Review by Sean Boelman
Filmmaker Ryûhei Kitamura has amassed a decent-sized cult following because of his aptitude in directing schlocky action and horror flicks. And even though the generic and somewhat uninspired B-movie The Doorman is a significant step down from his past work, it’s still significantly better than most of the genre’s offerings.
The movie follows a former Marine working as a doorman at a high-rise apartment building as she realizes that the building is being taken over by armed thieves trying to steal hidden artwork, putting her brother-in-law’s family in the crosshairs. It’s a very conventional hero-saves-the-day storyline, albeit lacking in enough adrenaline to be much more than passable entertainment.
Ruby Rose is an action star waiting to happen if only she can find the right project that allows her the chance to shine. She has shown a great deal of potential in the supporting roles she has had in various franchises over the years, and her turn here shows the potential she has to be a great lead, but the action is mostly lacking.
There are a few really good hand-to-hand combat sequences, but for the most part, the film is a lot of shooting and low-stakes stunts that fail to create much excitement. In a shocking twist of fate, the dialogue sequences here are much more dynamic than the shootouts, which is disappointing for a ninety-odd minute straight-to-VOD movie.
Additionally, the character development in the film is extremely shallow. The opening sequence sets up a storyline about PTSD, but this is never expanded upon and barely addressed for the rest of the movie. And some underlying family drama also feels completely underwritten, only serving as an inciting incident.
Still, due to some combination of Rose’s presence as the lead, Jean Reno’s hammy and fun performance as the antagonist, and enough mindless bloodshed to satisfy, the movie is at least mildly diverting. Not one beat of the script isn’t predictable, but it meets the lowest common denominator just enough to be a moderately enjoyable ride.
Many of the film’s biggest successes come on a technical level. Even though the movie is set mostly in one single building, the sets do a good job of feeling more expansive than they are. And there are also a couple of really cool visuals that come into play later in the film, showing that this could have been much more creative than it is.
The Doorman isn’t a bad movie, but it’s also nowhere near what it could have been. Combining the talents of Ruby Rose and Ryûhei Kitamura sounds like a win on paper, and instead, it’s more of a draw.
The Doorman is now in theaters and on VOD.