As contrived and plot-hole ridden as it is, F/X still works quite effectively as a crowd-pleasing popcorn picture. Basic premise here is so strong that it proves well-nigh indestructable, even in the face of numerous implausibilities, some silly dialogue and less-than-great casting in secondary roles.

As contrived and plot-hole ridden as it is, F/X still works quite effectively as a crowd-pleasing popcorn picture. Basic premise here is so strong that it proves well-nigh indestructable, even in the face of numerous implausibilities, some silly dialogue and less-than-great casting in secondary roles.

Crackerjack film special-effects man Bryan Brown is recruited by the Justice Dept to stage a phony assassination of big-time mobster Jerry Orbach, who is ready to squeal. The authorities want the Mafia to think Orbach is dead. Brown is convinced to act the role of hitman himself, but he finds himself a marked man, the target of both government goons and New York Police.

Last 80 minutes of film constitute a relentless, multi-faceted chase, as Brown must rely on his wits and resourseful talents as an F/X wizard to elude and, ultimately, hunt down the baddies who set him up. Old-style Irish cop Brian Dennehy so flagrantly disobeys the rule book in his pursuit of justice that he gets tossed off the force. But even this doesn’t stop him.

Roles are one dimensional, but Brown and Dennehy possess sufficient personality and physical presence to fill them well. Special effects, stunts and special makeup are all they intended to be – top drawer.

F/X

Production

Orion. Director Robert Mandel; Producer Dodi Fayed, Jack Wiener; Screenplay Robert T. Megginson, Gregory Fleeman; Camera Miroslav Ondricek; Editor Terry Rawlings; Music Bill Conti; Art Director Mel Bourne

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Bryan Brown Brian Dennehy Diane Venora Cliff De Young Mason Adams Jerry Orbach
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