Netflixable? Korean thriller “A Hard Day” becomes an inferior French photocopy — “Restless (Sans epit)”

It’s a crying shame Netflix doesn’t have the 2014 Korean thriller “A Hard Day” loaded up and ready for a compare-and-contrast take on “Restless,” the new French film based on it.

From the looks of “Restless,” that’s entirely by design. This comically-absurd but never quite comical tale of a corrupt cop covering his tracks in an investigation that should point straight at him could only suffer in that comparison.

The dirty cop (Franck Gastambide) has hit somebody with his car, stuffed the body in the trunk and used his jacket to cover the corpse. Where’s his ID when he runs into a National Guard roadblock? In the jacket. How’s he talk his way out of this “Step out of the car. We’re going to need to look in the trunk” (dubbed, or in French with English subtitles) trap?

I’d say “Don’t ask,” but this early first act stumble sets the tone. Lt. Blin starts a brawl and gets maced. And they still don’t look in the trunk of the BMW with the busted headlight and windshield, still don’t see the ID of the cop who just assaulted them.

The whole damned movie is like this.

Det. Blin is getting warnings from his precinct (in the provinces) that Internal Affairs is raiding the station. His mother’s dead in the hospital. His little girl is in the care of his sister. And now he’s just run over some dude in the middle of nowhere.

Why not stuff the body into his mother’s coffin? All that’ll take is disabling hospital CCTV cameras, fishing his mother’s corpse out of the morgue via ventilation shafts with the help of a crawling, occasionally-stopping to “shoot,” mechanical soldier toy, opening a coffin, resealing it with the accident victim in it and forgetting to search the dead dude for his phone.

If you thought the toy making a racket in an air duct was noisy, wait’ll you hear the dead guy’s ring tone from inside a coffin.

“Restless,” titled “Sans répit”in French, is one ridonculous situation like that after another. There was a “witness” to the accident who keeps calling. A much older cop (Simon Abkarian) storms into the police station and beats the hell out of muscular young-buck Blin, in front of witnesses. And there are zero consequences.

Gastambide is right on the cusp of adequate in playing a corrupt cop on the verge of panicking. Abkarian is menacing enough to suggest he can still hold his own in a fight. But the performances are generally on a par with the screenplay — perfunctory.

No stand-off, trap or showdown is so simple that it can’t be rendered idiotically over-complicated and insanely illogical by the screenwriters.

Director and co-writer Régis Blondeau turned in a version of “A Hard Day” that’s 15 minutes shorter than the Korean original, by Seong-hun Kim. Blondeau must have left all the parts that helped it make sense.

Rating: TV-MA, violence, profanity

Cast: Franck Gastambide, Simon Abkarian, Michaël Abiteboul and Tracy Gotoas

Credits: Directed by Régis Blondeau, scripted by Régis Blondeau and Julien Colombani. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:36

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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