Ruby Rose is no stranger to being an action star, and she continues that trend in the action-packed thriller The Doorman, which has just had its world premiere at the Nightstream film festival. While it may not be quite John Wick levels of long-take action sequences, The Doorman still manages to be a solid addition to the genre.
Rose stars as Ali, a former marine who takes a job as a doorman at a luxury apartment building upon returning to New York City. While visiting the family of her deceased sister who happens to live in the same building, she is forced to face off with a group of art thieves led by a villainous Jean Reno. A simple enough premise that doesn’t lead to too much unpredictability, the film very much relies on Rose’s shoulders, although everyone involved plays their parts well. Reno isn’t as menacing as he could be, and his main henchman, played by Aksel Hennie, has much more to do. In this sense, The Doorman doesn’t exceed expectations too much. It’s more focused on the action, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Anyone familiar with director Ryuhei Kitmura’s work probably knows what to expect from this film. Most of his filmography consists of Japanese action movies, the most notable of those being Versus (2000). With a script attributed to four different writers, The Doorman does take the time to setup the story and Rose’s character, which eventually builds up to some intense and thrilling stylized sequences that are certainly entertaining to watch. It may not make the lasting impression that the John Wick franchise has made, but it’s definitely fun and captivating in the moment.
Ruby Rose has quite the on-screen presence, making her perfect for this movie. She does tend to play the cool and collected type often, and this role is no different. Her character does have some moments of uncertainty and self-doubt, however, which is a nice touch. These elements don’t carry through the film as much as they should, almost as if the writers got distracted by writing out elaborate action sequences that they forgot to revisit elements that they introduced at the beginning. This doesn’t take anything away from Rose’s performance, as she is the strongest part of the movie. She performs the action with grit and ease. When the action isn’t going on, she gets by with the charisma you would expect from a former marine and is relatable enough that you do end up caring about how she makes it out of this predicament.
It’s certainly refreshing to see a woman as a lead in an action movie where she isn’t an international spy, which seems to be a growing trend these days. Ruby Rose’s character is more akin to a John Wick or John McClane type. It’s established that she has military training and we get to see her use those skills in a real-world situation. The Doorman isn’t presenting anything too new, but it is enhanced by the stylized action and by having Rose as the lead. It may not be ground-breaking, but it’s engaging enough to be a thoroughly entertaining action flick.
Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura
Scr: Lior Chefetz, Joe Swanson, Devon Rose Story by: Matthew McAllester, Gregory Williams
Cast: Ruby Rose, Aksel Hennie, Rupert Evans, Julian Feder, Louis Mandylor, Dan Southworth, Hideaki Itô, David Sakurai, Kila Lord Cassidy, and Jean Reno
Prd: Jason Moring, Harry Winer, Michael Philip, Phin Glynn, Shayne Putzlocher, Sara Shaak
DOP: Matthias Schubert
Runtime: 93 minutes
The Doorman is currently screening as part of Nightstream film festival and has no official release date at this time.