The Doorman review – Ruby Rose turns model action hero

When a heist goes wrong, an ex-soldier must mop up the mess – while Jean Reno plays a menacing Frenchman

Model-turned-actor Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black, John Wick: Chapter 2), is utterly mesmerising to look at – with her lush lips, perfectly shaped eyebrows and macho tattoos – but so far the jury is very much out on whether she can act more than merely adequately. This action vehicle doesn’t exactly strengthen the case for her defence, although she moves with impressive grace in the actiony bits when required in closeups that show her character, Ali, whupping bad guys’ asses.

Rose is meant to be a former marine, haunted by a botched assignment that cost the lives of a family she was protecting. In the film’s present tense, she takes a job as a doorman – shouldn’t it be “lobby attendant” or even “doorperson”? – at a posh New York City building, only to wander accidentally into a heist that goes very wrong.

A strangely immobile-featured Jean Reno offers an almost self-parodying turn as the snobbish yet brutal French mastermind of the criminal gang, who are looking for paintings looted by the Nazis years back. Ali must protect the husband (Rupert Evans), teenage son (Julian Feder) and irritatingly spunky daughter (Kíla Lord Cassidy) from harm – which involves a lot of skulking in the building’s secret passageways, making for a mostly one-set shoot that looks like it saved a lot on budget. Director Ryuhei Kitamura, whose career began with pulpy horror fare, directs with efficiency but a seeming total lack of awareness of how silly this all looks from a distance. There’s little humour or invention to leaven the deadened inertness of the script.

• The Doorman is available from 18 January on digital platforms.

Contributor

Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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