Quartet Records QRSCE071
34 Tracks/Disc Time: 62:55
In 1986, a slick and entertaining action-thriller made its' debut in theaters called "F/X" which is short for "Special Effects" which earned solid reviews and was a surprise at the box office. The film revolved around a movie Special Effects wizard named Rollie Taylor (Bryan Brown, "Cocktail") who made a living in films and after being used, betrayed and ultimately betrayed by the FBI to seemingly help mobster DiFranco (the late Jerry Orbach) go into Witness Protection. After being hunted down, Rollie used his skills against them aided by a former NYPD Detective Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy, "First Blood") to not only get rid of DiFranco and the corrupt agents but also claim a lucrative million dollar prize. Fast forward five years later after the events of the first film, "F/X 2" Rollie has pretty much retired from the movie business and effects and now has become a toymaker with his latest pet project, autometromic clown "Bluesy". He's also dating Kim (Rachel Ticotin, "Total Recall") whose ex-husband Mike (Tom Mason, "Law & Order") is a NYPD detective and recruits Rollie for sting operation which goes all wrong and Mike is ultimately killed by a mysterious man. With a shady NYPD detective Silak (Phillip Bosco, "The Savages") and his equally shady partner Neely (Kevin J.O'Connor, "The Mummy") telling Rollie that it was the mysterious killer who killed Mike but Rollie knows the truth that it wasn't. He brings in Leo, who is now working as a private eye to turn the tables on the corrupt police officers and what the real reason behind Mike's murder is that may involve an old flame of Leo's in NY District Attorney Liz Kennedy (Joanna Gleeson).
The film was skillfully directed by Australian director Richard Franklin who made a very solid splash with the sequel to "Psycho" in "Psycho 2" and the very entertaining action-thriller "Cloak & Dagger" starring "E.T.'s" Henry Thomas and Dabney Coleman ("9 to 5") but soon left Hollywood after feeling disappointed about the films that they wanted him to make and this film marked his final film directed here in the U.S. For Franklin's last film he picked a composer who was able to channel both the breezy energy of the film as well as the action and turned to one of the best composers in the business in Lalo Schifrin. Schifrin had been one of the more prolific composers in Hollywood with classic scores to "Enter The Dragon", "The Amityville Horror", "The Cincinnatti Kid", "Kelly's Heroes" amongst many others that made him truly stand out. However, he hit a bit of a lean period during the late 80's with the final Dirty Harry film "The Dead Pool" being his major highlight. The score to this film isn't all that dissimilar to "The Dead Pool" that features a breezy jazz theme mixed in with propulsive electronics that gave that score a distinctive modern vibe.
The action begins with the breezy smooth jazz opening the album in the film's "Main Title" which isn't too dissimilar to that of "The Dead Pool's" great "San Francisisco Night" but more electronic and has a little more light hearted pep to it. Spinning off from this is the even lighter "Bluey" which is cool Schifrin jazz at its' finest with a wailing alto sax and a rhythm guitar backed with a circus-like keyboard motif. These two themes recur a few times like in the tracks "Kid Stuff", "Loading Van/Autowrap", and the ultra cool "Bluey's End". The score also features Schifrin's trademark action and suspense material which is very good here included in the score's best tracks in "Game Over/The Last Explosion", "Special Effects", "Popcorn", "Rado Attacks/Rado Chases Rollie" and "Hairspray/The Cart".
Quartet's album is the very first release of this fine score by the great jazz legend which is the first time the music has been featured outside of the film as the original "F/X" also had a limited edition CD that sold out years ago. A major quibble with this album is that it's missing synthesizer specialist Michael Boddicker's additional music which is very solid in its' own right including the great film version of the End Credits based on Schifrin's themes which is sorely missing here. Otherwise, this is a very solid release by the label and it's always great to see Schifrin's work released which is always a great event. Thumbs up.