I'm not sure whether Firefox is really a guilty pleasure or simply a film I remember as being one. It's certainly overlong and overfamiliar despite its neat Maguffin - Clint Eastwood's flashback-plagued Vietnam vet fighter ace has to steal a state-of-the-art warplane with a thought-controlled weapons system (as long as you remember to think in Russian) from the heart of the Evil Empire - but it has a sort of undemanding Cold War charm that the constant stream of clichés only reinforces. Even the old school model effects in the final chase-and-dogfight section are more fun in their way than modern CGI effects, especially when the Firefox is leaving a wall of water in its wake as it races across the sea or causing fallen snow to fill the air as it passes over the mountains, so it's a shame that much of the last third is played in darkened control rooms rather than the skies.
The Russians, naturally, are mostly played by British actors, albeit in this case actors best known for their sitcoms, which adds a different dimension to their scenes as comically humourless KGB types or lemming-like dissidents only too happy to die for the cause, or incorrigible hams like Freddie Jones who simply look like they SHOULD be in a sitcom. There's even an almost admirable perversity into giving most of the explanatory dialogue in the last half-hour to Klaus Löwitsch, an actor with a shaky grasp of spoken English who sounds like a bumblebee caught in a vacuum cleaner pipe. Not good by any means, but strangely watchable, and Maurice Jarre contributes an enjoyable score from the days before he disappeared entirely into atonal electronics.
Whereas the Region 1 NTSC DVD is the uncut theatrical version before Clint re-edited and trimmed the film by some 12 minutes without visibly improving it for video release, sadly the European PAL DVD is the shorter cut version. Boasting a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, both versions also includes a 29-minute British behind the scenes documentary and the theatrical trailer.
Sadly the Blu-ray release mirrors the DVD release - the US version (available in a double-bill with Heartbreak Ridge) is uncut but the rest of the world gets the cut version again, though both have the same extras. Eastwood the director has always had a penchant for pushing up the darkness in the cinematography, which was a problem even when seen on a 70ft screen in a darkened room but is something of a nightmare on home video. While not as bad as The Rookie, parts of which are almost invisible in the sea of black ink onscreen, the night scenes are a problem even on Blu-ray, with detail lost in the dark and the transfer not really able to do much to compensate. It's certainly an improvement on the DVD but it's still a hugely inconsisten transfer that's definitely at its best in the daylight scenes.