F/X offers a different twist on the run-of-the-mill homicide movie as special effects are the key ingredient of the plot.
The special effects are the main trade of the movie’s central character, Roland “Rollie” Tyler (Bryan Brown), who is billed as the best SFX man in the business. It is his trade, however, that gets him into trouble.
Tyler is approached by Martin Lipton (Cliff De Young), a federal agent associated with the Witness Protection Program who wants Rollie to stage a mock killing of ageing mobster Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach) and make it real enough with special effects to leave everyone thinking the gangster is really dead.
DeFranco can then safely tell all he knows and finger all his cohorts before living the rest of his life without worry in another part of the nation with a new identity provided by the feds.
Tyler initially hesitates to accept the challenge and $30,000 payment but reconsiders when thinking about the challenge it would create. He finally agrees.
Rollie quickly and painstakingly sets up the mock murder by carefully fitting the federal snitch with hidden squibs that will create bullet holes and ooze out blood.
The stage is set in a small Italian restaurant where DeFranco will be gunned down in front of a crowd of people.
Rollie enters the restaurant and empties his gun of blanks at the mobster, who crashes to the floor in a bloody mess.
After leaving the restaurant, Tyler is whisked away by Lipton and his driver. The agent apologises to Tyer and then pulls out a gun and tries to shoot him. The feds don’t want any loose ends.
Tyler narrowly escapes after the car crashes into a building.
He is now a hunted man and doesn’t know if his staged “hit” was real or make-believe. He uses his unique brand of tricks to trip them up, track them down and have them and their plans go bust.
F/X is a good action movie and – naturally – has excellent special effects. Bryan Brown’s performance is good, and he is supported by the fine acting of Brian Dennehy as a messy, unkempt police detective and Mason Adam as the crooked head fed setting up the bogus hit on the mobster.
Roland “Rollie ” Tyler
Cliff De Young
Jean De Baer
Miss Lehman (Joyce)