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Director Renny Harlin’s Essential Genre Films, Ranked

He’s right behind me, isn’t he? Exorcist: The BeginningImage: Morgan CreekThese days, Finland-born director Renny Harlin is mostly known as Geena Davis’ ex-husband who directed her in the infamous Cutthroat Island. But his long and occasionally strange career encompasses way more than that. For instance: super-smart sharks! Though his recent credits reflect his segue into the Chinese film industry—including 2016’s Skiptrace, a buddy cop flick that paired Jackie Chan with Johnny Knoxville—his filmography is heavy on action movies, most of which don’t fall within the usual realm of “genre.” That’s why Die Hard 2 and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane aren’t on here—sorry, Bruce Willis and Andrew Dice Clay superfans—but we’ll admit we did stretch the boundaries with a couple of these.Also, we left off 2014’s The Legend of Hercules (not the 2014 Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson; Harlin’s movie starred Twilight second banana Kellan Lutz) because it sucks.6) Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)In 2004 and 2005, two different versions of what’s basically The Exorcist IV (though both are prequels) hit theaters. Studio execs who weren’t pleased with Paul Schrader’s take on the material (in a film titled Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist) hired Harlin to “retool” the film into Exorcist: The Beginning, then ended up giving Schrader the cash to finish his film anyway. Neither film emerged the winner when it came to reviews—Schrader’s was generally deemed superior, but not by much—though Harlin’s film, which came out several months prior to Schrader’s and received a wider release, did better at the box office. G/O Media may get a commissionFifteen-plus years later, all that directorial scrambling feels like just another silly footnote in Hollywood’s eternal quest to make a profit by any means necessary. Exorcist: The Beginning is set in 1949 and stars Stellan Skarsgård as a younger yet al
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