I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix exclusive movies. I love how they put out actual new releases on their service without having to pay extra to watch them. Then again, I absolutely hate how it feels like we’re getting what we pay for. What I mean is that a lot of these Netflix exclusive flicks are generally fine but forgettable at best and just utterly terrible at worst.
However, I had high hopes for The Man from Toronto as, even though it is an exclusive movie, it wasn’t produced by Netflix themselves. Instead, they bought the distribution rights from Sony. This means that The Man from Toronto was actually supposed to be this big blockbuster movie before Netflix decided to ditch those plans and make it their own.
So, how was The Man from Toronto? Was it actually a good movie? Did it deserve to not be released in movie theaters and just shuttled onto Netflix? Well, I’ll cut to the chase and say I did like it enough but I wouldn’t exactly say it needed to be released in movie theaters. If you’d like a more detailed explanation, well, I guess you have to read on!
By the way, although this has been out on Netflix for quite a while, I’m still going to be playing it safe and make this a SPOILER FREE review. I actually haven’t seen that many review for this movie so I’m not sure if people are actually eager to see it like me. So, yeah. SPOILER FREE review.
The Man from Toronto stars Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson. Harrelson plays the titular character, a master hitman, retrieval expert and torture specialist. Kevin Hart plays Terry, a down on his luck salesman who’s marriage is a bit on the rocks. Thanks to a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a group of criminals mistake Teddy to be the Man from Toronto. The real Man from Toronto then has to pair up with Teddy so he can complete the task given to him. Well, that’s the plot, anyway. However, what the movie boils down to is kind of a buddy-cop film as the mismatched duo get into various scrapes and learn to work together despite their different personalities and ideaologies.
I think the best thing I can say about the movie is I did like the overall tone. While it does have a lot of violence, both explicit and hinted at, the humor does lighten up the entire movie. I will say how funny the movie is to you is really going to depend on how much you like Kevin Hart’s brand of humor. From my point of view, he can get a little grating and pretty surreal because of how wacky he usually acts. But his style can work if you temper him with a really good straight man. Thankfully, Woody Harrelson is a fantastic straight man so things to balance out quite nicely. Not all of the jokes work but the majority of them do on some level so it’s just fine.
Speaking of which, I will say Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson manage to make Teddy and the Man from Toronto really likable in their own way. It may be nothing we haven’t seen before but they do have a certain charm, especially when they’re on screen at the same time. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the rest of the other secondary characters. They never really leave an impression, either good or bad. The only real exception may be the Man from Toronto’s handler because she’s portrayed by Ellen Barkin. You don’t really see much of her as she’s more often than not just talking to Woody Harrelson’s character on the phone. But her performance still comes true and she does manage to add sufficient personality to whatever limited screentime she has.
The action is also pretty good. No shaky camera or anything so you can follow the fights with no problem. There is one exception to this, though, and that’s with the climactic battle at the end because it becomes a totally different style of action fight scene. Without really spoiling anything (this is a SPOILER FREE review, after all), it’s fantastically filmed but it just feels out of place because they never did a sequence like this earlier. I get they wanted to do something more unique but it did take me out of the experience because of how out of place it came off.
Not surprisingly, I have quite a bit of issues with the overall pacing of the movie. They just rushed through some plot points and even character motivations without a moment’s notice. In fact, the usual “bonding” period between the two protagonists feel very shallow in the Man from Toronto. There was just never any adequate time to show them getting along to a point where you can feel them becoming friends. They just do by the end because, well, it’s a movie.
I guess the best way to review the Man from Toronto is to gauge how I would feel if I had to pay a ticket to see it in a movie theater. Strangely enough, I would have been fine seeing it there. Despite its problems, I will say I was entertained by the Man from Toronto. I guess your mileage may vary depending on how well you can stomach Kevin Hart’s style of comedy as it can become bothersome to many. He did tick me off a little bit but never to the point where I thought it ruined the movie. Besides, Woody Harrelson does a good job to veer it back away from utter ridiculousness. I can’t say if I would recommend actually going out to the cinema to see it… but it’s on Netflix so I say give it a watch. It’s nothing exceptional but I still had a good time with it.
Have you seen the Man from Toronto? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!