It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There should be a special category for movies that are neither good nor bad, but simply excessive. A movie, for example, like "FX 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion." Here is a film with a plot I defy you to comprehend, characters who are constantly at the mercy of the filmmaker's bright ideas, and a level of reality that vibrates between the absurd and the hallucinatory. It's not every film, in other words, that includes both booby-trapped baked beans and a robotic clown piloting a helicopter.
The film is a sequel of sorts to "F/X," a 1986 thriller that did fairly well at the box office, and then went on to become one of the all-time top renters and grossers on home video. I can see why the original film did well on video, and why this one should, too.
Home video is a medium that invites distractions, and "F/X" was the kind of film where you could casually glance at the screen, see something utterly amazing, and then look away again, secure in the knowledge that no crucial plot developments would escape you.
In "FX 2," all of the crucial plot developments have already escaped before the movie even begins. This is a film that defies synopsis. It stars, once again, the dependable and laconic Australian actor Bryan Brown, as a special effects genius ("F/X" is movie shorthand for "effects"). He has retired from his original profession to devote time to his more advanced projects, including an invention of truly Tom Swiftian proportions: A suit you put on that registers all of your body movements and then duplicates them exactly with a robot.