Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Renny Harlin!

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Movie Jail

This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

The Case

The Prosecution: The Legend of Hercules, 5 Days of War, 12 Rounds, Cleaner, The Covenant, Exorcist: The Beginning, Mindhunters, Driven, Cutthroat Island

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this should be an open-and-shut case. Director Renny Harlin has been polluting cinemas with his films (when they do actually make it into theaters) for decades now, and it's time to make him pay for his crimes. Mr. Harlin is responsible for one of the biggest box office flops of all time, has recently been working on shitty direct to DVD films, and his last movie is so terrible, it makes Uwe Boll's films look like masterpieces.

Mr. Harlin's career was doing just fine until Cutthroat Island was released. The film bankrupted an entire production company, and was an absolute disaster. If you've never seen the Geena Davis movie, you're a lucky bastard, because it is the definition of terrible. Although Cutthroat Island was a huge bomb and an awful movie, Mr. Harlin followed it up with two decent films with The Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea, so it's not like he was banished from Hollywood for his previous failure.

But maybe he should have been because since then, Mr. Harlin hasn't worked on anything remotely good. Driven was boring with awful race scenes, and Mindhunters is just an ugly mess. Mr. Harlin was also brought in to "fix" Paul Schrader's Exorcist movie, however Mr. Harlin's version is definitely the worse of the two. The Covenant might have its fans, but the prosecution has to wonder if those people were on hard drugs when they watched it if they truly believe that movie is any good.

How is it possible Mr. Harlin is still getting job offers? Granted your career as a director can't be going that well if one of your last jobs was for a movie that stars John Cena, but seriously, why is this man still working in film? Maybe The Legend of Hercules will be the final nail in the coffin for Mr. Harlin's career, but the prosecution isn't going to take any chances. Send his ass to Movie Jail folks, he deserves it.

The Defense: Devil's Pass, Deep Blue Sea, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Prison

Ladies and gentlemen, there's no point in defending some of Mr. Harlin's movies. Everyone knows about Cutthroat Island, and yes, some of his other films have been less than stellar. But he's done some great work in the past, and the defense believes he's still capable of delivering a good movie.

Mr. Harlin may have helmed a huge critical and financial failure with Cutthroat Island, however most of his early movies were profitable, and fans loved them. Many (including Robert Englund) consider A Nightmare on Elm Steet 4: The Dream Master to be one of the best entries in the horror series, and although not as good as the first and third films, Die Hard 2 is still pretty awesome. Cliffhanger is an excellent 90s action thriller, and even though it didn't perform that well in theaters, The Long Kiss Goodnight is a very solid movie. Mr. Harlin's The Adventures of Ford Fairlane isn't the best comedy ever and most critics didn't care for it when it was released, however the defense still thinks it's a very funny and ridiculous movie.

But these movies are all at least fourteen years old, so the jury is probably thinking to themselves, "What has Mr. Harlin done for me lately?" To be honest, his recent films haven't been great, but Devil's Pass is a decent horror movie. It has flaws, but the defense still thinks it's one of the better found footage films. More than anything though, Devil's Pass is proof that Mr. Harlin can still direct a good movie. Maybe not great or amazing, but still enjoyable. Mr. Harlin has also done some fine work in television recently, directing episodes of Graceland, White Collar, and Burn Notice. Maybe he should stick to television since he hasn't done that well with movies as of late, but the defense definitely doesn't think he should be sent to Movie Jail.


Should Mr. Harlin be tossed in a jail cell with the likes of Brett Ratner and Rob Cohen, or should he walk? Does the jury have any confidence in Mr. Harlin behind a camera, or is he finished as a director? Is Renny Harlin GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?


*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyways, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.



Are you guys getting soft or something? Jennifer Garner was found NOT GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial. The jury agreed with the prosecution that most of Jennifer Garner's films have been terrible, but said they still like the actress, and thought she was awesome on television's Alias. The jury also said they think the actress is quite likable and very cute, and those qualities definitely helped Miss Garner more than her filmography.


GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr. , Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher, Happy Madison Productions, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Paul W.S. Anderson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Renee Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Milla Jovovich, John Singleton, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Brian De Palma, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Freddy Krueger (Halloween Special), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner


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