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culture

Reel Toronto: Kick-Ass 2

This somewhat disappointing sequel makes good use of the GTA.

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 11 26 kickass2

The first Kick-Ass was not a movie designed to appeal to all tastes, and yet it somehow managed to achieve a tricky balance between comedy, humour, and a little bit of the ol’ ultraviolence. It did well enough to justify a sequel which, unfortunately, is unable to pull off that same trick a second time. There are still some good jokes and interesting action sequences, but everything seems a bit darker and crueller, so it doesn’t all come off as well. The good news, at least for us, is that they came back to Toronto, hoping to recapture some of the magic.

2013 11 26 opening nyc

As in the first film, the opening shot attempts to establish that we’re in New York City…

2013 11 26 opening notnyc

….something then immediately subverted by a shot of the Toronto skyline. Based on the angle, you can tell we’re actually out in the port lands.

2013 11 26 pimpstroll pearl duncan

So, at the start of the film, our hero is trying to get his mojo back. Here, he dresses up as a pimp and strolls down Pearl Street, near Duncan Street.

2013 11 26 pearlagain

Later, he ends up in costume on roughly the same stretch.

2013 11 26 mansion doultonroad murderhouse

Last time out, the bad guy lived in a high-rise, but this time he’s a bit more down to earth, in this spacious mansion.

2013 11 26 mansion ext

It’s actually an amazing, palatial location in Mississauga, on Doulton Place.

Also, in case you’re wondering why the owners would allow such a violent film to set up shop, the house is actually already rather infamous for once having been the location of an actual murder.

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Speaking of Mississauga, it’s also the setting for a big action scene later on. The baddies invade the burbs…

2013 11 26 7149appletree herhouse

…and pay a visit to Kick-Ass’s girlfriend’s house, actually 7149 Apppletree Lane

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…while neighbours look on, before the carnage gets going.

2013 11 26 dave clinton

As for our hero, he lives in this humble abode….

2013 11 26 davestreet clinton

…which is actually 5 Clinton Street. You can see Bitondo’s Pizza down the block here.

2013 11 26 highschool

As in the first flick, Hamilton’s Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School plays the high school.

2013 11 26 pizzaiolo

When superheroes meet, they combine meeting and pizza. Like at this gathering at Pizzaiolo…

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…specifically, the Toronto Street outlet.

2013 11 26 hotdogstand

Of course, we’re supposed to be in Manhattan, so there’s plenty of downtown stuff to see, too, like this hot-dog stand on Yonge Street. It precedes a big fight…

2013 11 26 fight yonge

…when these guys cross the street…

2013 11 26 fight mrsub 492yonge

…and engage in fisticuffs outside the Mr. Sub outlet at Grosvenor Street.

2013 11 26 downtownstreet

The heroes come together behind local boy Jim Carrey—who later would, in the wake of the Newtown shootings, decide he really wasn’t into violence and so wouldn’t help promote the movie. It may be faint praise to say his work here is among the more amusing things he’s done in recent times, but if he didn’t care to tell you about it, we won’t either. Anyway, this is on Yonge Street, and some people got some pictures as they were filming around Elm Street.

2013 11 26 fakessubway dndassq

Not too far way, this ersatz NYC subway stop is actually just the kiosk at Yonge-Dundas Square.

2013 11 26 chinatown

One big downtown set peice is a raid that brings everyone to Spadina Avenue, in Chinatown.

2013 11 26 van alley

Afterwards, the heroes crowd into a van that pulls out of this alley…

2013 11 26 van spadina

…and then they around downtown, first on Spadina Avenue…

2013 11 26 van bell

…but then on Yonge Street, making sure to give shout-outs to both Bell…

2013 11 26 van rogers

…and Rogers…

2013 11 26 zanzibar

…on their way past Zanzibar.

2013 11 26 yonge wellesley

And, just a bit up the street, bad guy Red Mist and his partner, played by John Leguizamo, cruise past Yonge and Wellesley streets and rob a convenience store.

2013 11 26 43airdrie 1

Since Nic Cage got killed in the first movie, Hit Girl, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, now lives with his former partner, Marcus. Their happy home is in Leaside…

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on Airdrie Road.

2013 11 26 chase park

Marcus doesn’t know she’s still doing hero stuff, so in one big chase scene, she tries to beat him home on her purple Ducati, flying through Leaside.

2013 11 26 queen john 2ndcp

Marcus tries to beat her from downtown, where he’s grabbing a coffee at the Second Cup near Queen and John streets…

2013 11 26 queen john

…before tearing through the same intersection…

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….and zipping by evidence of our condo boom.

2013 11 26 nythruway

Pretty much everything not shot in Toronto was shot in England. Interestingly, however, the background shots for this extensive highway action sequence were actually and curiously shot on the New York State Thruway, just north of New York City.

Oh, well, it’s not a total loss. Between this and the similarly mediocre and redundant Carrie remake, Chloë Moretz spent a big chunk of the year here. If she and Guillermo del Toro keep coming back, maybe we can get them together on something boffo down the road.

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