FX 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991)

PG-13 | 108 mins | Drama | 10 May 1991

Director:

Richard Franklin

Writer:

Bill Condon

Producers:

Jack Wiener, Dodi Fayed

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Editor:

Andrew London

Production Designer:

John Jay Moore

Production Companies:

Allied Stars, Doja Can Ltd.
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HISTORY

The 4 Feb 1986 DV announced that producers Dodi Fayed and Jack Wiener were preparing a screenplay for a sequel to Orion Pictures’ current release, F/X (1986, see entry). On 19 Jun 1986, HR noted that preproduction was “reportedly” under way in London, England. The producers had not yet selected a title, but doubted it would be F/X II, as the esoteric title of the original was said to have confused moviegoers.
       Four years later, the 17 Apr 1990 HR reported the 30 Apr 1990 start of principal photography. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming was scheduled for ten weeks in Toronto, Canada, and one week in New York City. Locations included several “New York-style apartment buildings, streets and alleys,” and a lakeside mansion north of the city. As reported in the 4 Aug 1990 Screen International, the crew made Toronto’s Chinatown district resemble its New York City counterpart by adding dirt and garbage to the streets. Production was completed 10 Jul 1990, and a Feb 1991 release was anticipated. A news item in the 6 Sep 1990 DV stated that after filming a few scenes in Rome, Italy, the crew returned to Universal Studios' backlot New York set for three additional days. The 11 May 1990 DV estimated the production budget at $18 million, approximately $7 million higher than F/X. The American Humane Association gave the picture a “Believed Acceptable” rating, based on assurances from the producers that no live fish were harmed during a scene depicting the ... More Less

The 4 Feb 1986 DV announced that producers Dodi Fayed and Jack Wiener were preparing a screenplay for a sequel to Orion Pictures’ current release, F/X (1986, see entry). On 19 Jun 1986, HR noted that preproduction was “reportedly” under way in London, England. The producers had not yet selected a title, but doubted it would be F/X II, as the esoteric title of the original was said to have confused moviegoers.
       Four years later, the 17 Apr 1990 HR reported the 30 Apr 1990 start of principal photography. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming was scheduled for ten weeks in Toronto, Canada, and one week in New York City. Locations included several “New York-style apartment buildings, streets and alleys,” and a lakeside mansion north of the city. As reported in the 4 Aug 1990 Screen International, the crew made Toronto’s Chinatown district resemble its New York City counterpart by adding dirt and garbage to the streets. Production was completed 10 Jul 1990, and a Feb 1991 release was anticipated. A news item in the 6 Sep 1990 DV stated that after filming a few scenes in Rome, Italy, the crew returned to Universal Studios' backlot New York set for three additional days. The 11 May 1990 DV estimated the production budget at $18 million, approximately $7 million higher than F/X. The American Humane Association gave the picture a “Believed Acceptable” rating, based on assurances from the producers that no live fish were harmed during a scene depicting the destruction of an aquarium.
       On 22 Apr 1991, Var reported that the planned 5 Apr 1991 release date was postponed until early the following month, enabling the picture to open the summer season while avoiding competition from Memorial Day releases. Orion launched a direct-mail advertising campaign, notifying forty-three million homes of a promotional sweepstakes, which could only be entered by calling a toll telephone number. The studio offered 15,000 prizes, including a new car, while collecting tolls to offset the cost of the sweepstakes. Orion spent over $200,000 to print the mailers, but contracted with the marketing company, Advo-Systems, to administer other aspects of the contest in exchange for a profit share. Targeting a young, predominantly male audience, Orion partnered with Kahlua liqueur to sponsor “F/X 2” nights at more than 250 restaurants and bars throughout the U S. The studio also purchased considerable airtime from cable television station USA Network. A series of one-minute spots were scheduled to run between 24 Apr and 11 May 1991, comprised of a thirty-second advertisement from Orion, followed by a thirty-second demonstration of “special effects trickery,” produced by the network.
       The 29 Apr 1991 DV announced the world premiere that evening at the Cary Grant Theater on the Columbia Pictures studio lot. FX 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion opened 10 May 1991 in nearly 1,500 theaters and became the weekend’s highest grossing film. Despite lukewarm critical notices, the picture earned approximately $15 million in its first three weeks of release, as stated in the Jul 1991 Box.
       End credits include the following statements: “Shot on location in Toronto, New York, Rome, & Universal Studios, Los Angeles”; “The producers wish to thank: Ontario Film Development Corporation & The Film Liaison Office, Visart, Cooper Tools, City of New York; Video Equipment Supplied by Matsushita Electric Canada; Power Boating Canada Magazine; Screamers, N.Y.C,; special thanks to Futaba Corporation; travel arrangements by Corniche Travel, LA.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jul 1991.
---
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1986
p. 8, 17.
Daily Variety
11 May 1990.
---
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1990.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1991.
---
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1991
p. 5, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1991
Calendar, p. 9.
New York Times
10 May 1991
Section C, p. 8.
Screen International
4 Aug 1990
p. 22.
Variety
22 Apr 1991
p. 71, 73.
Variety
13 May 1991
p. 109.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion® Pictures Release
A Dodi Fayed/Jack Wiener Production
A Richard Franklin Film
A Dodi Fayed/Jack Wiener Production
An Orion® Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
3rd asst dir
3rd asst dir
DGC trainee
DGC trainee
Unit prod mgr, Los Angeles unit
1st asst dir, Los Angeles unit
2d asst dir, Los Angeles unit
2d unit 2d asst dir, Los Angeles unit
Prod mgr, New York unit
2d asst dir, New York unit
DGA trainee, New York unit
1st asst dir, Rome unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Generator op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Video tech
Stills photog
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit 1st asst cam
Steadicam op
Dir of photog, Los Angeles unit
Cam op, Los Angeles unit
Cam op, Los Angeles unit
1st asst cam, Los Angeles unit
1st asst cam, Los Angeles unit
Key 2d asst cam, Los Angeles unit
2d asst cam, Los Angeles unit
Loader, Los Angeles unit
Stills man, Los Angeles unit
Gaffer, Los Angeles unit
Best boy elec, Los Angeles unit
Key grip, Los Angeles unit
Key grip, Los Angeles unit
2d unit dir of photog, Los Angeles unit
2d unit 1st asst cam, Los Angeles unit
2d unit gaffer, Los Angeles unit
Cam op, New York unit
1st asst cam, New York unit
2d asst cam, New York unit
Still photog, New York unit
Key grip, New York unit
Gaffer, New York unit
Addl photog, New York unit
Aerial dir of photog, New York unit
Dir of photog, Rome unit
Cam op, Rome unit
1st focus puller, Rome unit
Cam asst, Rome unit
Key grip, Rome unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
1st asst art dir
1st asst art dir
2d asst art dir
Art dept trainee
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
Art dir, Los Angeles unit
Art dir prod asst, Los Angeles unit
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Assoc ed
Assoc ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Post prod supv
Post prod asst
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set buyer
Asst set buyer
Set laborer
Const mgr
Head carpenter
Asst head carpenter
Scenic artist
Head painter
Sign painter
Stand by painter
Stand by painter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Props buyer
Set dec, Los Angeles unit
Lead man, Los Angeles unit
Set dresser, Los Angeles unit
Set dresser, Los Angeles unit
Set dresser, Los Angeles unit
Prop master, Los Angeles unit
Asst prop master, Los Angeles unit
Scenic artist, New York unit
Prop master, New York unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Cost supv, Los Angeles unit
Costumer, Los Angeles unit
Women's ward, New York unit
Men's ward, New York unit
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Mus coord
Addl mus by
Rec & mixed by, Phase II
Rec & mixed by Don Mack at
SOUND
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd des
Asst sd des
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, Los Angeles unit
Boom, Los Angeles unit
Sd mixer, New York unit
Boom op, New York unit
Sd mixer, Rome unit
Boom op, Rome unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff prod by
Foreman
Creature eff foreman
Shop foreman-LA
Shop foreman-Toronto
Cyborg make-up eff
Purchasing agent
Cost controller
Asst to Eric Allard
Eff crew loc
Eff crew loc
Eff crew loc
Eff crew loc
Canadian coord
On set
On set
On set
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
Cyborg & prop tech
F/X ward, Los Angeles unit
Title prod supv, New York unit
Titles & opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key hair stylist
Makeup artist, Los Angeles unit
F/X makeup, Los Angeles unit
F/X makeup, Los Angeles unit
F/X makeup, Los Angeles unit
Hairstylist, Los Angeles unit
Make up, New York unit
Hairstylist, New York unit
Make up artist, Rome unit
Hair stylist, Rome unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Const driver
Financial representative
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod coord
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc P.A.
Prod consultant
Toronto casting by
Extras casting
Asst to Mr. Wiener
Asst to Mr. Franklin
Allied Stars exec
Product res
Scr secy
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Post prod accountant
Unit pub
Craftservice
Craftservice
Picture vehicles
Transportation coord
Driver capt
Helicopter pilot
Boat driver
Prod coord, Los Angeles unit
Casting, Los Angeles unit
Scr supv, Los Angeles unit
Loc mgr, Los Angeles unit
Transportation coord, Los Angeles unit
Prod coord, New York unit
Asst prod coord, New York unit
Loc supv, New York unit
Scr supv, New York unit
Transportation, New York unit
Prod supv, Rome unit
Loc mgr, Rome unit
Prod coord, Rome unit
Prod asst, Rome unit
Art expert
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Canadian stunt coord & Rollie stunt double
Leo stunt double
Los Angeles stunt coord
Cyborg double
Wino double
Utility stunt
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Prints by
Orig photog and release prints
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Robert T. Megginson and Gregory Fleeman.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
F/X II
FX 2
F/X 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion
Release Date:
10 May 1991
Premiere Information:
Hollywood premiere: 29 April 1991
Los Angeles opening: 10 May 1991
New York opening: 10 May 1991
Production Date:
30 April--10 July 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
10 May 1991
Copyright Number:
PA515848
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Sound
Recorded in a THX sound system
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
108
Length(in feet):
9,704
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30944
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Former special effects designer Rollie Tyler observes a movie shoot on the streets of New York City, and declines an offer to return to film work, preferring his new career as a toymaker. Afterward, Rollie joins his girl friend, Kim Brandon, for her birthday celebration and demonstrates his latest creation, “Bluey,” a red-haired robotic clown, controlled by a telemetry suit. Their celebration is interrupted by Kim’s ex-husband, Detective Mike Brandon, who needs Rollie’s help in capturing a suspected serial killer, who is stalking a fashion model named Kylie. Rollie reluctantly agrees, recalling the disastrous outcome of his last police assignment. At Kylie’s apartment, Rollie uses a projected image and a smoke machine to create the illusion of the model taking a shower, and monitors the scene from his van, using a tiny camera placed in the bathroom. As the suspect enters the apartment, a man named Rado attacks Mike Brandon from behind and cuts his throat. Rollie returns to the building and encounters Rado in the stairwell, but is unable to prevent his escape. Detective Ray Silak shoots the suspect, and dismisses Rollie’s account of the murder. Determined to solve the case, Rollie contacts private detective and former policeman Leo McCarthy, then informs Kim and her son, Chris Brandon, of Mike’s death. The next day, Rollie, Kim, and Chris go to Mike’s apartment to retrieve some of the boy’s possessions, and find a police search underway. A detective examines the contents of a computer disc, and surrenders it to Chris once he is convinced that it contains no useful information. Ray Silak explains that Mike Brandon may have ... +


Former special effects designer Rollie Tyler observes a movie shoot on the streets of New York City, and declines an offer to return to film work, preferring his new career as a toymaker. Afterward, Rollie joins his girl friend, Kim Brandon, for her birthday celebration and demonstrates his latest creation, “Bluey,” a red-haired robotic clown, controlled by a telemetry suit. Their celebration is interrupted by Kim’s ex-husband, Detective Mike Brandon, who needs Rollie’s help in capturing a suspected serial killer, who is stalking a fashion model named Kylie. Rollie reluctantly agrees, recalling the disastrous outcome of his last police assignment. At Kylie’s apartment, Rollie uses a projected image and a smoke machine to create the illusion of the model taking a shower, and monitors the scene from his van, using a tiny camera placed in the bathroom. As the suspect enters the apartment, a man named Rado attacks Mike Brandon from behind and cuts his throat. Rollie returns to the building and encounters Rado in the stairwell, but is unable to prevent his escape. Detective Ray Silak shoots the suspect, and dismisses Rollie’s account of the murder. Determined to solve the case, Rollie contacts private detective and former policeman Leo McCarthy, then informs Kim and her son, Chris Brandon, of Mike’s death. The next day, Rollie, Kim, and Chris go to Mike’s apartment to retrieve some of the boy’s possessions, and find a police search underway. A detective examines the contents of a computer disc, and surrenders it to Chris once he is convinced that it contains no useful information. Ray Silak explains that Mike Brandon may have been killed by a fellow officer. Fearing for their safety, Rollie takes Kim and Chris to her sister’s home in New Jersey. That night, Rollie reviews the videotape of the murder, and notices Silak removing blood from Rado’s knife. Rado enters and holds Rollie at gunpoint while demanding the videotape. Rollie evades the killer and escapes to the street, where he is rescued by Leo McCarthy, while Rado narrowly survives a crash with a tractor-trailer. Based on Rollie’s account of events, Leo deduces that Mike was killed because he was investigating an unsolved case involving members of the police force. With the help of a policewoman named Velez, Leo gains access to the case Mike was investigating, while Rollie installs a listening device in Ray Silak’s telephone. After intercepting a conversation in which the detective admits complicity in the murder, Leo visits Assistant District Attorney Liz Kennedy, whom he has known since childhood. At Leo’s request, Liz Kennedy arranges a meeting with prison informant Matt Neely. However, Neely refuses to speak to Leo, focusing his attention on aging inmate Carl Becker. Afterward, Leo informs Rollie that Mike Brandon was investigating Becker, who stole a set of gold medallions created by Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Despite Becker’s capture, the medallions were never recovered. Rollie recognizes Becker’s name from the list of contents on Chris’s computer disc, and telephones the boy, asking him to send the file to Leo and Velez at police headquarters. Chris complies, using the modem at the neighborhood computer store. Kim arrives at the store moments later, unaware that Rado is following her. The killer halts the transmission and holds mother and son at gunpoint. Rollie enters as a security guard exchanges gunfire with Rado, allowing the captives to take refuge in a supermarket. Rado follows, but is hindered as Rollie creates obstacles fashioned from household items and food. Rollie leads Rado to the meat-packing department, where he shrink-wraps the killer’s head while demanding information. At police headquarters, Leo receives only a portion of the file, but he is able to determine that a crime boss named Samson is involved in the case. He takes Velez to dinner in the Chinatown district, where she is killed in a drive-by shooting. Meanwhile, Matt Neely coerces the dying Carl Becker to reveal the location of the medallions. Following his interrogation of Rado, Rollie informs Leo that Ray Silak has hired a helicopter for a rendezvous at a Long Island mansion that weekend. Leo apprises Liz Kennedy of their plan to raid the meeting, and asks her to arrange for police reinforcements. The detective is also intrigued by Samson, Liz’s exotic cat. When Matt Neely is released from prison the next day, Rollie follows as Silak drives the parolee to a cathedral. Neely enters a confessional and removes the medallions from underneath a kneeler as he confesses his sins to a priest. Days later, Rollie arrives at the mansion and uses his special-effects skills to neutralize the guards, while Leo briefs Liz Kennedy on their plan and arms her with a small pistol. As Ray Silak and Matt Neely deliver the medallions to Samson, Leo interrupts, saying police are on the way. Liz surprises Leo by placing the gun to his head, revealing that Samson is sponsoring her political career. After paying Silak and Neely $10 million for their services, Samson informs Leo that the medallions are to be returned to the Vatican at the behest of his “Italian associates,” who disapprove of crimes against the Church. Leo begs Liz to surrender her weapon and she shoots him. As Silak and Neely converge on their waiting helicopter, they turn on each other, leaving Neely dead. Rollie detonates explosives to simulate a military invasion, prompting the gangsters to retreat. Leo springs back to life, explaining that he loaded Liz’s gun with blank cartridges because he suspected her alliance with Samson after learning her slender cat’s inappropriate name. He turns Liz over to police and joins Rollie in a speedboat, while Silak flies overhead, unaware that the pilot has been replaced by Bluey. Wearing the telemetry suit, Rollie instructs the robot to grab the $10 million and jump from the helicopter, leaving Silak to struggle with the controls. As he pulls Bluey from the water, Rollie reveals that he substituted counterfeits for the real medallions. After Leo explains that Samson was performing an act of charity, the two men attend a mass at the Vatican and deposit the medallions in a collection basket. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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