“The Doorman” (2020)
Running Time: 97 minutes
Written by: Lior Chefetz, Joe Swanson and Harry Winer
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Featuring: Ruby Rose, Aksel Hennie, Rupert Evans, and Jean Reno
Released this month on DVD is the action movie “The Doorman” (2020) that on the surface may seem like an attractive proposition but is in fact such a copy of a previous great action movie in the form of “Die Hard” (1988) as well as featuring two actors of such opposite talent that this is nothing but an exercise in blandness and reductive to the point of complete boredom. This may seem like an overly harsh criticism but there is a difference between homage and complete ripoff, one involves
This movie and many like it have been produced for decades, either cheap knock offs of better movies or low budget affairs that have recognisable actors that are simple in nature that hope for a quick buck before word gets around as to how inferior they are to more expensive Hollywood fare. That is not to say that all low budget movies are bad as there are plenty of film-makers working in the low budget world that make excellent movies, one obvious modern example is Ben Wheatley whose best movies come from this field. However there is now a real glut of these inferior movies especially with a cinema release being blocked off because of the pandemic which means there are even more low budget action movies being released, “The Doorman” is one of those. With two mostly recognisable actors in Jean Reno and Ruby Rose who cross generations as well as mediums, this possibly could have had an impact on the box office in many countries now though it has been relegated to the home market where people are actually more cautious about actually purchasing physical product.
This movie is set in Bucharest, U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Alexandra “Ali” Gorski is tasked with protecting a convoy carrying the daughter of the ambassador. Armed mercenaries ambush them, resulting in the death of the ambassador and her daughter. Ali is discharged from the Marines and begins working as a doorman at The Carrington Hotel in New York City along with her co-worker Borz. There, she meets her late sister’s husband, Jon Stanton, a professor, and his two children, Max and Lily. This introduction is actually not bad and perhaps if an action movie had been based around this it may have ended up being something that was original and enjoyable. However from this point “The Doorman” devolves into the aforementioned “Die Hard” ripoff right down to some of the exact same plot points but in a less original and humorous way.
Directed by Japanese filmmaker Ryûhei Kitamura who has had a sporadic career but does have the highlight of “The Midnight Meat Train”(2008) which is a genre piece that actually produced a good performance from Vinnie Jones as well as a pre movie star Bradley Cooper both in an above average slasher pic, it seemed from here that Kitamura may push on but now he is making D grade action movies which for me is a waste of his talent as there is nothing within “The Doorman” that suggests he is nothing more than a journeyman director. In saying that this movie has been produced from a script that was written by committee who all have dubious credits and prove one thing, that they have all at least seen “Die Hard” .
The central actors at the core of “The Doorman” are Ruby Rose and Jean Reno who are as different as could be and it really shows in their performances. Reno who is a veteran actor of both low and high budget movies knows exactly what movie he is appearing in as anyone of his stature would, he is absolutely fine and plays on tropes from his own career as well any number of genres he has appeared in. Make no mistake Reno is a professional who is as always excellent to watch, after all these decades he has a natural air of mystery that follows him to this day, if there was a reason to watch this movie it is down to him. Then we have Australian Ruby Rose who has appeared in both television and movies over the pst few years with a profile that has been growing, her best part being a mute in the fabulous “John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017) but coming to attention in “Orange Is the New Black” (2012-2019). Unfortunately apart from some alt-chic look and (I guess) personality Rose has not really shown any real acting talent in that everything she has appeared in has been one note and lifeless, almost boring. I admit that Rose has the look but like most post modern personalties it is all surface with no discernible onscreen depth, “The Doorman” does nothing to dissuade that opinion.
“The Doorman” does have elements that could have made it successful, it is low budget (yes that can be a strength), it is primarily in one location, it has onscreen talent and it is an action movie. All of these elements needed to be honed into something more original, its fine to use other movies as a framework, that is perhaps a central idea but the details have to be inspired and original which this sadly is not. I would not recommend spending any money on this and if it showed up on a streaming service you might be able to do worse, but trust me if you want something superior and rewatchable just get your copy of “Die Hard”out, maybe on 4K.