The Man from Toronto Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
A screw-up sales consultant walks into the wrong cabin & is mistaken for an assassin. No, this is no start to a joke but the premise of Netflix’s newest movie. Is this yet another debacle, or is the streaming service finally turning it around?
Genre: Action / Comedy / Thriller
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Jasmine Mathews, Kaley Cuoco, Pierson Fode, Jencarlos Canela,
Kate Drummond, Oleg Taktarov & Ellen Barkin.
Run Time: 110 min.
US Release: 24 June 2022 (Netflix)
UK Release: 24 June 2022 (Netflix)
German Release: 24 June 2022 (Netflix)
With early drama before production, this action-comedy didn’t start on sound footing. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and finally, Sony Pictures signed off the rights for distribution to Netflix, which is a bad omen nowadays. So, I decided to watch this Kevin Hart flick, back-to-back with Blasted during my flight to Spain, so as to not waste valuable time. Thank god I did so because this is bad! I needed to pause several times during the flight, to catch my breath, slapping my cheeks, just to confirm that what I was witnessing was real.
So, let’s get into my review for The Man from Toronto… A case of mistaken identity arises when the world’s biggest screw-up is mistaken for the world’s deadliest assassin, only known as the “Man from Toronto”, all while trying to find the Airbnb rental he booked for his wife's birthday. Directed by Patrick Hughes, who also filmed The Hitman’s Bodyguard as well as its sequel, this feature feels tonally like a cheap knock-off of those action comedies, mixed with a little Date Night. The story itself would have served better as a lean action-thriller, with a harder rating and more blood! Sadly, we obtained a foreseeably bland narrative, with a lot of talk about torture but never does the audience gets to see real violence. It contains no suspense, nor real thrills, making this a dud of an action picture.
The comedic element isn’t much better, however, as the humour is written horribly! With worn-out gags that have terrible timing, this feels less natural yet more like forced slap-stick. The jokes don’t land and the few chuckles forced out of the audience are because it is unexpectedly embarrassing. The script is paper-thin written, has no depth and frankly no reason to ever have been developed into a motion picture!
None of the main characters are relatable, or even that likeable for that matter. Teddy is an incompetent wuss, who just stumbles from dilemma to dilemma in life, lying to his wife. Toronto, on the other hand, is a clear psychopath.
Kevin Hart as Teddy plays the same role he always plays; that of a little man with a big mouth, and self-esteem issues. The role is written weak, with Hart quickly becoming very annoying! Teddy, trying to impersonate Toronto, is obviously not selling it, yet the narrative is trying to convince the audience that the bad guys are buying his imitation. Even worse, the character never has an arc in which to grow. At the end of the movie, he is exactly back at square one, where he was introduced to the viewers.
Woody Harrelson, one of my all-time favourite actors, portrays the title character: The Man from Tronto, a professional hitman. Harrelson tries to add some quality to the overall story by re-enacting a darker version of his Zombieland persona “Tallahassee”, but even he can’t save the film, as the direction robs him of any dynamic he can add to the story. It is also worth noting that Harrelson replaced Jason Statham, who left production six weeks before shooting, exactly due to this reason.
The dysfunctionality between Teddy and Toronto is the front centre of the plot. The few scenes where they are on screen together, serve for some good buddy-building moments. It is simply adorable seeing both goofing off on screen.
Jasmine Mathews as Teddy’s wife Lori is used rather as a plot device than being fleshed out as a person. Nevertheless, out of all characters, she is the most likeable, even if you start doubting her credibility for having married Teddy.
The cinematography is for the most part bog standard, except for a few creative fighting sequences halfway through the runtime, and a very special brawl at the end of the third act. That last action segment between Teddy, Toronto and some villains, is edited to look like a one-shot: much like the church scene in Kingsman. Apart from those two scenes, though, the action is very PG friendly, cutting away during moments that imply harsher violence.
The special effects are among the worst I have seen in a flick. The scenery, be it overlooking a city skyline or a suburb, screams green-screen fake. The worst, though, was during an over-the-top action segment involving a plane. The CGI looked at times worse than most visual effects in a Z-Movie! This is simply inexcusable!
Verdict: The Man from Toronto has no substance, barely even a plot, becoming quickly tiring and forgettable. The jokes don’t land, the suspense is missing and Kevin Hart is doing what he always does; yapping around nonsensical sentences, due to self-doubts about his shortness. Finally, the computer, as well as the visual effects are disgraceful! It does have some light entertainment though! Woody Harrelson is a delight to watch, even if he is brooding away along most of the run-time. The final fight contains some great editing, while the embarrassingly bad comedic timing does make one chuckle. This is exactly that type of flick, which bores audiences to the point of losing concentration, who then start doing something else, while the film is running in the background. This dumpster fire obtains a 4.0 out of 10.
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