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.
Looking back, it’s hard to imagine there was a time when Steven Seagal ruled the box office. Come to think of it, it was a bit baffling then too. The man’s Wikipedia page makes him look like something of a Renaissance man (a singer-songwriter, no less!), but before he got all puffy and lame, the black belt “actor” was king. A man for his age. A man big on movie titles with three words.
But enough about Seagal the man. Can you believe he and his peeps thought they could film this boilerplate shit in Toronto, pretend it was Detroit, and no one would notice? Come on!
Exit Wounds is bad, and it was shot here. That’s all you really need to know. Not since Short Circuit 2 have we seen such a bad, poorly executed movie or had as much fun grabbing screencaps galore. We’d call these “mistakes,” but that implies someone was trying to do something right in the first place. Doubtful. Otherwise-talented folks like Jill Hennessy and rapper DMX demean themselves here, and you almost pity them.
Just look at this travesty of an opening credits sequence! The vice-president is speaking somewhere in Detroit, which happens to be right outside Metro Hall.
They even have the temerity to put Roy Thomson Hall right out in the open. Oddly, this prominent display was not cited in the obituaries of recently deceased architect Arthur Erickson.
You can also see the exterior of the CBC building in this sequence, but that’s not as disturbing as the notion that Mother Corp allowed the crew to film a big shootout in the atrium, as you can see here and in the first shot up above.
You’ve got a cop movie? Well, then you need a police station! Serving as the exterior is the HQ of the Ontario Heritage Trust, on Adelaide Street.
Here is a galling scene where Isaiah Washington muses on how the neighbourhood has gone to seed. And what is the background for this depiction of a neighbourhood so bad that even Detroit cops are down on it? Why it’s Yonge Street, north of College! Just look at that dilapidated YMCA! Oh, sure it’s actually the quite lovely Metro Central location on Grosvenor, but when you’re in the scene you really feel the decrepitude, eh.
We could let that slide, but what the whosis? A pixel board ad for the SkyDome?! In Detroit?!!
When you go to a Seagal film you don’t just want action. No, you want comedy, right?! Well, here’s some for you: it’s Seagal, kicked down to traffic cop duty, directing gridlock on Front Street. You can spend all day spotting landmarks, such as the Flatiron Building…
…and even the Church and Front Second Cup.
They also shot this scene in the Flatiron’s pub, which is today called the Down One lounge.
If you’re a down ‘n’ out cop you just have to live in a boathouse, don’t you? Well, here’s Stevie’s, near Cherry Street and Villiers. And, HEY, ain’t that the bottom of the CN Tower across the water? Tsk, tsk!
Seagal also rocks the nightclub scene, kicking ass at Tonic.
Of course, this being an R-rated movie, you need to a hit a peeler, and since this is the best screeencap we could post, you’ll have to take our word that this is Zanzibar.
The poster of this YouTube clip is only too happy to describe this as “one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.” It’s up to you if you want to suffer through three minutes and fifty-five seconds to see a couple of losers tooling down Queen Street, right in front of City Hall.
The car dealership is actually 740 Dupont, better known as Grand Touring Autos.
Early on in the flick is a big action sequence on this bridge, which had us scratching our chins. Where in fair Toronto could it be? Or could it actually be in Detroit? Then we saw the shot below.
Charles, what now! That ain’t the CN Tower! And it ain’t Motown! Nope, that’s the Calgary Tower. Hey, do you know what building in Detroit looks a bit like the Calgary Tower? If you guessed “no building ever conceived devised, planned, contemplated, or built,” you are correct!
That’s right. They flew all the way out to Alberta to stage this shoot-em-up on the Centre Street Bridge.
There’s also a couple of big chase scenes. This one zips around Toronto, blasting by the Scotiabank Paramount Festival Hall thingie…
… and the CityTV building.
This chase, during the finale, is so big that Toronto couldn’t contain it. It starts out in the Charles Street Green P (you can see the Comfort Hotel sign across the street here)…
…and explodes out onto King Street. But not our King Street; it’s the one in Hamilton which has Detroit food faves like Pizza Pizza…
…and Tim Horton’s.
But the post-chase blab takes place back here, outside the Oriental Gourmet House on Temperance Street.
The final, pointless scene here was shot at the Orde Street Public School. If you’re an alumnus, how proud you must be: Steven Segal AND Tom Arnold!!
That’s all we have to say on the matter, but if you really can’t get enough of this crap, you might enjoy reading the production notes, which treat this thing like a real movie. Did you know it’s based on a novel? Do you want to hear producer Dan Cracchiolo describing the material as akin to “edgy, gritty, cop pictures like Dirty Harry and Serpico, those great ’70 movies that were for our generation what Westerns were to earlier generations”?
Yeesh. Get us some of whatever he’s been drinking.