The gimmicks and plot turns in ''FX 2'' are better than the movie itself, but both represent considerable assets. Both help dispel the initial notion that the new film is not that well directed or edited.
Bryan Brown stars. He starred in the original film, one that was released in 1986. ''FX'' was a surprise success, hence the sequel, which is just as entertaining as the first. It also repeats some of the plot lines of the first.
You might, however, want to be prepared. The ''FX'' movies are not kind to their women. In the first film, one of the lead women was murdered. The same thing happens in the second. It isn't safe to pick up with the men in these things.
''FX 2'' is big on surprise, and that is one of the attractions of the film. It is fun, for instance, trying to guess which way the plot will go, which of the characters is trustworthy and which is not.
It's also fun to guess the ending, and you'll probably be right. What you may not be able to predict, however, is how the special effects gimmicks will be used in the film.
That's what the title stands for, special effects, as the movies know them, and there are a lot of them in this film. They're small, not big. On occasion, they come close to those of the Bond films, but none is ever that grand, nor do they hope to be.
''FX 2'' prefers, instead, to amuse with the utilization of products like cans of hair spray, popcorn, potato flakes and a few more things Rollie Tyler (Brown) uses to vanquish the villains who pursue him.
It is also interesting to see how far forensic detection has come, at least on film, and if this is not the case in real life, who cares?
All the producers of ''FX 2'' hope to do with this story is entertain, and that they do, although the film does have a shaky start.
Brian Dennehy continues as Tyler's good friend, a cop who has turned private detective. He's not the safest company. You travel with him at your own risk, and if you do, you are likely to end up dead.
Phillip Bosco is the police lieutenant who seems to be up to no good, so it's no surprise when you discover that he, in fact, is up to no good -- something the producers want you to know early on.
"FX 2'' is playing at local theaters. This time, Tyler is asked to help police nail a serial killer.
''FX 2'' ** A special effects man is asked to help the police nab a murderer.
CAST: Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Ticotin, Joanna Gleason, Philip Bosco, Tom Mason
DIRECTOR: Richard Franklin
RATING: PG-13 (violence, nudity)
) RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes