Critics Consensus

Smart, twisty, and perfectly cast, the effects-assisted neo-noir F/X reminds viewers that a well-told story is the most special effect of all.



Total Count: 24


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,093
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Movie Info

A man who simulates death for a living finds himself unwittingly tied into the real thing in this New York-based suspense drama. Special-effects man Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) makes his living simulating gory mayhem and photogenic violence for movies such as "I Dismember Mama." Tyler is given a chance to expand his professional horizons when he's approached by Lipton (Cliff De Young), who introduces himself as an FBI agent and makes an unusual proposal. Mob kingpin Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach) is willing to testify against his fellow gangsters, but the investigators are worried about his safety. Lipton wants Tyler to help him and his staff fake DeFranco's assassination; if everyone is convinced DeFranco is dead, people will be a lot less likely to look for him. Tyler grudgingly takes the assignment, and while he's able to realistically simulate DeFranco being shot in a crowded restaurant, after the "gag," he discovers that he's been double-crossed, and he's wanted for the murder of the man he just "shot." Tyler hides out with his girlfriend, Ellen (Diane Venora), but he realizes that whoever set him up wants him dead after she's killed by a bullet meant for him. With the help of fellow effects artist Andy (Martha Gehman), Tyler goes underground and tries to unravel the truth behind the Lipton murder. Meanwhile, police detective Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy) is convinced that something is not right when he's called to the scene of DeFranco's murder and is certain that the dead body is not the gangster. F/X was followed by a sequel, and later a short-lived TV series.


Bryan Brown
as Rollie Tyler
Brian Dennehy
as Leo McCarthy
Mason Adams
as Col. Mason
Jerry Orbach
as Nicholas DeFranco
Roscoe Orman
as Capt. Wallenger
Trey Wilson
as Lt. Murdoch
Tom Noonan
as Varrick
Paul D'Amato
as Gallagher
Jossie DeGuzman
as Marisa Velez
Josie de Guzman
as Marisa Velez
Jean De Baer
as Whitemore
Mel Dowd
as Miss Joyce Lehman
Patrick Stack
as Sgt. Littauer
John Doumanian
as The Director
Ed Crowley
as Ballistics Expert
Gibby Brand
as 1st Reporter
Jim Elliott
as Car-Pound Attendant
George Kodisch
as Capt. Tolosa
Jim Cordes
as Capt. Watts
Richard Hayes
as State Trooper
Christopher McHale
as State Trooper
Jim Babchak
as State Trooper
James Pickens Jr.
as Ambulance Driver
Michael Fischetti
as State Police Chief
Angela Bassett
as TV Reporter
Yolanda Lloyd
as Receptionist
Marvin Beck
as Medical Examiner
James Babchak
as State Trooper
John McLoughlin
as Hospital State Trooper
Drummond Erskine
as Boat-House Guard
Joe Pentangelo
as Police Officer
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News & Interviews for F/X

Critic Reviews for F/X

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (3)

  • Taking a page from Hitchcock, "F/X" is a nicely knitted thriller, effective if conventional...

    Jan 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • As contrived and plot-hole ridden as it is, F/X still works quite effectively as a crowd-pleasing popcorn picture.

    Apr 9, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • The action sequences are efficiently handled, but look elsewhere for psychological or emotional insight.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film is as much a demonstration of various kinds of special effects as it is about them.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • The irony of F/X, which is a very good thriller indeed, is that it avoids the pitfall of so many thrillers; it doesn't degenerate into a mindless display of special effects.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • [A] first-rate thriller. Robert Mandel directs with a winning energy, never getting too slick, but remaining interested in the human angle.

    Jun 13, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for F/X

  • Sep 23, 2013
    The movie starts well enough, and the make-belief story didn't make me uncomfortable enough to enjoy the strategy making process!! The humor played a significant role there (why so serious), I guess. But come second half of the flick, and the suspension of disbelief becomes sort of a challenge to overcome. (No loose ends!!!) It simply keeps descending thereafter, with the end hitting the nail to the coffin. Besides, the performances too were terrible. Having said that, it's a tolerable one (maybe specifically on a fine day) that doesn't call for repeated viewings.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 2013
    The film turns the old fashioned thriller story into something fun and original. Alfred Hitchcock would make these films with his eyes shut and I would assume he would enjoy this clever twist on the wrong guy. Bryan brown is well cast as the special effects artist who accepts a job that soon leads to a murder charge. Dennehy is good as the old disgruntled detective who uncovers the plot. The film is full of promising actors which gives the film more depth. The film is at its strongest when it runs free with the clever concept that in the wrong hands could have been dull and over the top. If you enjoy a fresh take on an old tired genre film then this is the film for you. 10/09/2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2011
    F/X is entertaining on a base level thanks to a few clever twists, but it's also laughably implausible too much of the time and embraces an inconsistent tone that tries to find balance between bloody violence and silly, prop-related stunts to middling effect.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    An okay action thriller movie, I saw it a long time ago on TV, so maybe I should see it again, but I wasn't too impressed with it the first time.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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