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Mr. X Adds Invisible Effects to 16 Blocks Film

It's hard to spot their fingerprints on this cop thriller (February 27, 2006)

Toronto-based visual effects firm Mr. X, Inc., has completed the visual effects work on 16 BLOCKS, a new film from legendary director Richard Donner. The action thriller, which stars Bruce Willis and Mos Def, required the sorts of 'invisible' enhancements that have become increasingly common in the past few years.

"Dick (Donner) was not looking to add splashy 'in your face' visual effects," recalls Visual Effects Supervisor Evan Jacobs. "In fact, I think the audience will be hard-pressed to pick out our work on this film."

Few effects were planned for while the film was shooting on location in Toronto. "I read the script and met with Donner, and I said, 'we have to be a part of this film'," says Jacobs. "The producers kept saying there weren't any effects needed, but we kept after them, offering to help any way we could. Sure enough, when they got into the editing room, they started seeing the possibilities."

Much of the work Mr. X contributed to the film 16 BLOCKS centered around addressing continuity oversights or altering the original photography. For example, in order to earn a PG-13 rating from the MPAA, the filmmakers asked the visual effects team to remove blood from several shots. "Often we're asked to add gore, so it was interesting to have to reduce it," recalls Jacobs.

One of the key sequences involved adding CG sparks and smoke to a bus chase. "The production footage had some physical elements, but they wanted to add more. The results are subtle, but they really add to the excitement of the sequence."

Although their work may go unnoticed by most moviegoers, Jacobs is still satisfied. "I'm not a big fan of visual effects for its own sake," he says. "Our goal is to collaborate and support the filmmaker's vision, wherever that takes us. Sometimes, as on this film, it's what you don't see that makes the difference."

16 BLOCKS is a character-driven action thriller that stars Bruce Willis as Jack Mosley, a broken-down NY detective assigned to escort a petty criminal (Mos Def) from the precinct to the courthouse. The seemingly simple 16-block journey becomes a test of character for them when Jack's ex-partners attempt to stop them. It's the story of how two men change each other during a tense 110-minute struggle between life and death. The film is scheduled for wide release on March 3rd, 2006.

Who is Mr. X?
Bringing together a unique mix of artists, filmmakers, VFX supervisors, and programmers, Mr. X specializes in partnering with filmmakers to provide story-driven visual enhancements. The artists and creative minds at Mr. X are known for their superb, photo-realistic achievements in CGI, their skills in digital matte painting, VFX compositing, and Post/VFX supervision, as well as for their realistic digital creations of epic-scale and otherwise impossible stunts. With a studio equipped with a rare mix of the latest imaging technologies, the team at Mr. X is committed to pushing the limits of the digital realm, and in making the impossible, possible.

With credits on dozens of distinguished projects including A History of Violence, Four Brothers, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Ice Princess, Assault on Precinct 13, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Dawn of the Dead (2004), and many more, Mr. X helps to define the very look and feel of a film.

For more information on Mr. X, please visit their website at

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Related Keywords:Mr. X , Invisible Effects , 16 Blocks Film

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