F/X: Murder By Illusion

Year: 1986
Production Co: Orion Pictures
Director: Robert Mandel
Cast: Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Cliff de Young, Jerry Orbach
In today's world where Hugh Jackman, Nicole kidman, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Eric Bana and Russell Crowe are household names, the Australian invasion into Hollywood is more or less complete.

There was a time however when an Australian actor headlining a Hollywood movie was a delightful anachronism, and if any Aussie star had the experience and profile to warrant it in the late eighties, it was Bryan Brown.

In a slightly prophetic role, he plays Rollie Tyler, an Australian special effects wizard called upon by a law enforcement agency to stage the murder of a mob boss to allow him to slip unnoticed into a witness protection program.

When he's saved from a subsequent hit on his own life by fate alone, Rollie goes on the run, the agents who enlisted him corrupt, and apparently a murderer after the fake gun for the staged hit was substituted with a real one.

A classic trying-to-clear-his-name-from-hiding story ensues, with Rollie using his knowledge of movie magic to get one up on his pursuers. At the same time, a very cinematic cop (brash, funny, good-hearted but uncontrollable) Leo (Dennehy) is on the same case and the two eventually cross paths and realise they have to work together.

Good fun and entertaining.

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