October 7th, 2020
MOVIE: THE DOORMAN
STARRING: RUBY ROSE; AKSEL HENNIE; JEAN RENO; RUPERT EVANS
DIRECTED BY: RYUHEI KITAMURA
AMovieGuy’s RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
I now know how Matt Zoller Seitz was feeling when he gave a positive review to Ava, the direct to VOD, much panned action film with Jessica Chastain, because I think Seitz was the only film critic to do so. Be that as it may, The Doorman is my kind of action movie and it allows Ruby Rose to fully spread her wings as an action star. It involves an ex-marine named Ali (Rose), dealing with PTSD from when her protection detail was ambushed resulting in a failed job, but now she’s just looking for a place to hide. Her uncle finds her a job at a fancy New York hotel, working as a doorman, but what she finds there is a connection to lost family members, and a group of bad guys taking over the hotel to steal wealthy paintings. The only line of defense is Ali, in this makeshift Die Hard, but with Ruby Rose doing a lot of butt kicking.
For a good part of this review I could just defend myself as to why The Doorman worked, but it’s as simple as this being a throwback to old school 80’s action films. I was in the mood for that. Not that The Doorman doesn't have its shortcomings. Some of the acting is a bit stiff and there’s not much to it outside of being bad guys vs. the lone good guy. What I do respect, however, is the simplicity of The Doorman. Ali is looking to get away from fighting, but what she discovers is her co-worker Borz (Aksel Hennie) is a bad guy, taking over the hotel with armed thugs, locking it down, and letting in his employer Victor Dubois (Jean Reno) in search of the art. Ali is all that is left and it becomes a case of the hotel becoming a labyrinth, filled with gun battles, and suspense.
The director is Ryuhei Kitamura, who’s other films The Midnight Meat Train and Downrange have made him skilled in making films with tight settings and lone characters fighting for survival. The Doorman is every bit an homage to Die Hard, complete with Jean Reno’s character doing his fair share of talking ala Hans Gruber. Things become even more fun when Rose is unleashed. The Orange is the New Black star has been in a fair share of action films, specifically John Wick: Chapter 2 and XXX: Return of Xander Cage, where she has brief moments to excel. With The Doorman, she is the star; Doing wild stunts, jumping from elevator shafts, taking down three guys at a time, and protecting her family at all costs. This time, she’s not accepting failure.
The Doorman works when you throw out expectations and enjoy seeing the arrival of Ruby Rose as an action star. She’s following in the footsteps of actors such as Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider or what Charlize Theron has recently done in The Old Guard. There’s a much more unique look and style with Ruby Rose, who recently stepped away from Batwoman on the CW for health reasons, but hopefully this leads to more action flicks for her future. There’s a gap to be filled there and Rose is the perfect person for the job.
Is The Doorman cheap direct to video action? Maybe, but sometimes that’s just what you want, especially during our times of quarantine and Covid. It also makes for a fun heist film, with bad guys trying to break a safe on one floor, while our hero causes havoc for them throughout the building. It reminded me a bit of an action video game, level to level, floor to floor, The Doorman may be dumb fun, but it answered the call for exactly what I need.
THE DOORMAN IS AVAILABLE IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DEMAND FRIDAY OCTOBER 9TH FROM LIONSGATE PICTURES.
2 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady