HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It Came from the Desert
Lodgers, The
Eagle vs Shark
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
   
 
Newest Articles
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
   
 
  F/X It's Just An IllusionBuy this film here.
Year: 1986
Director: Robert Mandel
Stars: Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Diane Venora, Cliff De Young, Mason Adams, Jerry Orbach, Joe Grifasi, Martha Gehman, Roscoe Orman, Trey Wilson, Tom Noonan, Paul D'Amato, Jossie DeGuzman, Jean De Baer, M'el Dowd, Angela Bassett
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) is one of the best special effects men in the business, and since leaving his native Australia he has never wanted for work in the American film industry, with a list of credits as long as your arm. Today he has been arranging a staged massacre in a restaurant for a ganger movie, and after successfully pulling that off, he is behind the scenes brushing up new makeup effects when he is approached by Lipton (Cliff De Young) who announces himself as a producer who would be very interested in joining forces with him on a new project. Rollie must admit he is intrigued, but when they meet the next day at his apartment, all is not as it seems: Lipton is no producer.

The creators of makeup effects possibly never received as much respect as they did in the nineteen-eighties when their skills came into their own, and big names were made, particularly in the field of horror which came to rely heavily on them for gore and monsters. F/X, on the other hand, was not a horror movie, it merely featured a Rick Baker type as its protagonist and capitalised on the notion that these professionals were essentially illusionists in a format that produced entertainment for the masses rather than impressing an audience of a few dozen in a nightclub or theatre environment. With that in mind, the possibilities for some real innovations in the storytelling truly opened up.

Yet you would be disappointed if you were anticipating something genuinely out there and wacky, as the script was more interested in the thriller elements over the capabilities of latex or even animatronics. In fact, the special effect it was most concerned with was fake blood squibs, which you did not especially need a seasoned makeup artist around to achieve, and the sense that the Rollie character was rather squandered in his own movie was difficult to shake: even his disguises could have been reduced to a fake beard or rubber nose, and you could buy those in the average joke shop. There was a semi-elaborate sequence where he created a Jerry Orbach mask, but it was no great shakes.

For suspense, that was, for whenever anyone was wearing an Orbach mask they simply cast Orbach to play the character, as if Rollie's abilities were indistinguishable from the real thing. Why Jerry? It was down to him playing a gangster character who wishes to escape his life of crime and start a new life elsewhere, so Lipton, who is actually a government agent, recruits Rollie to stage a fake murder in a restaurant (that's right, like the one which opened the movie in another display of a lack of imagination). Thereafter, the mafioso can pretend to be dead and start over with a new identity. However, the film's strength was its willingness to go for the twist, and there would be a fair few before the end credits rolled, the first (or was it the second?) that Rollie, who pulled the trigger on the gangster, might have murdered him.

Or committed manslaughter, anyway, as he suspects Lipton tampered with the blank ammunition and real bullets had been substituted. Time and again, there was a big reveal like a magician going, "Ta-da!", suggesting either this would have been better as an episode of Jonathan Creek or the hit movie of the future that owed something to this, Now You See Me. Then again, there was another genre this wished to court, and that was the action flick, so there were shootouts and car chases thrown into the mix for good measure, but increasingly you began to wonder when this was going to make the most of its premise. Brian Dennehy was the co-star, and he was the cop on Rollie's trail, fitting the jigsaw together but not sharing a scene with Brown till the very end, which was a pity as you imagine they would have had some chemistry in a buddy movie of the eighties. As it was, the sole sequence that took advantage of the ideas was when Rollie stages an assault on the bad guys' headquarters, lifting this above average for about five minutes. Curiously amoral in the end, F/X was a little forgettable. Music by Bill Conti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 416 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
3 Nov 2017
  A missed opportunity, yes, though strangely watchable. I remember the sequel being slightly more fun with more banter between the two Bryan and Brian.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: