Not terribly long ago, a big-budget, star-powered flick like The Man from Toronto would’ve debuted on thousands of theater screens. Moviegoers would’ve seen the trailer innumerable times during an aggressive marketing push prior to release. Yet in 2023, above-the-title names like Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson must settle for the decidedly less-visible Netflix streaming rollout. Now that The Man from Toronto is available on Blu-ray, having recently been released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the question is whether anyone feels the need to have it in their collection.
After the COVID pandemic effectively wiped out a planned theatrical release in 2020, Toronto finally debuted on Netflix in the summer of 2022. Even for diehard fans of Hart and/or Harrelson, this is a middling action-comedy experience at best. Harrelson is the titular man, an assassin employed by an organization who assigns city names to its hitmen. The Man from Toronto, actual name Randy, is an interrogation specialist whose techniques would give Jack Bauer pause. Mistaken identity hijinks ensue.
During a mix-up with the vacation cabin he booked for his family, Teddy (Hart) winds up in the middle of a situation intended for Randy. The men holding the intended target of a hit hostage believe Teddy is actually the Man from Toronto, whom they have never met face to face. Fearing for his own life, Teddy goes with it—interrogating the hostage until the FBI busts in as part of a sting operation. In a convoluted plan spontaneously hatched by the feds, Teddy is convinced to keep posing as Toronto to help them with further arrests. It doesn’t take long for the real Toronto, Randy, to track down and apprehend the hapless Teddy. Rather implausibly, Randy decides not to blow Teddy’s cover so they can work together.
The plot mechanics are laid on thick as the ensuing caper plays out. There probably should be a lot more fun in seeing Kevin Hart squirm his way through the unenviable task of posing as a world-class hitman. But his stammering, shouty performance eventually becomes tiresome. Harrelson is essential the straight man. Even as we learn more about Randy’s past and the reasons he chose his unconventional career path, Harrelson doesn’t appear to be investing much into his characterization. As directed by Patrick Hughes (whose Hitman’s Bodyguard movies are a lot more fun), this action-driven contraption wheezes as it makes its way to a predictably over the top conclusion. One’s enjoyment of The Man from Toronto will be entirely commensurate with their love of either Hart or Harrelson.