Skip to main content

Nightstream Review: 'The Doorman' is mostly conventional, but fun

"It's just a girl. It's nothing to worry about," probably isn't the smartest sentiment.

Ruby Rose is The Doorman.
(Image: © Lionsgate)

Our Verdict

A mostly generic action film that will keep you entertained for its ninety minute runtime.

For

  • 🔪Men who cry are strong!
  • 🔪The final kill is great.
  • 🔪Can't go wrong with Ruby Rose kicking people in the face.

Against

  • 🔪Generic Action Movie™.
  • 🔪The romance arc is wholly unnecessary.

Let's start with the most important thing you need to know about The Doorman: you have seen this movie before. You have seen this movie before in the same way that you have seen every Gerard Butler, Bruce Willis, [insert an infinite list of male action stars here] action flick. The difference? The protagonist is a woman (Ruby Rose, to be exact). If you've read a word of my writing in the past, you know that I'm here for that. Firmly Team The Doorman! Just don't expect it to break any molds outside of a line drop or a hug or two.

Now, with that out of the way, let's take a quick look at the plot. Ali (Ruby Rose) is a retired Marine vet. She left the service after the ambassador and daughter in her charge were brutally murdered in an attack she failed to stop. Ali returns to New York City slightly embittered, plagued with a nasty case of PTSD, and looking for work. 

After meeting with her Uncle Pat (Philip Whitchurch), Ali finds a job as a door(wo)man at a swanky building. While there she'll make fast friends with a couple of the residents, have some jarring interactions with her boss Borz (Aksel Hennie), and discover that her brother-in-law, niece and nephew happen to live in the building. Reminder: generic action film. Protagonist must want no real attachments with family or loved ones. If a relationship does exist, it must be complicated.

And complicated it is! Those complications are compounded by the begrudging agreement to attend Easter dinner which also happens to take place amidst an art heist. The thieves run into some complications of their own when they find that the building (meant to be completely empty for renovations) still has a few occupants inside.

The Doorman does a lot of things right. The action scenes aren't too dark - though I will grant that there are one or two odd cuts here and there - and the stunts are all capable. The kills you've come to look forward to in this kind of Lionsgate action jam are there, and Rose takes the appropriate number of Action Hero Bumps. The final battle is a touch anti-climactic, but the last kill makes up for it.

One of the few moments that separates The Doorman from Generic Action Movie C is a small arc between Ali and her nephew Max (Julian Feder). Max is every teenage boy who acts out with rage and cruelty in response to grief that he doesn't know how to process. Rather than just let that alone, the film grants a few moments to show growth and allow him to see things from a different perspective. It would have been preferable to allow Ali to start to work through her own PTSD, but that wasn't really the movie folks signed up for. 

As it seems must be the case, there is a love angle. Thankfully the film's attention to it is fleeting, but that doesn't take away from how unnecessary it is. It's narratively exhausting and serves no purpose to the arc of the story. It ends the way it should, at the very least, but Ali's motivations could have been solely rooted in the safety of the children and The Doorman wouldn't have lost anything. 

All of the performances are capable, with special acknowledgements going to Jean Reno's Victor Dubois and Rupert Evans' curious Jon Stanton. Rose isn't given much opportunity to show of her acting chops here (something she's proved in several performances, including the first season of Batwoman), mostly because her job is to be sad, be angry, or to punch things. That characterization in no way pulls from the type of movie this is, though. There's also a little girl named Lily (Kila Lord Cassidy) who is much tougher than her big brother and very, very brave. All the mint sauce for Lily. 

All told, The Doorman is the perfect kind of watch for when you want something simple and fun (in the shoot 'em up sense). Grab the popcorn and a beer, kick back, and have a nice evening watching Ruby Rose electrocute some folks! 

The Doorman is a part of our Nightstream coverage.