By: Kevin Jordan
A poor man’s, poor man’s Die Hard.
As we continue to go without any major movie releases (with the exception of Tenet and Mulan), there is still a small trickle of low-budget films being released to video on-demand (VOD). Typically, these movies tend to fall into the category of really shitty sequels to films that definitely shouldn’t have had sequels. Films like Starship Troopers, Cruel Intentions, and Universal Soldier. But, it’s not just shitty sequels that go straight to VOD. There are shitty original films that are part of that trickle as well. That’s where The Doorman comes in.
(SPOILER ALERT – If you didn’t laugh at that pun, buckle up.)
Ali (Ruby Rose) is a marine assigned protection duty at some random consulate. She is so awesome that she doesn’t even have a last name (nothing on her uniform or in the credits). She is the Cher of the marines. One day, she is in a convoy of vehicles taking the ambassador somewhere when they are ambushed on a forest road. Of note, she is the only marine amongst a dozen or so suit-clad private bodyguards, which seems weird until you notice that her fatigues have a giant patch on the front that says US. Not USA. US. Did I mention this film was low-budget (I tried to find the budget, but came up empty)?
This being an action-thriller, we are treated to the standard cliche of the ambushing mercenaries killing all of the bodyguards in a shootout because the bodyguards are terrible shots, then Ali killing all of the bad guys by herself. And one-shotting them, no less. I know where that missing A on her US patch went – Ali tore it off and ate it because A is for Awesome. Then, she gets blown up by the one bad guy she missed; the guy with the bazooka. And the ambassador and her daughter are in the car he blows up. Maybe A isn’t for Awesome.
Sometime later, Ali is a new doorman at a building in New York City. She is fresh on the job, learning that her duties include being insulted by an asshat tenant who can’t carry his own suitcase, said asshat saying to Ali’s male co-doorman Borz (Aksel Hennie) “I may be old-fashioned, but, a woman doorman?” Borz replies by apologizing for “modernizing” and every woman (and decent man) just threw up in their mouths a little bit.
Eventually, the movie makes its way to the plot of Die Hard – bad guys take over a building to steal stuff from a safe. The bad guys are made up of a bunch of nameless goons, a dorky safecracker, and a refined, euro-accented boss named Victor Dubois (Jean Reno). At one point, Ali will even pull a fire alarm to try to expose the bad guys. Maybe this movie isn’t so much an original as it is a plagiarism.
By the time the, er…heist, begins, Ali is having dinner on the tenth floor with her brother-in-law, Jon (Rupert Evans), and his two children, Max and Lily. But their apartment is not the target. Instead, Victor and his crew assail an old man and woman, the old man being an old colleague or something of Victor’s. Victor knows the old man hid priceless paintings in his apartment and wants them. After questioning, then torturing the old man, Victor discovers that the old couple used to live in a different apartment. This won’t be the last time Victor is surprised by information that he should have known. Maybe Victor isn’t so much Hans Gruber as he is Dr. Evil.
The film only gets worse from there. Even if all you want out of this film is to see Ruby Rose kick some ass, you are going to be disappointed. Just like every movie she has been in, though at least those other movies featured tons of action. This film felt the need to include talking, talking, and more talking. In one scene, Ali and Max have themselves a therapy session (while hiding in a secret, gigantic, speakeasy within the building), culminating in Max throwing a tantrum and storming out of the room, causing them to be discovered. In another scene – doubling as a showcase for Victor being an idiot – Victor yells at the safecracker guy to keep drilling (Ruby shuts off the water in the building and the drill is water cooled), then he and two henchman stand there silently watching him drill until the drill bit breaks. To be fair, this scene was unintentionally hilarious, accidentally waking us from our boredom.
The only positive and non-plagiarized part of this film are three novelty deaths. The first is Ali performing a flying neck stab, then kicking the guy into a pool of water where he is electrocuted by a live wire (it’s a little plagiarized since it happens in a part of the building undergoing construction). The second is a bad guy’s head being blown to pieces by a jar filled with nails and the third is another bad guy impaled on a spike in the center of a giant ventilation fan, slowly turning as Ali does her cool-guys-don’t-look-at-explosions walk.
Even with the dearth of new films and my desperation for anything resembling a new flick to watch, this film was a waste of time. The acting is bad, including and especially Reno, the dialogue is filled with terrible lines and even worse one-liners like…
Baddie: “You’re a twisted bitch. You’re not a Virgo are you? I’m a Gemini myself.”
Ali: “I’m a Scorpio; it would never work.”
Me: “Die. Both of you, just…die.”
…and the cinematography is what you would expect from a movie that probably spent ninety-five percent of its budget to convince Jean Reno to be a good boy and just recite the lines please, and only had five dollars left to hire someone to run the camera. Oh, and why do the bad guys have to lock down the entire building, after making sure everyone was gone from the building for construction? Did Ali, her brother-in-law, and the old couple not get the memo? Pretty much anything would be better than this, including a fourth Cruel Intentions (they made two sequels!!).
Rating: Demand all of your money back. I told you to buckle up.