• Name: Bodies at Rest
• Year: 2019
• Country: China, Hong Kong
• Director: Renny Harlin
• Main cast: Nick Cheung, Richie Jen, Zi Yang
• Runtime: 94 minutes
• Production company: Media Asia, Wanda Media Co., Wanda Pictures
This year Finnish-born filmmaker Renny Harlin turned 60 years old. And for the last years he has been living and working in China where he has developed the movie Skiptrace (2016) and Legend of the Ancient Sword (2018). Both of the movies weren’t very good received by both the critics and the audience, and the voices calling that Renny Harlin was over started to fly around. But none of his fans, in which I am included, accepted to approve this fact, we knew that mister Harlin would end up bringing out another explosive action flick, either in China, back to Hollywood, or wherever. The man who started his professional career with titles like Prison (1987) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), and released pivotal movies essential to understand the action genre like Die Hard 2 (1990), The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) or Deep Blue Sea (1999) couldn’t be finished.
And guess what? We were right. Renny Harlin is back with another blast. And the name is Bodies at Rest (2019). The movie is a non-stop action flick that easily could be considered one of the best of the genre this year. The script might be weak, and it is true that it’s filled up with cliches, but the hand of Harlin levitates the movie to a higher point, somewhere only the masters of the genre can take it.
The technique of the narrative in Bodies at Rest (2019) is very Chinese style. If you are into Asian action movies you will know what I am talking about. China and Hong Kong flicks’ way of scripting and acting action scenes have a trademark hard to copy. And Harlin adopts the style and improves it with his own background, covering it all up with his experience. Because he has been one of the best, and he has worked with some of the best. Some of the sequences, especially at the climax of the movie, contain a few of the most impressive action scenes of the year, even though they won’t outstand for their originality.
Besides the intense and adrenaline action, and the performances of the starring trio, the best asset used by the director is the camera. It is true that action movies live mostly off technical tricks, wether being the choreographed fights, the explosions and destruction of the sets, and the dynamic editing to keep the audience glued to their seats. But when all that is covered, it has to be shown, and the camera is the eyes of the spectator. Renny Harlin’s work with the images, their movement, their angle, and their frames was outstanding to a level that in between all the crazy shit going on I could still realize of the great camera job that was being done. And that is something only the chosen directors manage to do. Every frame was planned, and that only makes the experience even more delicious.
I don’t know if this was planned as some kind of a joke or it was coincidental, but Bodies at Rest (2019) has a lot of similar points with the first Die Hard (1988). Both of them are set on the night of Christmas Eve, and in both movies the group of bad guys break into a fancy building with lots of glass, searching for something, and keeping as hostages the occupants of the building. If somebody had to do the Chinese Die Hard (1988), who better than Renny Harlin?
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7937440
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