F/X (1986)

Action, Thriller
Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Diane Venora, Cliff De Young
A movie special effects man is hired to fake a real-life mob killing for a witness protection plan, but finds his own life in danger.
  • 07 Feb 1986 Released:
  • 13 Jun 2000 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Robert T. Megginson, Gregory Fleeman Writer:
  • Robert Mandel Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:


Special-Effects: Always Fun9/10
This was an excellent thriller, a story that grabs and holds you all the way. In a nutshell, it's about a special-effects expert being set up and how he then tries to get out of the jam he's in. Bryan Brown plays the good-guy "Rollie Tyler" while Cliff De Young and Mason Adams are the bad guys. De Young has the kind of face and attitude that makes you want to slap that sucker every time you see him! All three actors are convincing in their roles. Brian Dennehy plays his usual profane, tough cop role and Diane Venora is kind of unmemorable, to be honest, as Rollie's girlfriend.

The inventive story is the best part of this film, which was even more interesting when it came out because ever since James Bond, "special effects" were still something pretty new to most of us movie viewers and it was fascinating to see how certain things are rigged. Nowadays, special effects are something that seems to be a normal part of movie-watching, although "cool" gadgets are always fun.

Still, there a some very clever things in here and the movie provides good suspense and excellent twists. You never know what to expect. The film was popular enough to spawn a sequel.
A slick film7/10

"F/X" beats most Hollywood action films. It stands out with a slick basic idea developed to a proper script that offers twists and surprises all the way to the end, but luckily not as much as "Mission: Impossible" did.

Bryan Brown is just the right man for the part of Rollie. He and Brian Dennehy make a great pair, although they don't appear together until the end of the film.

Refreshingly original and highly recommendable.
Fast pace , action , suspense and lots of amusement7/10
F/X is a great movie because of the idea of a special effects artist trying to get himself out of a mess. It deals with F/X man Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) as expert craftsman . FBI agents (Cliff De Young, Mason Adams), ask Rollie to help him to make a setup for hide a mobster named DeFranco (Jerry Orbach) about to enter the Witness Program of Recolocation and Protection . As he accepts thirty thousand dollars by execution the phony work . And the operation was going well when Tyler allegedly kills the mobster . When the agency double cross him on the staging the fake assassination Rollie finds himself embroiled in a deadly cover-up and he uses his special effects to trap the corrupt agents . Obviously FBI is involved with gangster's death, but when the things get worse he calls on Andy (Martha Gehman). The whiz Rollie and Andy team up once more to use their special effects to find those responsible for the death of gangster . Rollie must use his movie magic and wits to discover the true guilty and survive . Meanwhile an obstinate detective named Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy) and his helper (Joe Grifasi) are investigating the deeds. As far as the story goes , it involves a bigger scale of corruption in the law enforcement circle .

Entertaining but typical 1980's-type action thriller that has great potential as is fast-paced and well acted film . It has Inspector Dennehy and FX wizard Brown in fine form , and good secondaries Diane Venora, Joe Grifasi , Cliff De Young, Jery Orbach , some involved on corrupt business ; furthermore Angela Basset film debut . Some parts were predictable , but for the most part, it was nicely-paced with some good intrigue and mystery . There are some very exciting scenes as well as some ingenious special effects, including the initial setup that figures prominently in the argument. The cinematography and editing are functional . Action is pretty nicely done and fast moving with some engaging gimmickry . The motion picture is professionally directed by Robert Mandel (The substitute, School ties). Decent if somewhat belated followup to this 86 surprise hit was realized in 1991 titled ¨FX2¨ that does have suspense , however, the entire thing is nowhere near as engaging or thrilling , it was directed by Richard Franklin with similar players and followed by an amiable TV series .
a fun little movie5/10

F/X is a movie I had been hearing about for years, so I finally buckled down and rented it, and I was pretty surprised. It's a good, suspenseful movie with nice effects, a decent story, and some good performances (except for the girl who plays the effects assistant, though she's not on-screen a lot). Bryan Brown plays Roland Tyler, a freelance special effects artist who seeks revenge after some shady Justice Department guys set him up to be the fall guy in a staged execution they had hired him to pull off. Brian Dennehy doesn't enter the film until nearly forty minutes into the picture, but once he does, he's as good as always, even if his character just sort of moves from place to place and effortlessly picks up clues along the way. I would have liked to seen the two stars have more scenes together, but they never even meet up until the final scene of the movie. Cliff DeYoung does his usual weasel villain, though he mysteriously vanishes from the film without explanation, and Jerry Orbach is good in a supporting role as the mobster whose execution is staged. The effects used by Tyler aren't as spectacular as I had thought they would be (disguises to avoid police, smoke bombs, fake blood, etc.), but they're used effectively. F/X is an entertaining little movie with a fair amount of suspense and some good action. Oh, and what I wouldn't give to have that home security system Tyler has inside his front door. The sequel's not bad either.
It's Just an Illusion: What good 80s action movies were all about (minor spoilers)...8/10

There was something about 80s action movies that recent films in the genre haven't been able to capitalize on. I think a lot of it has to do with lack of originality, as the genre has been notorious for an excess of remakes of old action movies or Hollywood versions of foreign action films, new or old. But, there's just something about them that aren't exciting, anymore. At least not all of them. The 80s, for me, seemed to have some of the best of the genre--The Terminator, the Mad Max trilogy, etc. F/X is one of them. A cool story with good action sequences.

Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown), special effects genius, is hired by the FBI to use his expertise in a setup to fake the death of mobster Nicholas DeFranco, who they claim is going to be their informant. However, as Tyler will soon become very familiar with, the arrangement is a hoax and the agents aren't who they seem. Unfortunately, Tyler, who thought he was doing something good, and reluctantly so, he is caught in the middle of a game of cat and mouse because he is considered "loose ends."

They kill his girlfriend in the scuffle, and Tyler soon realizes who he's up against because these guys will stop at nothing until he's dead, regardless of who they kill in the crossfire. But Tyler is no dummy. He gets smart and uses his special effects genius to keep one step ahead of the paranoid agents who want him dead. In the meantime, our middleman is Brian Dennehy as the smooth-talking detective, Leo McCarthy. He's the only one with any guts to sense foul play is afoot and the only one really willing to help out Rollie. The object of the game is to find out what kind of dirty business those crooked agents Lipton (Cliff DeYoung) and Mason (Mason Adams) are up to, and what it has to do with faking the death of a notorious mobster (Jerry Orbach).

The movie has some pretty good action and chase sequences, and the finale is a cool idea as Rollie Tyler has to use some clever special effects to put a stop to enemies. He's got a pretty big bag of tricks up his sleeves. Though a little slow at first, the real fun begins once Rollie is hired by those mysterious agents to do a job. Overall, it's a pretty cool movie with a great idea for a story.

If you enjoy this movie, you'd probably like the sequel, F/X 2, which is quite similar, using the story of Rollie Tyler being set up for another mysterious cop scheme. Only with all the corruption going on in that story, Tyler's mishaps in the first look like small potatoes. Plus, Dennehy gets a bigger part, this time teaming up with Tyler (you'll see why in the finale of F/X part 1). They're both worth a try.