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‘Man From Toronto’ review: Hart, Harrelson in Netflix dud

The boring sidekick action film The Man From Toronto introduces a total loser in Teddy Jackson (Kevin Hart). He’s a recognizable Hart character: a quick talker with big promises — he offers self-help gym gear in his cheesy YouTube videos — that never delivers. He is both the film’s “hero” and its jerk. A man so aimless that locals of Yorktown, Virginia use his name as a verb: “Teddyed” (screwed up).

“The Man from Toronto” is teddy in the truest sense of the word.

Director Patrick Hughes’ film should be avoided at all costs. Hart and Jason Statham were originally slated to star, but Woody Harrelson stepped in when the latter dropped out due to creative differences. The pandemic caused further delays in the early days of 2020. Upon completion, Sony sold the film to Netflix, where it was summarily discontinued more than two years later. Time has done little to smooth out the cheap cracks and painted over cracks in Robbie Fox and Chris Bremner’s underfed screenplay.

Fidgeting comes naturally to Teddy. He loses his job printing sales materials for a local boxing studio after forgetting to include an address and phone number on the flyers. His idea for a training program all about non-contact boxing found only a few takers. In a quest for romance, he takes his beleaguered wife, Lori (Jasmine Mathews), to a rented cabin in Onancock, Virginia to celebrate her birthday (it’s unclear which Teddy finds more important). . But Teddy can’t even get that right: by forgetting to put toner in his printer, the booth’s address isn’t clear. After dropping Lori off at the spa, he arrives at the wrong place and is mistaken by a couple of idiots for the Toronto titular, a legendary hitman and interrogator.

Harrelson plays the real-life assassin whose origin story is set in his childhood witnessing his grandfather’s bear fillet in the cold Canadian wilderness. It’s a crude parody of a tragic Man in Black, and Harrelson doesn’t seem to know whether to play him comedic or menacing. This assassin’s henchman, portrayed by Ellen Barkin, sent him to Virginia to obtain confidential government information for former Venezuelan Colonel Sebastian Marin. An unsuspecting Teddy accepts the contract, is recruited by the FBI to foil Marin’s plan, and is unceremoniously kidnapped by the hitman so they can do the job together. The intricate plot somehow makes even less sense when you watch the movie.

Kevin Hart and Ellen Barkin in The Toronto Man

Kevin Hart and Ellen Barkin in The Toronto Man.

(Sabrina Lantos/Netflix)

The Man From Toronto plays like the walking corpse of better, far more entertaining movies. A mid-air battle in an Air Force One-style aircraft as Harrelson weapons a payload door – complete with visual effects less impressive than in Harrison Ford’s 25-year-old vehicle Drains like a tube of toothpaste in the sink.

When the killer’s handler “The Man From Miami” (Pierson Fode) sends a younger, faster killer to clean up the tracks, a fight ensues that almost copies “Rush Hour” shot for shot, but without the physical severity by Jackie Chan , the comedic aplomb of Chris Tucker or the chemistry these actors share. At every turn, Hughes borrows blueprints from hit films only to color over them with crayons.

Harrelson and Hart also share an odd relationship. Scenes with a physically tortured-looking Harrelson opposite Hart barking at the high number of bodies – in the bloodiest action movie in a while – die from the fright. The film’s bland and colorless imagery is equally depressing, including cinematographer Rob Hardy’s underlit compositions (really shocking of the man who shot “Annihilation”) and incomprehensible editing by Craig Alpert. Teenage jokes include pratfalls, gender neutrality, vomit, and dated stereotypes of Latino lovers, while Teddy’s wife never progresses beyond a gullible punch line for her husband’s ignorance.

Still, it could all be a little palatable if the fight scenes provided at least some enjoyment. But the choreography lacks momentum and the sound is zero punch. The final freakout, a full-scale brawl in a boxing gym, relies on disgusting handhelds and lengthy shots that have the visceral flair of a video game screencap.

One question stands out: Shall we cheer for Teddy? As an extremely unsympathetic person, he must learn to intimidate people just like his best friend. He must, in the words of this killer, “stop being a wimp”. But this movie doesn’t give anyone or anything reason to cheer (except maybe the end credits, which oddly rip off “Dodgeball”). When it’s over, don’t just hope that Teddy’s wife will run far, far away from him — you’ll hope to follow her wherever that dried shell of a movie doesn’t exist.

“The Man From Toronto”

Valuation: PG-13, for consistent violence, some strong language, and salacious material

Duration: 1 hour 52 minutes

To play: On Netflix on June 24th

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2022-06-23/man-from-toronto-netflix-review-hart-harrelson ‘Man From Toronto’ review: Hart, Harrelson in Netflix dud

Sarah Ridley

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