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Reviews & Ratings for
F/X More at IMDbPro »

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36 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

A slick film

Author: fletch5
8 October 2000

"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.

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25 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

a fun little movie

Author: MichaelM24 from California
19 March 2002

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.

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Special-Effects: Always Fun

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
22 June 2006

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.

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17 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

It's Just an Illusion: What good 80s action movies were all about (minor spoilers)...

Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida
30 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Special effects in New York City

Author: blanche-2 from United States
21 August 2006

A movie special effects man is running for his life in "F/X," a 1986 film starring Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Jerry Orbach, and Mason Adams. Strangely enough, the movie also features two actresses from my alma mater, Diana Venora and Josie de Guzman.

Rollie Tyler (Brown) takes on a rush job for the government - they want it to look as if their primo informant (Orbach) has been murdered to take the danger out of getting him to the courtroom and protecting him afterward. But like Rollie's work, things aren't what they seem, and Rollie finds himself on the run.

Despite its name, F/X isn't a big movie, and the special effects are things you can see on any television show. What makes it unique is the way Rollie uses his wits and skill to elude those after him. One of the most exciting scenes occurs as Rollie, in his F/X van, careens through the streets of New York, using every trick he knows to get away from the police. Not your average car chase.

Australian actor Bryan Brown, who achieved fame and a beautiful wife from the miniseries "The Thorn Birds" is terrific as the desperate Rollie. Brian Dennehy plays a rogue cop - he's funny and effective, and the late Jerry Orbach, whose career spanned stage, films, and television, is the perfect mob informant.

F/X inspired a television show of the same name starring Cameron Daddo and also a sequel. For a little movie, it did quite well, managing to entertain with drama, humor, and thrills. It's a lot of fun.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Fast pace , action , suspense and lots of amusement

Author: ma-cortes
16 September 2010

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 .

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A child of its time

Author: TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews from Earth
30 June 2009

This is very much an 80's action flick. It's got the tough cop who doesn't play by the rules. The unexpected hero. Car chasing, shoot-outs, and a theme song concocted to perfectly match with the movie it's for running over the end credits. Not every last one of those are good, though they tend to be entertaining. Fortunately, this one is both. And quite original and creative, too. Brown stars as Rollie Tyler, a special effects genius who is hired to help fake the death of a mobster, Orbach, who's going into a witness protection program. However, something goes wrong, and our lead now believes that he accidentally did kill him. The plot holds several surprises and twists, and it's carefully written enough to keep you guessing, without being pretentious or overly difficult to follow, and the pieces of the puzzle fit together nicely after you've seen them all. This has great pacing, it never slows down or is in a hurry. The suspense is quite excellent, and you may find yourself on the edge of your seat numerous times. This is 100 minutes of pure fun, and it never fails to deliver. The humor almost invariably works. Acting ranges. This has incredibly memorable moments, and dialog you can quote. The DVD only holds a theatrical trailer. I recommend this to any fan of this type of film, and/or anyone involved in making it. 7/10

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Good film - finally saw, by accident

Author: caa821 from Tulsa OK
20 August 2006

I missed this movie when it was originally issued, and after all I read and heard about "Cocktail" (in which Bryan Brown starred a couple of years later) I had no desire to seek it out. But upon just surfing to cable's AMC channel one weekend morning, and finding it having just begun - I watched for a couple of minutes and found myself absorbed in it. After looking at some of the previously-posted comments in this section of IMDb, during commercials, I was even more interested.

First, my regard for Brown is heightened. Anyone married to Rachel Ward, for 23 years, has to have a lot going for him - even beyond what you see on-screen. And actors with British/Australian accents all provide effective "men-on-the-run, harried, danger-beset" characterizations. The acting here is all good. The late Trey Wilson, as Denehy's unctuous NYPD colleague evokes memories of his small-but-key, scene-stealing roles in "Twins" and "Raising Arizona." Cliff De Young, as the even more unctuous pursuer/would-be killer of the endangered Brown, could (from this and prior roles) be Hollywood's solution to replace Dabney Coleman as the quintessential, smarmy, "horse's ass," now that Dabney is getting well-along in years. As with all his roles, Mason Adams gives a good performance - but I can never watch him without expecting that any moment he is going to take a Smucker's jar from his pocket and begin a spiel.

Brian Dennehy is always fun to watch, and his "gruff-but-still-likable" persona was never better-suited to a role than here - he's the only one (except for one assistant) who has a clue, literally and figuratively, of the shenanigans occurring and besetting poor Rollie (Brown). Give this film a solid "8." Enjoyed the final minutes and the ending. I'm looking forward to getting a copy of the sequel.

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18 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A neat idea for a film

2 May 2004

F/X was a neat idea for a film. The story revolves around a special effects man recruited by the government to fake a mobsters death. The effects man is played by BRYAN BROWN and he meets the task with the enthusiasm he would for his film work until things go sour and hee gets paired with a cop named ROLLIE played by BRAIN DENNEHY. F/X works well and the inside look at the effects business works well also. Neither pretentious or boring the film gives us a hero who doesn't use a gun and instead uses a bag of special effects to battle crime. I liked F/X. I found the film to be both attention holding and imaginative; with just enough grit to make the police subplot work. The premise of the film itself is original and one of a kind. I recommend this film to fans of adventure films or a person looking the video store shelves for something different.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This Thriller Hits A "Home" Run...

Author: Christopher T. Chase ( from Arlington, VA.
26 November 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING!!!POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! It's a well-known fact that a rivalry has existed between New York and Hollywood, virtually since the first images flickered across a large screen, and that the myth has always been upheld that good movies can only be made with any sense of professionalism or competence in L.A. If F/X didn't finally put that lie to rest, then no other film would, but we all know how that turned out...

A Hitchcock-flavored vehicle for hot Aussie heartthrob Bryan Brown, his charm, good looks and machismo are used to maximum advantage to portray special effects whiz Rollie Tyler, who is hired to stage a murder by the guys at Witness Protection, to enable former gangland kingpin Nicholas DeFranco to testify before a Grand Jury against his one-time associates. In the finest tradition of anything the Master of Suspense ever did, special effects are used as a metaphor for all of the characters and situations that Rollie encounters throughout the film. Nobody turns out to be exactly who or what they appear, most of all, Our Hero...

Brown does a great job with the lead, but the most remarkable and enjoyable part of F/X is the support he gets from some of the finest actors to ever walk across a stage, or in front of a camera. Brian Dennehy gets one of his first breakout roles as the cantankerous but canny detective Leo McCarthy, who is one of the first people to navigate the twists and turns of what's happening (eagle-eyed viewers will remember his role as Chevy Chase's partner in the '70's comedy/mystery FOUL PLAY); seasoned stage vet Jerry Orbach (TV's LAW AND ORDER) makes a fine cad as mob boss DeFranco; Mason Adams (TV's LOU GRANT) and Cliff De Young are also terrific as the not-so-intrepid government guys.

Diane Venora (WOLFEN) gives a much more fleshed-out portrayal of Rollie's actress/girlfriend Ellen Keith than what was probably on the script page, and Martha Gehman as Rollie's assistant/sidekick Andy gives a quirky, naturalistic performance that would seem out of place anywhere else, but works fine here.

Even the bit parts are rendered by some of the best character actors to be plucked from the Big Apple's talent pool: Jossie De Guzman, (whose on-screen chemistry with Dennehy would be criminally wasted in the so-so sequel); Joe Grifasi as McCarthy's partner, Mickey; Roscoe Orman as Leo's gruff boss, Capt. Wallinger (from CTW's SESAME STREET, believe it or not, the same company that would produce Morgan Freeman); M'el Dowd, Trey Wilson (RAISING ARIZONA and A SOLDIER'S STORY) and Tom Noonan (MANHUNTER, ROBOCOP 2). Even future leading lights Angela Bassett and James Pickens Jr. (X-FILES, THE PRACTICE) put in some early appearances.

With all this rich casting, plus a great script by Greg Megginson and Bob Fleeman, taut direction by New York-based vet Robert Mandel and a fantastic Bill Conti score, F/X predicted a long and prosperous future for many more Manhattan Projects.

And though the effects technology seems dated now, the tricks of the trade, which were state-of-the-art for the time, were supervised by John Stears. Name not familiar? John was one of the many effects people who cut his teeth on a little independent film you may have heard of, called STAR WARS. And makeup designer Carl Fullerton would go on to apply his talents to many films, including some of the FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, (probably the best part about those.)

A highly recommended piece of movie entertainment.

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