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culture

Reel Toronto: Avenging Angelo

A "mafia comedy" starring Sylvester Stallone shows off plenty of Toronto scenery.

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

2013 04 23 avengingangelo

We confess that when we profiled Driven we really had no idea Sylvester Stallone had made a second terrible movie here. That movie is the “mafia comedy” Avenging Angelo.

The director was Toronto-native Martyn Burke, meaning we at least know who to blame for dragging our city into this. Burke’s filmography doesn’t suggest the deft touch necessary for a successful “mafia comedy,” but then he did get a co-writing credit for Top Secret! so we won’t be too hard on him on the off-chance he wrote the “what phony dog poo?” joke.

In his commentary track for the movie, he suggests he was perhaps aiming for some sort of profundity but…yeah, no.

2013 04 23oro shooting

Whatever, we don’t have time to worry about quality. All we care about is locations, and here we are, playing Long Island. One of the film’s major set pieces (we use the words “film” and “major” loosely) is the assassination of real-life Hollywood legend Anthony Quinn, who’s playing a mob boss. Oh, and this isn’t a spoiler because his character’s name is Angelo and his bodyguard (Sly, natch) has to avenge him, or protect his daughter or something.

Anyway, it takes place in this restaurant…

2013 04 23oro usatoday

…which is (despite the USA Today box) very clearly Oro, on Elm Street.

2013 04 23elmst more

You can see a bit more of it here, with Mount Sinai Hospital at the end there.

2013 04 23parklanecircle

Early on, they drive out to a handsome mob mansion up in the Bridle Path neighbourhood

2013 04 2340parklanecircle

…at 40 Park Lane Circle. Amusingly, the neighbourhood being what it is, it looks like that humble manse has been replaced by something better.

Ah yes, here it is. For $14 million (give or take) you can have something not too shy to admit it’s inspired by the Chateau Versailles. But amidst its 22,000 square feet it has a ballroom, and if people aren’t impressed by you telling them Stallone once visited, maybe the 14 bathrooms will do the trick?

2013 04 23mysterymall

In the middle of the movie there’s a big shootout at this mall and we confess: we don’t recognize it. It’s got three levels with an HMV on the main level and a food court downstairs and other than that…we’re just not sure. [UPDATE: It's actually the City Centre (formerly Eaton Centre) mall in Hamilton.]

2013 04 23driving midas

But then Sly escapes with Madeline Stowe and they’re in Hamilton. They drive past this Midas and along York Boulevard.

2013 04 23metrounited

If Angelo is dead, he has to have a funeral. It takes place at Metropolitan United Church, never afraid to offer its services for the good of art.

2013 04 23opera theatre

This being a lame mobster movie, there also has to be some opera! Here it is, taking place at the Pantages (or the Canon, or the Ed Mirvish or whatever you want to call it on any given day).

2013 04 23pantageslobby

You can also recognize its lovely lobby, where our thespians partake of victuals afterwards.

2013 04 23ashbridgesprobably

They also spent some time down by the lake. They shot something around Ashbridge’s Bay and there’s some water there, so it’s a fair guess, eh?

2013 04 23docksdrivingrang

With greater certainty, we can safely say this flashbacky assassination scene is on the upper level of the driving range at Polson Pier.

2013 04 23portlands

And for all you port lands lovers, this is a pretty shot looking down Villiers Street.

2013 04 23valhalla parking

They also venture out by the airport, driving into…

2013 04 23valhalla entrance

…and visiting the now-departed Valhalla Inn.

Mafia comedies are just not the most successful genre and, really, after making Oscar, Stallone should have known better. If you absolutely insist on seeing a mafia comedy shot in Toronto, just watch The Freshman.


UPDATE: OCTOBER 4, 2013: We originally couldn’t identify the mall pictured above but thanks to Vic Gedris for identifying it as Hamilton’s Eaton Centre. We’ve added the information above.

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