pioneer DVD player.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† The audio transfer for this DVD is presented as a full Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

††† The dialogue was clear and easy to understand most of the time. Some of the Russian agents did sound a little muffled at times which may have been due to the fake accents rather than being a transfer specific problem. I felt that the overall audio level was slightly lower than it should have been for a balanced system.

††† Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was spot on.

††† The musical score by Maurice Jarre was well mixed and a fitting choice for this style of movie. The peaks and troughs of sound, together with the way they have been mixed across the 5.1 channels suited the scenes well. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

††† The surround channels were subtly used for ambience and very aggressively used for directional sound effects and music. The directional noise caused by the fighter jets, explosions and cars all added to the movie's appeal. The re-mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track was definitely worth the effort. From the first scene at 1:01, the directional sound placement can be heard and it continues through the entire feature.

††† The subwoofer was highly active during the action sequences, and placed an excellent bottom end on these scenes. Just go to 64:35, 72:00 or, for the best example, 72:22 to hear the sub thump.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

†††† A good selection of extras are present.

Menu

††† The static menu design is themed around the movie and is easy to navigate. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio that loops every 53 seconds.

Cast and Crew

††† This is a single graphical page themed around the movie, listing the main actors and their character names. There appears to be a slight difference in the menu on this disc - see the R4 vs R1 comparison below.

Featurette Ė Clint Eastwood Ė Director (30:00)

††† This is a 30 minute British television featurette which focuses on Clint Eastwood the man and his acting style. Throughout the interview, Eastwood seems unnatural, seemingly as if he would rather be somewhere else. Whilst there are a few brief moments showing filming on location for Firefox and seeing the actual premiere, there is very little other information shown here. John Dykstra poses the problems such a film presented but there is nothing here that provides a real insight into the movie or even Eastwood for that matter. Sure itís nice that something was included, but donít expect too much from this particular feature.

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

††† The film trailer is of a comparable quality to the main feature and is also shown in its 2.35:1 theatrical ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on; ††† Both versions are essentially the same except for the NTSC and PAL formatting differences. I found one Region 1 site that mentioned there were filmographies for Clint and Alex. This is not something that I have been able to verify with other Region 1 reviews.

Summary

††† Firefox was a movie I thoroughly enjoyed when it was first released and I was glad to get the opportunity to enjoy it again.

††† The video transfer has been given special attention and the quality of the image is evident.

††† The audio has been re-mastered and the directional sound effects have definitely added to the movie.

††† The extras were interesting as a once-off, but I felt more detail could have been given in this area. At least some additional material specific to the movie itself rather than Eastwood would have been a step in the right direction.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Monday, December 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Audiolabs Magnum M30 (Mains); M05 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Censorship - Minotaur
Firefox running time R1 vs R2/4 ? -