Leo McCarthy (F/X2)

Created by Robert T. Megginson & Gregory Fleeman

In F/X2 (1991), the obligatory–but quite effective–sequel to 1986’s equally entertaining surprise hit F/X, effects wiz man Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) is now out of the movie biz, living in New York City and seriously into what he refers to as “toys.” But he gets roped in to helping his girlfriend’s ex, a New York cop, to set up an elaborate sting to nail a killer. When it all turns to crap, with both the ex and the suspect murdered, Rollie turns to LEO McCARTHY (Brian Dehenny), the cop whom he worked with in the first movie, who’s now sporting private tin, for help.

For a sequel, it’s surprisingly engaging, if not exactly world-class cinema. Dennehy, with his bag-of-potatoes physique, roguish Irish charm, and up-yours tough guy sneer, was born to play some sort of cop or P.I., and Brown (who actually did play one in the excellent The Empty Beach) are both in fine form.

Now retired from the NYPD, Leo lives in a bar that closed five years ago, drives a junker Chevy from the early fifties, and takes an occasional case, but shies away from divorce cases. The plot has more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti thrown against the wall. There’s some fine over-the-top malarkey about the Mob out to swipe some gold medallions from the Vatican, an apparently indestructible hitman, an explosive supermarket (Watch out for those beans!), and Rollie’s latest toy, The Fighting Animitronic Klown.

Things blow up, but they blow up real good. A goofy, giddy P.I. flick, good dumb fun, nowhere near as bad as it could have been, (although it really, really tries at times).

ACTUALLY…

  • I should point out that Dennehy did play a private eye a few times before he was cast in the F/X movies. He starred in Big Shamus, Little Shamus, a short-lived  1979 TV show, and in an unsold 1983 television pilot, “The Bounty Hunter,” which aired as a Cagney and Lacey episode. The big lug just had that look about him, I guess.

UNDER OATH

  • “It’s not every film… that includes both booby-trapped baked beans and a robotic clown piloting a helicopter.”
    Roger Ebert

FILMS

  • F/X
    (1986, Orion) | Buy the DVD Buy the Blu-Ray Watch it now!
    109 minutes

    Written by Robert T. Megginson and Gregory Fleeman
    Directed by Robert Mandel
    Starring Bryan Brown as Rollie Tyler
    and Brian Dennehy as LEO McCARTHY
    Also starring Diane Venora, Cliff De Young, Mason Adams, Jerry Orbach, Joe Grifasi, Martha Gehman, Roscoe Orman, Trey Wilson, Tom Noonan, Paul D’Amato, Jossie DeGuzman
  • F/X2: THE DEADLY ART OF ILLUSION Buy this DVD Buy the Blu-Ray Watch it now!
    (1991, Orion)
    108 minutes
    Tagline: Outgunned by the mob, outmanned by the cops….. their effects had better be special!
    Based on characters created by Robert T. Megginson & Gregory Fleeman
    Screenplay by Bill Condon
    Directed by Richard Franklin
    Produced by Dodi Fayed, Jack Wiener
    Executive producers: Bryan Brown, Lee R. Mayes ….
    Starring Bryan Brown as Rollie Tyler
    and Brian Dennehy as LEO McCARTHY
    Also starring Rachel Ticotin, Joanna Gleason, Philip Bosco, Kevin J. O’Connor, Tom Mason, Dominic Zamprogna, Jossie DeGuzman, John Walsh, Peter Boretski, Lisa Fallon, Lee Broker, Philip Akin, Tony De Santis, Ross Petty
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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