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

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

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.