‘The Man from Toronto’
Action/Comedy | Netflix | Rated PG-13
Directed By: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Jasmine Mathews, Kaley Cuoco
Synopsis: An everyday salesman who always manages to screw up, and the world’s most lethal assassin are mistaken for one another when a printer low on toner blurs the address of an Airbnb rental.
The trailer for this one should tell you exactly what you’re in for. This movie is both full-throttle action, and full-speed ridiculous. Yet it still delivers an enjoyable ride overstuffed with violence and dumb laughs if you let it. You can easily sit back and pick apart the plot holes and the frequently simplistic attempts at humor. The Man from Toronto doesn’t deliver cutting-edge humor, but it does provide a constant flow of easy-going amusement as Hart and Harrelson pair up. Hart’s a salesman who always finds a way to get things wrong. Harrelson is your typical dark, and mysterious killer with a slightly cartoonish veneer. So, slapping them together and sending them on a textbook mission while not being mentally stimulating, is still effectively entertaining.
Hart and Harrelson essentially play on the Hart and Cube dynamic from Ride Along so there are plenty of familiarities from Hart’s schtick. However, if your comedic tastes are relatively broad you can find appeal in seeing these guys bumble their way through a mission filled with admittedly well-crafted fight-sequences and banter. The fight choreography and the camerawork capture a buffet of violent, fast-paced action that can easily pull you in your seat as chainsaws, axes, dumb-bells, and anything not nailed down is brought into the mix and used as a weapon which is fun to watch.
Hart and Harrelson also manage to pair their comical chemistry with solid effort in the stunt department to bring even more visual appeal to the screen when the action launches. All of which easily compensates for the nonsensical storyline, and Kevin Hart relying on this tried-and-true comedic tropes, just this time with Harrelson being plugged in.
Final Verdict: The Man from Toronto is not a mind-blowing film, but it is a capable crowd pleaser. Hart and Harrelson are having fun in the roles, and it results in consistent laughs. It could’ve been fifteen-minutes shorter however with the action providing more than enough stylized brawls and nicely crafted gunplay it does keep the energy up to provide an engaging feel-good popcorn flick at home.
Action/Drama/Fantasy | Hulu | Rated R
Directed By: Le-Van Kiet
Starring: Joey King, Olga Kurylenko, Veronica Ngo, Dominic Cooper
Synopsis: Locked in a remote tower of her father’s castle, an iron-willed princess who refuses to marry a man intent on taking over her father’s throne will battle her way through this army to defend her father’s kingdom.
I could certainly get more into time-period tales of fantasy filled with princesses, kings, thrones, and castles if they delivered the fast-paced ass kicking The Princess provides. It launches out of the gate with tightly crafted choreography that immediately sets the stage for the delightfully brutal journey of hyper-violence this princess (King) embarks on. The plotline is simplistic, and this movie isn’t a mind bender by any means. It follows a princess who refuses to wed a man that clearly only wants power. He has a crew of dispensable soldiers to kill off and a lone few will have to defend good from the threat of evil. It’s traditional yet more than enough to engage your attention and connect the frequent stretches of adrenaline pumping chaos to satisfy action fans.
The movie is having a good time. It knows what it wants to be, and it goes all-in to create something that feels fresh. It does have The Kingsman vibes with longer stylized fight scenes that will pull you up in your seat as King dives headfirst into the stunt work. King clearly put in the training, and it results in a kickass lead character that can take a beating while also dispensing them, and the drive and determination in her charismatic performance is absolutely appealing. This allows the camera to capture all the swordplay, chase sequences, and hand-to-hand combat with endless visual appeal that lures you right into the middle of the unrelenting intensity.
Olga Kurylenko and Veronica Ngo bring their own action skills into the mix. The choreography uses the environments with plenty of creativity to craft many genuinely unique moments and it results in a movie filled with constant action that never manages to feel stale or repetitive. Something genre fans can easily appreciate. King is relentless as she takes on endless waves of villains. Showdowns between characters and charming kills ignite the story with precision energy. Giving this one violence that is brutal and elegant as it weaves a female led actioner filled with a castle full of excitement and nonstop carnage.
Final Verdict: Don’t sleep on this movie. If you’re a fan of the action genre this one will certainly entertain as it takes you on a ride filled with dazzling action and intensity. King, Ngo, and Kurylenko all put in the work and the result is a movie that will engage you from start-to-finish with a tightly paced runtime.
Action/Thriller | Grindstone Entertainment Group | Rated R
Directed By: James Cullen Bressack
Starring: Mel Gibson, Kevin Dillon, Shannen Doherty, Sam Asghari, Eddie Steeples, Lydia Hull
Synopsis: A mysterious criminal plants a bomb under the chair of an ex-hacker and forces him to digitally infiltrate high-level banking institutions, while the bomb squad and the S.W.A.T. team forms a joint taskforce to attempt a rescue.
A collection of familiar faces fill out this straight-to-video actioner and where it may have its shortcomings in certain areas, there are others that do an effective job of making this an enjoyable fast-paced thriller. The writing is serviceable. It doesn’t really think too far outside the box of this genre, and it does result in a few bland characters and some key dramatic misdirection’s you can see coming. The plotline doesn’t veer far from the beaten path of these B-action flicks with high intensity stakes and faces from Hollywood’s past taking on generic character types. With that said though, the crisp direction from Bressack, and genuine effort from the cast, can deliver a rather adventurous ride filled with explosions, gunplay, bravado, and melodrama if you like these types of films.
Clearly there are going to be creative limitations with smaller budgeted films. So, taking that into account it’s easy to overlook some of the spotty digital effects, which we all know do not come cheap. However, I will contend with the natural backdrops and an abundance of practical stunt work that this movie does feel larger in scope and more expensive than it probably was because for the most part the visual appeal is consistent and don’t try to do too much. This one relies on the tension of the bomb situation, the mystery of the mastermind behind it all, and the team of agents trying to save the day. So, with all the moving pieces Hot Seat does translate to an enjoyable night with a movie.
As an 80’s and 90’s movie geek it’s always great to see stars from the past still getting work. Gibson without question elevates the material. He brings the effort and screen presence to capture the ‘old dog in the game’ character-arc with ease, and the story gives him enough to do, resulting in quality screen time. Dillon brings a range of effort to his central role; Doherty fills her character capably and Eddie Steeples leaves his impression as well to create an engaging ensemble for a movie that shows plenty of effort.
Final Verdict: This may not be a major studio project, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the performances. It keeps a quick pace and the writing, while it does have its weakness, and maybe a slight lack of its own unique ambition, does give the cast primarily Gibson plenty of scenes to chew up which instantly elevates the engagement while watching the beats of this thriller.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.