The Man From Toronto Review

Plot: A case of mistaken identity arises after a screw-up sales consultant and the world’s deadliest assassin—known only as The Man from Toronto—run into each other at a holiday rental.

Review: Kevin Hart has found a successful formula with his projects regardless of genre, but it all depends on his co-star. Hart has shown amazing chemistry with Dwayne Johnson which has made all of their movies far more enjoyable than they would have been with a less charismatic actor. For his latest action-comedy, The Man From Toronto, Kevin Hart partners with Woody Harrelson as a mismatched pair caught in a web of murder for hire. While Harrelson is not the first actor you would have expected for a project like this, he and Hart play well off of each other and save what would have otherwise been a very mediocre movie. Chock full of action violence and some funny moments, The Man From Toronto has some bright spots but overall doesn’t bring that much that we haven’t seen before.

The Man From Toronto uses a standard plot device of mistaken identity that puts perennial loser Teddy Jackson (Kevin Hart) in the path of Woody Harrelson’s legendary assassin. Hart portrays Teddy as a man full of terrible ideas struggling to make ends meet and support his wife. With debt and tax liens against him, Teddy’s latest business idea for non-contact boxing fails but he still manages to take his wife on a birthday getaway where he is mistaken for The Man From Toronto. When the FBI swoops in, Teddy is forced to pretend to be The Man to prevent a terrorist attack on US soil. As he bumbles his way through, the real Man From Toronto arrives and reluctantly teams up with Teddy to complete the mission.

Running at just about two hours, The Man From Toronto relies very heavily on Kevin Hart’s trademark style which utilizes a lot of shouting and self-deprecating humor. Woody Harrelson, for his part, does a good job of playing the hardened killer who is equal parts John Wick and The Transporter. With his shaved head and mysterious backstory, The Man From Toronto features an interesting mythology that is enhanced by the various other killers from their own cities who pop up through the film. Ellen Barkin is also very cool as The Man’s Handler. Aside from an insubstantial supporting role from Kaley Cuoco, Hary and Harrelson are the biggest names in the film and are on screen so much that there isn’t much room to develop anyone else.

Originally set to feature Jason Statham in the titular role, The Man From Toronto transitioned from a theatrical release through Sony to the current Netflix rollout. Watching the movie, it is easy to spot where this film could have gone with an R-rating rather than PG-13 had Statham gotten his way. The movie still pushes the envelope of the rating with some pretty gnarly kills and as much profanity as you can cram in without uttering more than one f-bomb. There are some substantial explosions and, for the most part, the movie looks big-screen worthy despite some very obvious uses of a green screen that could have used a little more fine-tuning. It also helps that director Patrick Hughes (The Hitman’s Bodyguard) does a solid job of framing hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Written by Robbie Fox and Chris Bremner, The Man From Toronto coasts by with a story that doesn’t really bring anything new that we haven’t seen before in countless other buddy flicks. As you would expect, there is something about The Man that proves he is not just a mindless killer while Teddy has promise to be more than just a loser with a successful and stunning spouse who puts up with his schtick. The story barely clings to any logical sense as the authorities put Teddy into harm’s way time after time before the movie careens towards the final action set-piece. The closing half-hour of the film is confusingly fun as it delivers an extended sequence that is one of the better fight scenes in recent memory before abruptly shifting to an inexplicable resolution that is not explained whatsoever. This is then followed by a credit sequence that doesn’t make much sense at all.

I had a decent time with The Man From Toronto and as a Netflix original film, it is far better than most of the dreck you could choose from. Had it been a theatrical release, the movie would have needed the edge that Jason Statham could have brought. As it is, Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson have enough chemistry to make this one worth watching. Had this movie been scripted a bit better, it could have paved the way for an ongoing franchise about the title killer but ends up being a mediocre movie with some genuine laughs peppered throughout. There are several scenes that will end up as popular clips on YouTube, but that is about it. I like the action, I laughed a good amount, and I enjoyed my time with The Man From Toronto but I wish it had been just a little bit better than the forgettable movie it is.

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.