Reel Toronto: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
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Reel Toronto: Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Because everyone needs a break now and then, Reel Toronto is going on temporary hiatus. Here is one of our favourite installments, which originally ran on October 21, 2008.

Many thought Royson James finally went too far in his attacks on Toronto's council...

Last time out we went for zombie movies and, what with Halloween looming, it only made sense to keep up the theme for the time being. Combine zombies with one of the surest bets for a solid movie—a video game as source material—and you can’t help but end up with a classic like [amazon asin=0767834739&text=Resident Evil].

Another beautiful day in fair Raccoon City.

Never before have we seen a film that so gleefully revels in its Toronto-ness without actually taking place in Toronto. They get away with it primarily because the setting is not some other real city, but rather the fictional Raccoon City, which, come to think of it, is not so far-fetched as an alternate name for the 416.
Since there is so much evidence that Toronto loves zombies, it seems rather perfect, actually.

Suburban hell.

The flick starts off with an actiony teaser, leading into a careful roundup of people before the big zombie invasion. The Men-in-Black SUVs hit the suburbs first, including this generic Brampton neighbourhood. Based on its appearance in an identical context in Dawn of the Dead, we’re left to conclude that when the End of Days comes it will certainly start in Brampton.

Never believe the captions.

They also pick up a girl at a school, which is actually Central Tech.

Prince Edward could hardly be prouder than this very moment in cinematic history.

Yep, they cross this bridge, the main entrance to downtown, and even if you just rolled off the turnip truck you know it’s the Prince Edward Viaduct.

Remember when you couldn't get to the Danforth for a whole weekend because they were filming a shitty movie? Yeah, that was great.

We get to see it in a more dramatic context later in the film, when residents try to flee and get past a checkpoint on the bridge.

We hear you can buy the domed stadium in Raccoon City for a song.

Rather than Bloor Street, it seems to lead to the Gardiner Expressway….

Despite the economic turmoil, Scotiabank's Raccoon City expansion plans were unaffected.

…and then they get in a big old crash, apparently on Duncan Street, where you get to see the Queen West Scotiabank and the CN Tower. And this is all in the first five minutes!!

It would be easy to make jokes about the horrors of Hamilton, so we won't.

Hogtown doesn’t get all the zombie glory. No, Hamilton gets in a few digs too. This cemetery, for example, is there.

More proof that downtown Hamilton needs some revitalization.

So, too, is this big shootout, complete with its very visible Pizza Pizza. The scene was shot downtown, at King and John streets.

Scary hallways: don't make your zombie movie without 'em.

When our heroes return to the high school from the beginning, the interiors are from there as well as Bloor Collegiate and Northern Secondary.

Some of the hero dudes head into the atrium of the CBC building to pick up a weapons cache.

No word on how the Nathan Philips redesign will pay tribute to the epic confrontation staged here.

The finale, of course, is where you get an OD of Torontonia, with a finale scene at Nathan Philips Square. Much of the action takes place here, on the rarely seen City Hall podium, albeit with a few additions.

This is precisely why they closed the City Hall observation deck. Too much base jumping and vertical running.

This gal even runs down the side of the west tower, and she (well, a stunt person) really did it. No CGI here.

Stephen Harper's dream?

At the end of the flick they nuke the whole darned city, starting with City Hall. Yup, just another day in the life of our city: do whatever you want to our city, just come here and film, film, film.

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.