Director Patrick Hughes hit it big with 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard, and he’s since doubled down on that success’ template, first with its 2021 follow-up Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and now with The Man from Toronto, another action-comedy that pairs Black and white protagonists in a wild and violent misadventure involving professional assassins. In this instance, that duo is Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, who find themselves embroiled in murderous international espionage thanks to the sort of mistaken-identity mishap that would feel right at home in an episode of Three’s Company. Factor in Hart’s usual little-man schtick, and what you get is precisely the sort of second-rate big-studio feature (from, in this case, Sony) that now gets unceremoniously sold to—and dumped on—Netflix.
In a scenario that recalls Central Intelligence, his 2016 team-up with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hart is Teddy Jackson, a salesman for a local gym who’s constantly trying—and failing—to launch his own line of unique self-branded exercise devices, be it Teddy Band (a resistance band that smacks him in the face), Teddy Burn (a garbage bag-ish sweatsuit that makes him pass out), or Teddy Bar (a pull-up bar that collapses when used). Teddy’s amateur online videos confirm that he’s a failure, and that impression is solidified when his wife Lori (Jasmine Mathews) informs him that her law firm’s term for screwing up is “Teddy’d.” Given that his boss also considers him incompetent, Teddy proves a trademark Hart character: a whiny, wimpy loser without the confidence and toughness to succeed. In other words, he’s a “wuss” who needs to learn how to be a man.
Hart’s big-screen comedies frequently revolve around such masculinity issues, and here, they’re thrown into sharp relief by Teddy’s decision to wow Lori by taking her to a Virginia cabin and spa retreat for her birthday. That plan goes haywire from the get-go, since Teddy fails to replenish the toner in his home printer and, consequently, can’t read the proper address for their lodge on his print-out. Instead, the cabin he visits turns out to be populated by two menacing bruisers who are overseeing the torture of a captive. These menacing individuals think that Teddy is The Man from Toronto, a famed hitman whose reputation is so great that they’re eager to watch him work his gruesome magic. Teddy is, of course, horrified by this turn of events. Yet fearing that he’ll be killed if he doesn’t do what they expect of him, he blusters his way into getting the intel they covet, at which point the FBI shows up and kills the bad guys and abducts Teddy.
at The Daily Beast.
Source:: The Daily Beast
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