When Ruby Rose left Batwoman, she was probably hoping for a step up. A chance to become an action star. It’s doubtful that this is what she had in mind.
The Doorman follows Ruby Rose as an ex-Marine with a dark past. She becomes a doorman so she can have a calmer life, but when mysterious armed criminals take over the hotel she works at, she’s forced back into action.
The Doorman is essentially a remake of Die Hard. It’s all set in one tall building, there’s a charming European villain and it’s even set on a public holiday. However, there are enough differences that John McTiernan needn’t call his lawyer. These differences become clearer in the third act where the film becomes a bit more unique, although don’t take this to mean that it’s as worth your time.
The Doorman having a familiar story plays into the fact that this film’s fairly standard. The only difference it has from other action films is a female lead. Ruby Rose is a very good stunt woman. She does some really amazing moves in this film and her fight scenes are really believable and pretty cool. There is, funnily enough, a slight female John McClane feel to her. Early on in the film, she’s fighting brutally in a floral dress and heels. What lets Rose down sadly is her charm.
Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be an Oscar-worthy actor, but he fills all his characters with personality. He proves that action stars don’t have to be Daniel Day-Lewis. Rose often seems pretty bored when she’s doing dialogue scenes. It’s like she’s just waiting for the next fight to start. This isn’t helped by the fact that she’s not given much to work with. Her character is pretty bland because her backstory is she failed to protect someone she was protecting. That’s pretty much it. Everything else about her is quite lazily explained through boring and often terrible dialogue.
Our villain is played by Jean Reno. Initially, Victor Dubois seems like he could be quite an interesting antagonist. He has a motivation that isn’t completely evil and his past sounds quite dark. This is only a fleeting impression however as after a while it becomes clear that his only purpose is to sit around and moan at his henchman. Dubois is also very, very French – if that wasn’t clear from the name. His Frenchness verges on a stereotype when he’s offered a glass of wine. His first action is to swirl the wine around and sniff it, commenting on its aroma. You half expect him to bring out a selection of cheeses at points.
There’s nothing else really to write home about with The Doorman. The majority of the acting is fairly wooden, the cinematography is bland and there’s no real identifiable score to speak of. There are some scenes that are quite creatively directed but these are rare.
The Doorman has the blueprints for a really good action film. It just needed to rethink the people involved.
Dir: Ryûhei Kitamura
Scr: Lior Chefetz, Joe Swanson
Cast: Ruby Rose, Jean Reno, Aksel Hennie
Prd: Phin Glynn, Jason Moring, Shayne Putzlocher, Sara Shaak, Harry Winer
DoP: Matthias Schubert
Music: Aldo Shllaku
Runtime: 97 mins
The Doorman is available on Digital Download 18 January and DVD 25 January 2021 from Lionsgate UK