Reel Toronto: Repo Men
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Reel Toronto: Repo Men

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.
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Behold, Toronto of the future!!
Repo Men comes from a great tradition of Toronto filmmaking: noble failures. It’s too big and ballsy to be considered a crappy B-movie and yet, it went nowhere. It stars two fine actors, Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, but changed names (it was originally called Repossession Mambo) and sat on the shelf for a while before being summarily dumped at the box office.
There was also a bit of a problem in that some people think it’s a direct rip-off of Repo! The Genetic Opera, despite being based on a novel, which could still be based on that same source. Oh, and then the new title made it sound like an ersatz sequel to the cult classic, Repo Man, so that didn’t help either.
Most importantly, it’s set in the future and, depending where you look on the net, it’s either set in some generic USA-burg or (ta da!) Toronto. That’s right, folks, this just might be our own Blade Runner!


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First, let’s take care of the setting issue. No other city is named as the location and when we see Lower Bay Station later in the movie…
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…the subway cars not only look familiar on the inside…
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…they also have TTC logos. So, there you go, it’s clearly the Toronto of the future. With that settled, we can take a little peek into what the next few years have to offer our fair burg.
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Downtown, from above, will look like this…
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…but at street level, things look much the same on Yonge Street.
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Adam Giambrone and David Miller will be happy to know that the TTC is thriving with the subway, streetcars, and some kind of elevated monorail thing all in operation around Yonge-Dundas Square.
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The Union, where Jude Law and Forest Whitaker work, is in the Eaton Centre, naturally.
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So, shoppers can rest assured that Melanie Lyne…
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…and Esprit are still around…
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…and Heather Reisman’s domination of the book market continues unabated.
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There’s no talk in the movie of what the commute of the future is like, but Law lives in Markham, on Harper Hill Road.
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It backs on to the lovely Angus Glen Golf Course, and they had to shut down the third hole when they filmed this backyard party.
It may prove disheartening to current residents of the Angus Glen neighbourhood that they were selected by the crew because it was “a suburban neighbourhood that reminded us of the cookie-cutter homes in Edward Scissorhands.” Ouch.
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The bad news? The Gardiner is still standing. The good news? So is the ACC. The bad news? Jarvis Avenue has been renamed Jarvik Street, presumably after the alien overlord, Jarvik, who, around 2020, finally puts an end to a long string of minority governments at the federal level and expands the visibility of “fringe” candidates at the municipal level. All hail Jarvik!
(Despite Jarvik’s edicts, no playoff games have been played in the ACC since 2007.)
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This one was driving us crazy for a little bit, but Jude Law likes hanging out at a bar called Montego Bay, which is on Housey Street, right across from the Amsterdam Brewery.
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When Jude Law ends up in the hospital, it’s at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.
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He tries to escape, crossing the hospital’s landmark bridge across Davis Drive.
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This being a big budget sci-fi flick, you’ve gots to have chases! Jude Law and his special lady friend tool out of a Green P garage and while they all kinda look the same, this one seems pretty big and appears to be the one under Yonge-Dundas Square.
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They shack up at the North American Motel, formerly of Lakeshore Drive, both before…
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…and after the condo developers swept in.
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In one of the more Blade Runner–esque locations, they turned Yonge, north of Dundas, into this more futuristic version of Chinatown.
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They even got to shoot at Pearson Airport’s shiny, new Terminal 1 (between aisles P and Q, if you’re really curious).
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Oh, and outside the terminal, too.
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If you’re setting your movie in the future, you need some post-apocalyptic landscapes, right? Enter Hamilton!
Poor, poor Repo Men. It’s got a silly, confusing name, it’s probably plagiarized, and it did about zippo at the box office. Still, City Hall should probably be putting it in all our mailboxes, just so we know what’s coming…

CORRECTION: AUGUST 3, 2010 This article originally incorrectly pinpointed two locations. The first was the Gardiner Expressway exit sign for “Jarvik,” which usually reads—perhaps unsurprisingly—Jarvis, and not Spadina; the other is this stretch of the film’s Chinatown, which was identified as Dundas between Spadina and Beverley, but is in fact Yonge north of Dundas. (The film does feature scenes shot along Dundas between Spadina and Beverley, however.) Thanks to readers Ryan Coleman and Jonathan Goldsbie for catching the mistakes.

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