Bodies At Rest (NC16)

Starring Nick Cheung, Richie Jen, Yang Zi

Directed by Renny Harlin

Once upon a time in Hollywood, Renny Harlin was the s***, the big-time Finnish director of Die Hard II: Die Harder and Cliffhanger. Those were his monster hits. Then came the career-stalling aquatic turd Cutthroat Island and he’s no longer the s***. (To be fair, Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea are overlooked in his post-Cutthroat Island filmography.) 

These days, Harlin, 60, is a hired gun in China, where he made Skiptrace, the risible Jackie Chan-Johnny Knoxville-starring action-comedy, and the barely-released Wang Leehom-led period fantasy Legend of the Ancient Sword. His latest, a fairly nifty and lean thriller, may earn back some goodwill from fans of his early catalogue. 

Nick Cheung stars as a forensic pathologist who spends Christmas Eve trapped in a mortuary with a trio of masked trigger-happy thugs (with Richie Jen as the unhinged leader). The baddies are there to recover a piece of incriminating evidence lodged inside a cadaver, but the resourceful doc isn’t giving in without a fight. But every time he outsmarts his captors, he gets caught by them. 

Harlin does a decent job at milking suspense from the Die Hard in a Morgue-meets-Panic Room situation, but there is a few occasions where you can’t help but groan out loud, like a go-nowhere backstory linking the hero with the villain, and the annoyingly dumb mistakes committed by the doc’s assistant, played by Yang Zi. Why, woman, why? (***)

Photos: Golden Village