“Just a girl… It’s nothing to worry about.”
A routine, yet mildy explosive film, The Doorman presents a story of redemption as a fallen hero strives to protect her family against the criminal pursuit of thieves. From Ryûhei Kitamura, we have yet another entry in the “inspired by Die Hard” series. “Die Hard in an apartment building” is a fairly fresh take, even if on a much lower scale.
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Ali (Ruby Rose) is a veteran and she’s been back in New York for just a week. Having missed her sister’s funeral too, life is slightly rough at the moment. In an attempt at a fresh start, Ali takes on the job as a doorwoman at the Carrington apartment building where her brother-in-law resides with her niece and nephew. Also residing in the building, hidden in the walls, is a small group of rare and expensive paintings – very desirable indeed. During Easter, it is not Jesus who appears from nowhere, but instead, Victor Dubois (Jean Reno) – an expert of fine art who leads a team of mercenaries in pursuit of the paintings. The problem: the paintings reside in the apartment of Ali’s family.
The Doorman can be comfortable viewing because of its familiarity, yet at the same time, because of how excruciatingly familiar the plot is, The Doorman can also be read as a predictable yawn. In its existence as a modern Die Hard knock-off, The Doorman can be quite fun… but most likely if you like the Die Hard formula.
If anything, there are great instances where this copycat possesses more of a resemblance to Under Siege (“Die Hard on a boat.”). The character of Ali is much more aligned to Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) than John McClane (Bruce Willis). As an action film in general, The Doorman has a thrill here and there even if it feels rather simplistic now and again. Jean Reno’s Dubois has a convincing charm, though no real menace to be regarded as a great villain.
As for women in action, Ruby Rose is as tough as nails. Her character, Ali, though slightly wooden, suffers from severe PTSD from an incident where innocents were killed. In trying to protect her family, she is attempting to cure her PTSD whilst also suffering from the resemblance her family bears to the victims she couldn’t save.
Her fighting is incredible, though the editing and cinematography hijack the believability of Rose performing such extravagant moves. It is unfortunate that this female action performance will not be remembered or regarded amongst the elite in the years to come; however, there is a slight ambiance of refreshment in the placement of a female lead in yet another Die Hard copy.
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Ultimately, The Doorman is a harmless fun, 90-something-minute adventure, despite an overwhelming reliance on formula. For Ruby Rose, this should hopefully mark a good return to action films in her post-Batwoman career. Though the formula may have been repeated to death, there is an essence of admiration in that the Die Hard formula is still repeated more than 30 years on.
The Doorman is out on Digital Download 18th January and DVD 25th January from Lionsgate UK.