Review: Netflix’s The Man from Toronto features precious little Toronto, but the value of an entire city stupid

Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson in The Man from Toronto.Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

The man from Toronto

Classification: PG; 110 minutes

Directed by Patrick Hughes

Written by Robbie Fox and Chris Bremner

With Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson and Ellen Barkin

Streaming on Netflix from June 24th

It’s easier to discuss the new Netflix movie The man from Toronto by first describing what it is not. As in: It’s not a remake of the forgotten 1933 British romantic comedy aka The man from Toronto, which follows the opposite-attraction link of an English and a Canadian. The new movie isn’t a Netflix movie, not really – it was produced by Sony Pictures with the intention of hitting theaters, until the studio sold the title to the streaming giant instead of rolling the dice with a pandemic alert. audience. But most importantly, 2022′s The man from Toronto doesn’t have that much Toronto. Not on purpose anyway.

The Man from Toronto features Tomohisa Yamashita and Kevin Hart at his most Hart-iest, playing a fast-talking beta type named Teddy.Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

A mind-bogglingly dull action comedy devoid of both suspense and humor, The man from Toronto Kevin Hart at his Hartiest, playing a fast-talking beta type named Teddy, who fails at both his “contactless boxing gym” business and his marriage. While planning a romantic weekend getaway, Teddy accidentally arrives at the wrong cabin and is mistaken for “The Man from Toronto,” the code name for a mysterious, highly skilled hit man, feared the world over. To happily cut a very long and tedious set-up, Teddy must now impersonate TMFT at the behest of the FBI, a plan that will put him right in the hands of the real, natural Canadian-born killer (played by Woody Harrelson). leads. Supposedly entertaining and violent high jinks supposedly follow, but never really arrive.

And that CanCon bait? There is one short stock shot of the Toronto skyline during a scene where TMFT goes to its secret home base. But otherwise the city is just a rhetorical joke, with much of the story set in Washington, Virginia and Miami. Except, in a perverse twist of the fate of location scouting, Toronto itself is used to doubling as all those locations, thanks to the city proving to be a more production-friendly center during the height of the pandemic, when filming began. To summarize: this is a film about a man from Toronto, which is not set in Toronto, but was shot entirely in Toronto.

But it’s okay, really: this backwardly stupid concept is completely in line with the movie’s ultimate ambitions, or lack thereof.

There is one short stock shot of the Toronto skyline during a scene where TMFT goes to its secret home base. But otherwise the city is just a rhetorical joke.Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

As directed/hacked by Patrick Hughes, the film represents the nadir of the once-trustworthy buddy/action comedy genre, whose descent into the eighth tier of Hollywood Hell was started by Hughes’s own viciously awful filmography: The Expendables 3The Hitman’s Bodyguardand the odious from last year The wife of the Hitman’s bodyguard† Hughes’ work has an artless, brain-dead work that is a horrific wonder to behold. The humor is tasteless. The fights are sloppy if they aren’t incoherent. And the characters are thinly conceived annoyances created with Mad Lib-sponsored Final Draft malware. You sympathize with Harrelson, who intervened at the last minute after Jason Statham pulled out, perhaps realizing that he never tried to speak with an accent other than his own…or maybe just looked at the script.

If there’s one trademark of Cinema de Hughes, it’s the recurring shtick of characters who are unexpectedly mowed down by speeding vehicles and emerge unharmed – a joke used here with soul-numbing effect.

There may be some excited chatter about it The man from Toronto‘s late film set piece, an extended “one-shot” brawl between Harrelson and a roster of anonymous rivals. But Hughes completely misunderstands the supposed power of the overloaded camera trick, decoupling any potential tension from any emotional or basic narrative stakes. Really, it’s the follow-up to that scene, a no-nonsense showdown set in a building called “Hughes Food Processing,” which reveals the filmmaker’s guiding philosophy: grind them, cheaply, and quickly.

Welcome to Hogtown, folks.

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