Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Premise: An aimless man (Kevin Hart) is misidentified as an infamous assassin (Woody Harrelson). The two men form an uneasy alliance to solve a mystery and prevent a superweapon from falling into the wrong hands.
What Works: Kevin Hart has made a career of playing underachieving beta male characters and he has a knack for awkward comedy. The Man from Toronto capitalizes on Hart’s strengths and he is clearly doing what he can to make this film work. Hart can’t save the movie but it is a valiant attempt.
What Doesn’t: The Man from Toronto repeats a familiar comic formula: the odd couple action film. Kevin Hart had done this formula previously and successfully with Dwayne Johnson in Central Intelligence but The Man from Toronto fails in virtually every way. This film pairs Kevin Hart with Woody Harrelson. They are both reliable comic actors but Hart and Harrelson don’t work together very well. Odd couple movies need the central characters to have a fundamentally agreeable friendship. Much like a love story, we have to want these guys to be friends in the end. That doesn’t happen in The Man from Toronto. Hart and Harrelson’s shared scenes, which constitute most of the movie, are comically inert. Part of the problem is that Harrelson has nothing to do. His character doesn’t have any distinguishing traits. He’s just a stock movie hitman. Like the comedy, the action set pieces are uninteresting. There’s no style and the movie is full of stunts that we’ve seen before and done better in other movies. There is one impressive action sequence in the climax but it’s so stylistically different from the rest of the movie that it feels out of place. The story of The Man from Toronto makes no sense. It’s very badly structured. In stories of this kind, the two protagonists work together out of necessity. There’s no reason for Hart and Harrelson’s characters to get together. Hart’s character has been mistaken for someone else and he just wants to go home and Harrelson’s character has nothing tangible at stake. The film forces them into a series of misadventures and brings matters to a climax only to add an additional anticlimactic adventure onto the ending. It’s a movie that just keeps going without heading anywhere. That might work if The Man from Toronto were funny or exciting but this film is neither.
DVD extras: Available on Netflix.
Bottom Line: Netflix has made a habit of acquiring and producing bad movie star vehicles such as Red Notice and Spiderhead. The Man from Toronto is yet another Netflix title that in an earlier decade might have gone directly to DVD. This movie possesses nothing to recommend it.
Episode: #910 (July 17, 2022)