Reel Toronto: Marky Mark in Max Payne
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Reel Toronto: Marky Mark in Max Payne

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.

“What are you lookin’ at? I’m doin’ some work. Get lost! And, hey, say hi to your mother for me.”

We got all fired up last week when we started working on Four Brothers and found Mark Wahlberg is the king of Toronto action films. We figured we’d try to dig up a couple more in celebration of what we’ve dubbed “Marky Mark Movie Month.” It didn’t take us long to find the New York–set, recently-released Max Payne was a natural choice for where to go next.

It should be established now that it is impossible to make a good movie based on a video game, but still they try. Max Payne is a big, stupid, stylish action movie that kinda sorta functions on its own level. If you like Toronto-spotting, however, you have a lot more to chew on.

Feelin’ some good vibrations from the King streetcar.

The city shut down a big part of the financial district last March, picking up shots like this one. The pilot for Fringe was shot at the same time, causing a bit of a mess.

We know New York has crime, but that’s a biiiig police station….

This is a nice bit of set dressing, ain’t it? It’s the facade of CIBC’s Commerce Court, dressed up as an NYPD police station.


You can see more of the non-existent 55th Precinct as the shot pans down to street level.

Mies and Marky Mark, together at last.

Not out to shill for just one of our great banks, they also used the base of the nearby TD towers here.

One of our cooler buildings, with or without a fake penthouse.

The headquarters of the potentially evil Aesir corporation is actually a CGI-modified 1 King West, as you can see here….
…and here. It’s not another battle between David Mirvish and Harry Stinson. Just some Hollywood trickery when it gets blowed up real good later.

TTC vehicles and CN Tower shots are some of our favourite giveaways.

We’ll be gosh darned, but ain’t that a TTC streetcar out the window of their lobby?

We have a square with bright lights and ads! We’re world class! Love us!

Those are some purty whilybird shots above, but how about this one of Dundas Square, the square that wishes it was Times Square pretending to actually be Times Square?

From Keanu Reeves to Mark Wahlberg, Lower Bay is like the underground version of Stratford.

You know this one without even being told, right? It’s that old standby, Lower Bay Station. Thanks to TTC construction and Doors Open it’s become a bit less legendary than it used to be, but it’s still nice to see.

Just imagine the musical synchronicity if these two got together! Okay, maybe not…

Also nice, if peculiar, to see, is singer Nelly Furtado doing a bit of an acting turn.

Somebody’s crusin’ for a bruisin’…but I’m cruisin’ for a double double and, um, a maple dip, please.

Even nicer to see are the little things—such as this reflection in Marky’s window. We have no idea which Timmies this is, but don’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Oddly, NYPD police cars with sirens blazing aren’t that rare in Toronto.

These police cars are tearing down Yonge Street, en route to King, as you can see here.
Hamilton also got a good amount of the Payne shoot. Marky must have liked it after doing Four Brothers there. As you can see here, they had quite the run of downtown Steeltown.

Could be Hamilton, could be Toronto, but it’s definitely somewhere you go for a nice stroll.

This is the kind of movie with a lot of alley shots, and it’s a bit hard to tell them apart. We do know they shot in this one, here, also on James Street, so we’re throwing out this scene as a possibility. Alley denizens and experts are free to contest this.

Mac students beware: there are no guarantees the filtration system has removed all signs of Marky Markdom.

Here, he isn’t just swimming away from bullets in any ol’ water, but rather the pool at McMaster University.

Oddly, the Lakeview doesn’t have any view of the lake…

When Marky Mark gets hungry he chows down with the apparently-friendly-but-possibly-evil Beau Bridges at Reel Toronto’s most popular eatery, the Lakeview Lunch. First entering…
…then plopping down in a booth.

We love Union, but Grand Central it ain’t.

When Marky goes investigating he finds himself at a creepily empty Union Station…
…and at a storage depot, apparently under the Gardiner Expressway.
The world of YouTube also provides chances here and here to see the shoot in action, as do blogs like this one. Everyone wants a piece of Marky Mark!