Netflix’s The Man from Toronto is an action comedy flick that revolves around a case of mistaken identity. When a smalltime fitness sales executive (Kevin Hart) gets mistaken for the titular international criminal, his life flips upside down. However, the situation gets worse when the real Man from Toronto (Woody Harrelson) seeks him out.
Kevin Hart plays Teddy Jackson who is a loveable screw up and works as a sales guy for Marty’s gym. He uploads videos online promoting outlandish fitness ideas which are borderline dangerous.
On his wife Lori’s (Jasmine Mathews) birthday, he books a cabin in Onancock, Virginia for a romantic getaway but before that, goes to talk Marty about his brilliant business idea — no contact boxing.
The gym owner is bewildered at the concept and chastises Teddy about the flyers he made as they don’t have the gym’s address or phone number on them. To make Teddy’s day worse, he fires him.
Elsewhere, we are introduced to the Man from Toronto (Harrelson), a dangerous criminal who specialises in torture. He gets a call from his handler who assigns him a two phase information extraction job worth a million dollars each, also in Onancock.
Teddy comes back home but doesn’t tell Lori that he’s out of a job and the two prepare to leave. The couple arrives at the destination and Teddy leaves Lori in a day spa for two hours. He then goes to check out the cabin to make sure it is perfect before the wife arrives.
Unfortunately, due to the reservation page being blurry, Teddy drives towards the wrong cabin which turns out to be the one where Toronto is supposed to carry out the extraction. The person who greets Teddy mistakes him for the criminal and clicks his picture to send to his superior.
From the begins a crazy ride furled by mistaken identity which sees Toronto collaborate with Teddy to get to the bottom of an international conspiracy involving a Venezuelan colonel.
Kevin Hart does the usual Kevin Hart thing and plays the loud, eccentric and scared character. He is fun to watch but the script doesn’t allow him to be at his comedy best. Moreover, it is the same mannerisms we’ve seen him adopt in multiple movies like ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Central Intelligence’ to name a few.
Woody Harrelson is quite a surprise as Toronto. His character’s ruthless yet passionate personality is reminiscent of his role in the ‘Zombieland’ series but in this film he takes it up a notch by matching Hart in the banter. The script even gives Toronto a little back story to clarify his motivations which helps in understanding his persona.
The supporting cast hasn’t got a lot to do except be there for a couple of scenes to aid the leading pair’s story. Jasmine Mathews, Kaley Cuoco, Pierson Code and Ellen Barkin, among others do the best they can with what they’re given.
Being a buddy actioner, The Man from Toronto excels in that department. The chemistry between Hart and Harrelson is brilliant, which is a surprise considering their individual performances aren’t quite similar to what they’ve done before.
Furthermore, the film sticks to its narrative guns and doesn’t try to overdeliver. It has a snappy flow to it and finishes in under 2 hours which is perfect to wrap up the story it intends tell. Some of the action set pieces are exhilarating.
A particular oner towards the end in Marty’s gym is especially entertaining to watch with Wolfmother’s ‘Joker and the Thief’ playing in the background.
The cinematography is quite sublime. Outdoor landscape shots and fast paced action sequences, both are shot very well.
Predictability and clichés are the film’s biggest enemies. The plot is extremely bland and doesn’t surprise you at any moment. You can probably foretell the entire film before it even ends.
Furthermore, it is riddled with action-comedy tropes. The funny screw up trying to make life better, trying to save a nearly crumbled marriage, the ruthless criminal who wants to change, world ending conspiracy involving the FBI, a global assassin agency, the bad guy finding a conscience to save his new partner and so many more.
It feels like the makers tried to tick every box when it came to clichés and as a result, The Man from Toronto feels like a lot of films you’ve seen multiple times before.
It is a shame that the writing does not live up to the expectations as the Hart and Harrelson pairing showed a lot of promise.
Netflix comes out with yet another subpar film that will be forgotten about very soon. You can watch it for the Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson pairing — which is a pleasant surprise — or if you’d like a no brainer action-comedy experience. However, you won’t exit your Netflix app feeling too thrilled.