The Doorman (2020)
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Written by: Devon Rose, Greg Williams, Joe Swanson, Lior Chefetz, Matt McAllester
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Jean Reno, Julian Feder, Louis Mandylor, Ruby Rose, Rupert Evans
THE DOORMAN (2020)
Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura
Available on DVD and Digital Download
Former decorated marine Ali Gorski takes up a job as a doorman/bellboy at a posh apartment hotel building The Carrington after a recommendation by her uncle. After helping the residents clear the building for renovation works over the Easter period, she reconnects with her estranged brother-in-law, niece and nephew who also live in the building, who’ve decided to stay a few days longer before returning to England. With most of the building empty apart from an elderly couple, it’s the prime time for a bunch of criminals to attack who’re interested in valuables hidden inside the building. When her family are taken hostage by the armed gang, Ali must resort to her military training to get herself and her family out of the building alive.
Action thriller THE DOORMAN is the latest film from Ryûhei Kitamura, director of Versus and Midnight Meat Train, with Ruby Rose (John Wick: Chapter 2) taking the lead as military officer Ali who decides to take what she thinks is a quiet, little job at an apartment building after suffering from PTSD following her exit from the Marines. The origins of her trauma are apparent from the beginning as the film opens up with explosive actions scenes as an American ambassador’s convoy in Romania is ambushed by terrorists. This is where we’re first introduced to marine Ali Gorski who’s riding in one of the cars with the ambassador’s young daughter. It’s pretty intense stuff as you anticipate that things are going to go south very quickly and, like the security officers inside the cars, your eyes are darting everywhere to try and anticipate where the next strike may come from. This terrifying event is something which seems to plague Ali so the chance at a quiet life on the doors is something that appeals, little realising what she’s actually walking into…
Australian actress Ruby Rose convinces in the many action scenes within the movie, seamlessly executing a myriad of martial arts techniques and disarms on the criminal gang that infiltrate the building. What is certainly interesting is the type of moves she executes, derived from Sambo, Japanese Ju-Jitsu and BJJ, with techniques including, as what appeared to be at first, kani basami but may have actually been a victor roll, before resorting to things like a juji gatame armbar submission. However, due to the way the film’s been edited, none of the martial arts techniques can be admired in their full glory. Whilst it appears between the rapid, choppy cuts that Ruby Rose is more than capable at pulling off the fight choreography, it would have been nice to actually see the combat scenes instead of a flurry of a highlight reel. After all, that is why we’re watching the movie as the acting part of the film is very minimal save for Jean Reno hamming it up as criminal mastermind Victor Dubois and Aksel Hennie acting as his ruthless henchman Borz. The heist aspect of the story is purely a backdrop for the action scenes whilst the romantic tension between two characters is so weak you’d be lucky to find a pulse.
Many will call this movie Die Hard with a female John McClane-type character but seeing as most action films follow a similar plot thread anyway, THE DOORMAN does enough to stand up on its own two feet. Unlike the 90’s Christmas classic though, this particular effort only merits one sit through as there just isn’t enough meat to the story to warrant otherwise. Best enjoyed with a bag of popcorn but don’t expect anything above and beyond the action.