The Man From Toronto, 2022, 112 mins, Netflix
Yes, The Man should have stayed in Toronto and saved us all the pain and bother. Mind, I don’t deserve any sympathy, I really should have known better. Some films have ‘avoid’ written all over them, but fair play, the marketing boffins had managed an intriguing teaser/trailer that Netflix put up when one foolishly clicked on this film’s title. It showed a neat little scene in which Kevin Hart, wrong dude at the wrong cabin, finds himself mistaken for the titular Man from Toronto, master interrogator and torture-artiste, and he’s escorted into a basement where he finds a poor guy is strung up waiting his attention and nasty thugs waiting to enjoy the show. Talk your way out of that, Kevin.
Well, they clearly couldn’t stretch that gag for a whole movie…
But they try.
Isn’t it curious how some Hollywood peeps, at least until Disney stepped in, treated streaming as The Great Evil a few years back? Well, money talks I guess, and now streamers, particularly Netflix at any rate, seems to have been useful as a happy dumping ground for any Hollywood effort that looks to be a misfire (see most any ‘Netflix Original’ or numerous other examples over on Amazon). Maybe things will change now that reduced subscribers have cautioned Netflix to be a wee bit more mindful over how it spends money. The Hollywood cash-cow era may be drawing to a close, so I hope everyone’s luxury renovations are squared up and yachts paid for and beach houses accounted for.
The Man From Toronto is a lamentable effort. An action-comedy that makes The Hitman’s Bodyguard look like a bona-fide classic, and HItman’s Wife’s Bodyguard look nowhere near as lazy as it seemed at the time. Maybe that’s all I really need to say on the matter- this is one of those films that one can easily imagine the pitch and the studio guys nodding sagely imagining another easy hit. But you can’t make movies by-the-numbers like that… well, you clearly can, but it doesn’t guarantee success like some think it might. But to the extent of sinking $75 million into something as cynically calculated as this? One can imagine “We got Hart!” ” We got Statham!” “We got that guy who directed Hitman’s Bodyguard!” “We can’t lose!” “Statham’s out- but Harrelson’s in!” “That cutey from Big Bang Theory says she got a few days free to shoot a few scenes!” At least it wasn’t a huge success: whatever would have been next, The Man From Tipton? Yeah, I bet somebody had their eye on a franchise: The Man From Dallas, The Man From London, The Man From Paris…”ker-ching, baby they almost write themselves!”
Oh well. This is one to avoid, really, and another poor addition to the burgeoning pile of sub-standard Netflix content. I suppose this proves a timely addendum to my recent post about streaming; the way the game used to work, it was all about the amount of content rather than said content actually being any good. But maybe if any positive can come of something like The Man From Toronto, its that it may play some part in things changing. Netflix can’t remain the happy dumping ground for Hollywood misfires, it simply has to exercise some QC when it gets its wallet out- or subscribers may keep on leaving, and without the streaming option being quite so easy, maybe Hollywood itself will exercise a bit more care too. Well, one can dream…