12 Rounds

"Weak"

12 Rounds Review


You might think that 12 Rounds is the exact same movie as The Marine, an already-forgotten 2007 action movie also starring wrestler-turned-pretty-much-still-just-a-wrestler John Cena, but you'd be wrong. In The Marine, Cena plays an unstoppable marine whose wife gets kidnapped by very bad men. In 12 Rounds, Cena plays an unstoppable police officer whose girlfriend gets kidnapped by a very bad Irishman. Completely different.

Cena, to his credit, shows slightly more dimension in his second starring vehicle. As Detective Danny Fisher, he expresses a surprising (for an action hero) amount of guilt over a bust of master criminal/terrorist Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen), the aforementioned Irishman, which resulted in the accidental death of Jackson's equally psychotic lady love. Exactly one year later, as both the subtitles and expositional dialogue tell us, Jackson resurfaces to exact his revenge: He takes Fisher's beloved Molly (Ashley Scott), and puts the cop through a series of death-defying stunts.

In contrast to the elemental stupidity of The Marine, the setup I just described in a paragraph (and the film's trailer conveys in about 30 seconds) takes 12 Rounds about half an hour to explain, complete with even more exposition squawked over police and FBI radio -- strange how the lawmen always remind each other who the bad guy is and what he's done right before they move in on him. Neither the excessive exposition nor the Danny Fisher character development is particularly skillful or entertaining, but they at least show a little effort.

Further Cena progress can be traced through the types of movies his newest endeavor rips off. While The Marine was eighties-style junk, 12 Rounds, with its villain's taunting phone calls and vehicular near-homicides, is more reminiscent of a Die Hard or Speed knock-off from the mid-nineties. It's even directed by Renny Harlin, who made Die Hard 2, as well as Deep Blue Sea and The Long Kiss Goodnight; at his best, he masters the art of the slick knock-off.

Harlin's direction of 12 Rounds is slick, too -- so slick that the movie slips and slides between unrelated set pieces with restless, constant motion. This despite the heavy machinery of said pieces, which most often involve creative use of vehicles: a hurtling boat used to stop a car, a fire engine driven on a train platform, or a car used to cut off a trolley's electrical supply.

That last bit, with Cena nonchalantly hopping between his car and the runaway trolley, is actually sort of fun. Also fun, or at least laugh-out-loud funny: the climactic moment in which Fisher tussles with the bad guy, and his girlfriend helpfully calls out: "Danny, he's got a gun!" She'd be great on the police radio.

But even with those hilarious bits and the incremental technical advancement it shows from the humble beginnings of The Marine, 12 Rounds suffers from more or less the same problem: it's stupid, but not quite delightfully stupid. Cena's brawn doesn't have much personality, nor does it achieve a transcendent lack of personality. His movies are instant relics, narrowly escaping a horrific direct-to-DVD death. For now.

Vows one day to make a movie with The Rock.



12 Rounds

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th March 2009

Box Office USA: $12.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $17.3M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: WWE Studios, Fox Atomic, The Mark Gordon Company, Midnight Sun Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Becki Cross Trujillo, , , Mike Lake, Josh McLaughlin,

Starring: as Det. Danny Fisher, as Molly Porter, Brian J. White as Det. Hank Carver, as Miles Jackson, as Special Agent George Aiken, Gonzalo Menendez as Special Agent Ray Santiago, as Erica Kessen, Kyle Russell Clements as Dave Fisher, Peter "Navy" Tuiasosopo as Willie Dumaine, Travis Davis as Anthony Deluso, as Samuel, Rosalind Rubin as FBI Agent Sheila, Billy Slaughter as Technician

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.