Renny Harlin is back with his new movie: 12 Rounds. Actually he hasn’t been away, The Cleaner came out in 2007 but didn’t get a UK cinema release and the Covenant (2006) was shown at cinemas but was so bad it didn’t deserve to be! 12 rounds actually represents his seventh film in the last ten years but it just seems like a long time since people where talking about him as a director. The film itself is ok. It desperately wants to be speed or Die Hard: With a Vengeance and fails to live up to them but it does manage to keep the action flowing. It does suffer from having wrestler John Cena in the lead role, he lacks both charisma and acting ability but does handle the action well.
So it seemed like a good time to look at the highlights and lowlights of Renny Harlin’s career to date.
Die Hard 2: By far the directors finest hour and the film most often used on posters when saying “From the director of…..”. Often unfairly criticised in comparison to the original film, but lets face it Die Hard is probably the best action film ever made. The airport setting allows a similar scenario to the original film but gives a bit more freedom for action and explosions. Bruce Willis is on fine form playing his best and most recognisable character John McClane. The only thing it lacks in comparison to the first and third films in the franchise is a fantastic villain.
The Long Kiss Goodnight: The last good film Gina Davies made (she has only done TV and Stuart Little films since); this action thriller is lifted by some great moments of comedy and a movie stealing performance from Samuel Jackson. The story is utter nonsense (as it so often is with Harlin) but the action and comedy delivered by an unlikely pairing is great fun and the film is well paced throughout.
Deep Blue Sea: This shark tale is a long way short of Jaws but entertaining none the less. Saffron Burrows and Thomas Jane are credible B-movie stars and there is good support from LL Cool J and Stellan Skarsgard not to mention the always watchable Samuel Jackson. As with the two films above it is well paced and full of good action set pieces.
Cliffhanger: I was never much of a fan of Cliffhanger but it was well received at the time it came out. Despite the ridicules plot it does have some good moments.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master: All the nightmare on Elm street films after the first one tend to blend into one. I actually can’t remember a thing about this one.
Cutthroat Island: Made in 1995 ten years before the pirate craze started by Pirates of the Caribbean, this actually isn’t a bad film. Actually I am lying it is a terrible film.