Starring: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Kaley Cuoco, and Ellen Barkin.
Directed By: Patrick Hughes
Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: International Digital Center
Written By: Liz Gutman
The Plot: A man (Hart) who is trying to convince his boss that non-contact boxing is the way of the future gets mistaken as a lethal and legendary assassin known only as The Man From Toronto. But when the real man (Harrelson) actually shows up, he realizes that he now must actually use this guy because the people he’s working for now facially recognize, and they must work together in this feel good buddy assassin comedy.
What Works:It’s one of those rather simplistic concepts that sticks to its guns, and allows its two leads to just do their thing. Whether or not you like this film will almost certainly be related to how much you like Kevin hart and Woody Harrelson. They are basically doing themselves, or the version of themselves that is seen most on screen. It’s not a heavy acting film with a lot of deep choices. Hart, who just finally broke out of his mold with True Story, is back to playing the exact same character he plays in every film except The Upside. And Harrelson, in a role not originally written for him, does his best to make it his own.
It’s a film that Sony had, and looked at, and decided would be more profitable to unload it onto Netflix than to release it theatrically. I disagree with that sentiment. there’s nothing really wrong with this film to suggest it wouldn’t have made money in a market where Channing Tatum starred in a film called Dog that made like 50M at the box office.
Still, it’s not a good sign that they wanted to unload it, and that means I know that by giving it a positive review, I’m bucking the trend here. But the truth is, for what it set out to do, for a two hour span of time I was moderately entertained. This reminded me a lot of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a film that never needed a sequel, but was entertaining enough the first time around because of its leads. Hart and Harrelson aren’t Reynolds and Jackson, but they have their own quirks that work to make this film not suck. Unless you just hate mainstream films that seem to be churned out for celebrities. in that case…
What Doesn’t Work: The film spends too much time setting up Hart as an idiot, and then wants us to accept that professional killers would believe he’s some legendary assassin. That’s probably the biggest problem with the film is that Hart and his intro into this world involves convincing a professional hitman type that he brought an eggplant, lube, and whipped cream to torture a man. Come on now. What the hell was he going to do with that eggplant? He brought nothing else to cook with? It’s just a sight gag.
Sometimes we get these case of mistaken identities films an they feel believable on some level. Hart never felt like he should be taken seriously as an assassin.
The Blind Perspective: I don’t know what the fight sequences are like, since I believe the film was initially written for an action star in Harrelson’s role (though I forget which one), and I don’t know how well Harrelson handles the fight choreography. I mean, the narration is fine, but it could be any actor doing those moves. We never know if it actually looks good. Overall, the narration handled a film where a world full of assassins are known only by their city, and they navigated that well, even when there were multiple from the same city.
Final Thoughts: Even I question if my score is too high, but when I think about other films I saw this year, that I felt like comparably entertained me at the same level, I think of The Lost City or Sonic The Hedgehog 2. neither were revolutionary, but both were fun enough for two hours. And sometimes, that’s enough. Is this film smart? not really. Maybe I like Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson more than others. But, this is where I’m leaving it.
Final Grade: B