The Doorman


‘…will certainly do the business for a late-night, undemanding, satisfying watch…’

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of the Die Hard formula; there’s nothing like being pinned down in one location to raise the temperature and the tension. Urban-fantasy action is a genre permanently in vogue thanks to the ongoing John Wick franchise, and that’s the jumping off point for Ryuhei Kitamura’s bare-bones thriller, which features John Wick 2’s Ruby Rose as a heroine. Rose has popped up in the XXX and Meg franchises to no great effect, but she’s a happy centre for this kind of unassuming crowd-pleaser; why wouldn’t you want to see Die Hard revamped with a lesbian vegan protagonist kicking ass?

The Doorman isn’t quite as much fun as that sounds; there’s a beyond convoluted back-story to unravel to understand Ali (Rose) an ex-Marine, somehow ends up working as a doorman in a posho NYC apartment block, called The Carrington. Ali’s charm and athletic abilities win plenty of friends amongst the residents, but her PTSD from a previous mission makes it hard for her to socialise. She’s meant to be enjoying a day-off when the building is locked-down by criminal art dealer Victor Dubois (Jean Reno), who is keen to bust a few secret Caravaggio’s out of a resident’s hidden safe.

One of the strengths of the Die Hard formula, which provided a platform for the best films of Steven Seagal in Under Siege and Jean-Claude Van Damme in Sudden Death, is that there’s plenty of time to hang out with the bad guys and understand their plan. This one almost goes too far; it takes Dubois a good 50 minutes to find the safe, so there’s also plenty of time to explore Ali’s relationship to lovable moppet children, and her friendship with an elderly couple. Indeed, Ali is a veritable Mary Poppins, winning hearts and minds as she goes, then kicking butt when things spiral out of control; it’s a calculated contradiction that Kitamura never quite resolves, and the cartoonish quality doesn’t lend much in the way of credibility.

And yet The Doorman is an effective time-waster, and one that gains energy from Reno’s suave villain, some decent fights, and Rose’s unfamiliar but considerable presence as a lead. While this isn’t a game-changing masterpiece by any stretch, The Doorman will certainly do the business for a late-night, undemanding, satisfying watch; Rose may have been cast as a pretty face in other films, but she proves here that she’s got the moves to be a woke, modern action star in the 2020’s.

The Doorman is available on Digital Download 18 January and DVD 25 January 2021 from Lionsgate UK. Thanks to Lionsgate and Witchfinder PR for access to this title.


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  1. Ruby Rose = Nope
    Since she was stupid enough to get killed in Resident Evil (whatever the final chapter was called), I have not been able to watch her “act” with a straight face.
    And an ex-marine? Heck, I’D make a more convincing ex-marine, and I couldn’t get into the marines even if I’d wanted to back in the day.

    Let Ruby kick the ass of some lettuce or something. That would be more believable.

  2. To me, Jean Reno is León, and I find it weird to find out that he got older… That’s when I realize that 25 years have passed already! :–/

    I’ll check this one out, thanks!

    • I hear you. And yes, there is a touch of Leon about the apartment set-up here, which gave me a little nostalgia. This is small potatoes in comparison, but it’s nice to see reno, and Rose is a fresh young star, so even if there’s no killer action scene, it just about works..

    • It’s not the most original film I’ve seen, but like you, haven’t thought much of Ruby Rose until now, and this is the most I’ve seen of her. At least she’s not 100 years old, she’s young and has some moves, although I’m not sure that ‘grizzled ex-marine’ suits her…

  3. This is right up my street, currently doing lady action movies ( as you would know if you visited Monday Movies, which you haven’t) so will be looking out for it streaming. That’s a big Yep.

    • I’ve been busy sorting out a potential fire and electrical disaster on your bedside cabinet; I’ll attend to your Monday Movies today….nice to see a big Yep!

  4. Du-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne, Batwoman! This sounds fun for a Saturday night at the movies, well, at the movies-at-home, of course. I’ve always liked Leon, I mean Jean Reno.

  5. So the doorman is actually a doorwoman? Seems like it could have been Besson doing this. I find Rose and Reno both very watchable, but I just feel like I’ve been here too many times already recently. Somebody needs to reinvent the fight scenes in action films too. I’m getting tired of everything looking like this.

    • Yup, and there is an element of leon and besson here, with the apartment setting. I think trailers let down films like this because it’s the overall familiarity that makes it work; you know where you are in a Die Hard film. You may well have seen worse…

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