Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Doorman (2020)



Her second chance is their Last Hope

Movie Review:


Former Marine with PTSD, Ali (Ruby Rose, John Wick 2) takes a job as a doorman for a luxury New York City high-rise. What should be a walk in the park turns into a game of outsmarting and battling a group of art thieves, led by their boss Victor Dubois (Jean Reno, Leon the Professional), all while ensuring that a father and children staying in the hotel remain unharmed.

Bizarre career change aside, this was a solid Die Hard in a Hotel type movie. My buddy and guest-reviewer XtroTheMutilator recommended this one, and I’m glad that he did. Ruby Rose is believable as an ex-military arse kicker and obviously did some action training for the film. The choreography is above par for this kind of film – this might have been released DTV in most markets (likely due to COVID) but it definitely has a budget – fast multi-person kick-downs mixed with gun-fu and I’m glued to the screen. It runs a lean 97 minutes with very little in the way of filler, and the various plot devices to explain the situation are articulated well. I mean, it’s a Die Hard clone but replacing the cop with a marine – it’s likely going to work.


The opening scene with Ali still in the marines is excellent stuff. Travelling in black government cars, the entourage she is protecting gets attacked by a team with both machine guns and bazookas. Cars are one-by-one blown up until only one remains, with Ali taking out bad guys with her side-arm like a fairground game. Proper Explosive Action and a perfect opener to this kind of film.

But it’s not just the opening scene she kicks arse in, Ruby holds up throughout the whole piece, doing a great John McLain impression – or more accurately, a Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2 impression, as she spends most of her action time with an unskilled sidekick who instead knows the secret passages in this old hotel. Together they ride the elevator shafts, hide in abandoned box-filled rooms and set traps involving electricity. There’s a few top quality kills to look forward to as well.


Jean Reno is fine in this, though he doesn’t have to do a great deal but fill the Alan Rickman role. Dubois has henchmen to do his dirty work, but what he does have is a French accent and accompanying good manners. While Rickman’s Hans Gruber or more accurately, Travis Dane in Under Siege 2, are unhinged bad guys, Dubois plays the tea and wine drinking variety admirably. The kind of guy that brushes lint off his jacket when berating you. It’s good to see him in a new movie.

Dubois may be the leader, but his number one Borz (Aksel Hennie) is the real piece of work in the film – the Gary Busey in Under Siege equivalent. For starters he is the one that got Ali her job as doorman, so trust is immediately broken there, but he also doesn’t care much about his fellow heisters either, throwing them under the bus to ensure his cut of the action.


Louis Mandylor has a minor role in this as a safecracker. He's not quite comic relief but he's not as deadly serious as the rest of the cast. It's been good to see him have a bit of a resurgence lately, especially in both Debt Collector movies sharing equal screen time with Scott Adkins. I started to notice him more after the last Rambo film. The Mercenary from Jessee V. Johnson was pretty great, and I see he has one called Legacy out with another DTV action star, Luke Goss. Definitely adding that to the to-watch pile.

This film is directed by Ryûhei Kitamura of Versus and Midnight Meat Train fame! First I was surprised to see his name tagged on this, but checking his IMDB of the last few years I see Downrange, an action-thriller about a sniper that I've had on my watch list for a while. Based on the quality of The Doorman, I’ll be bumping that one up the list!