Born in 15 March 1959 as Renny Lauri Mauritz Harjola, he is the most successful Finnish film director in the history of Hollywood.
Harlin started his career in film business in the beginning of 1980s when he was directing commercials and company films for companies like Shell. Later he worked as a buyer for Finnish film distributor and met Finnish Markus Selin in Los Angeles. They became friends and started writing a screenplay called "Arctic Heat". The project started fast and soon they had Chuck Norris signed on leading role for the film. But with money problems shooting schedule didn't hold and Norris left the project, but Selin and Harlin got Mike Norris for the leading role. They wrote new script, Born American (1986), and got financial help from USA. In the year 1986 Born American (1986) was finished and the most expensive Finnish film ever opened in USA in over 1,000 theaters and reached no 9.
The film wasn't successful in Finland, where it was banned. Harlin moved to Los Ange