‘The Man from Toronto’ review: Netflix movie squanders Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart’s talents
You can’t feel disappointed with “The Man From Toronto” any more than you should be disappointed when you take a leftover slice of pizza out of the microwave and it turns out bland, mushy, and OK at best. I mean, before you even dive in, you can tell it’s not going to be great, right?
Still, there’s something almost depressing about sitting through this slick, formulaic, unoriginal, and still dumb Netflix thriller from director Patrick Hughes, which follows the same cynical playbook he created with “The Expendables.” 3″ (2014) “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2017) and “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” (2021) i.e. you put a bunch of big name stars in a ridiculous action story without more than connection to the real world than an “Avengers” movie, and everyone can joke around between shootouts and explosions, all choreographed to a fast-paced edit and synthetic soundtrack.
The shame is in the waste of a terrific cast. It’s the kind of movie in which Kevin Hart plays the underdog dreamer who keeps disappointing his wife with his career failures. It’s the kind of movie in which Woody Harrelson is the main character, a legendary assassin who has a muscle car he treats like a girlfriend, with the name “Deborah.” It’s the kind of movie that literally keeps the great Ellen Barkin in the shadows as a criminal mastermind, and relegates the wonderful Kaley Cuoco to an embarrassing supporting role as the man-hungry best girlfriend who would have just as much well could have come out of a corny 1970s rom-com. Does anyone even try here?
“The Man from Toronto”
Hart’s Teddy, who keeps screwing up at the gym where he works with his terrible promotional ideas, tries to smooth things over with his long-suffering wife Lori (Jasmine Mathews) by arranging a romantic getaway at an Airbnb in the country – but due to a “low toner situation” with his receipt, Teddy gets the wrong address and ends up in a safe house where bad guys are waiting for a hitman known as The Man from Toronto to torture and extract information from a prisoner.
Meanwhile, the real man from Toronto (Harrelson) is on his way to the scene – but before he gets there, the FBI burst in and they tell Teddy that the only way to find the real man from Toronto “is if you continue to BE the man from Toronto. That’s right, they convince this regular schmo to pose as a mercenary, which ultimately leads to Teddy reluctantly teaming up with The Man from Toronto for an Action Buddy comedy that has them facing all sorts of threats, crashing a plane, getting shot, killing a bunch of henchmen and, yeah, kind of becoming unlikely friends – although the man from Toronto is, well, a cold killer “People can change!” said Teddy.
Maybe. But this movie sticks to its guns from start to finish, leaving plenty of forgettable wreckage in its wake.