Credit: Nightstream
Before We Vanish by Matt Lynch Featured Film

The Doorman | Ryûhei Kitamura

October 9, 2020

With direct-to-video/streaming action films now a bonafide cottage industry with their own tropes, star filmmakers and performers, and aesthetic trappings, the real mediocrities are becoming more and more prominent and are seemingly attracting a classier pedigree of talent. Hence, The Doorman. It stars Australian model Ruby Rose — late of the Batgirl TV series and featured prominently in the final Resident Evil and memorably in John Wick Chapter 2 — and is helmed by former Japanese Extreme bad boy Ryûhei Kitamura (who helped kickstart that boom with his novel but not-very-good DIY debut Versus). 

Rose plays Ali, a former Marine now retired after a mission-gone-wrong, who settles in New York with a job, uh-huh, working the door at a ritzy apartment building where she’s surprised to discover that her late sister’s widower and their kids are tenants. She also befriends an elderly couple that is essential to the plot, which kicks off when her boss turns out to be in cahoots with a bunch of thieves — lead by Jean Reno, really slumming it here — who take over the building in search of some stolen art. Honestly, there’s not even an attempt to disguise the Die Hard knockoff aspirations here, which would be fine if the action were in any way inventive or exciting. Kitamura has sacrificed much of his typical exuberance behind the camera in favor of a lot of generic coverage and janky edits that conceal most of the best action beats, and the hand-to-hand fighting is never much more than merely competent — that sense of lethargy informs the entire film, leaving little to outright praise or decry. Rose acquits herself just fine, doing the usual steely-but-vulnerable thing you’d expect from this material, but The Doorman is just far too bland an endeavor on which to waste her talents.