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  Publicity Stills of
"12 Rounds"
(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Renny Harlin
Cast: John Cena, Steve Harris, Ashley Scott, Aidan Gillen, Brian White
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG (Violence)
Official Website: http://www.foxinternational.com/12rounds

Opening Day: 26 March 2009


WWE champion John Cena is New Orleans Police Detective Danny Baxter.  When Baxter stops a brilliant thief from getting away with a multi-million-dollar heist, the thief’s girlfriend is accidentally killed.  After escaping from prison, the criminal mastermind enacts his revenge, taunting the cop with a series of near-impossible puzzles and tasks …12 rounds…that Baxter must somehow complete to save the life of his own fiancée.

Movie Review:

With all it’s theatric drama and action going on in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), it doesn’t take a genius to figure that branching out into the movie arena would be one of the most profitable options for them. In it’s stable, there are already storyline scriptwriters who had been churning out dramas that kept fans hooked and popular muscular wrestlers with their respective fan base which promise more profit.

12 Rounds marks the fourth theatrical movie outing under the banner of WWE Studio and like all the previous WWE movies such as See No Evil, The Marine and The Condemned, this movie is basically a B grade movie with a couple redeeming factors.

First of all, John Cena lacks Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)’s screen presence caliber. John Cena’s square-ish facial features and wooden expression does very little to captivate audience into feeling for his character. There are some guys that look good in front of the camera and there are some that don’t. The problem is that John Cena has a very good look for an average American but lacks that something special for a lead role (which Dwayne Johnson is able to deliver). His range of expression felt rather limited and it was so much more interesting to watch the performance of his side kick cop Det. Hank Carver (Brian J. White) and his arch enemy Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen) in 12 Rounds.

Then comes the plot/subplots and it’s various plot holes. The extortion acts on a hero which forces him into doing various difficult acts in a city setting had been done before and if one need a film to refer to, it would be Die Hard with a Vengeance (that Die Hard film which was not directed by Renny Harlin).

But then even a stale o’recycled plot could be fun as the director Renny Harlin managed to kept things going in 12 Rounds, delivering a kinetic action movie experience that was entertaining to follow. (One thing to note, it was so kinetic that every scene contains movement and felt like the filmmakers was throwing every known cinematographic ticks into this movie that it became unsettling after the halfway mark) Even the plot holes that usually irked serious viewers were a whole lot of fun. Fun as in there are plenty of events in this movie that deserve to be included in the "100 things I learned from 12 Rounds" on imdb.

In case you are unaware of this term, "100 things I learn from <insert movie title>" actually points out the absurd and silly things that the characters did in a movie and it’s a lot of fun to spot. Such as a Police detective could frontline a Fire fighter’s operation just because he got a relative in the Fire department. There are plenty of such silly moments in 12 Rounds but it’s kept one awake and amused at the far fetch things that occurs for the convenient of the plot’s progression.

There is no qualms that 12 Pounds is a B grade movie that’s having a theatrical release but it’s a fun B grade movie (whether it’s intentional or not) to watch. This film project also felt like it’s an aid for New Orleans (which had been badly battered by Hurricane Katrina), in particular promoting it’s tourism and honoring the civil services like the police force, the firemen and the medical services. For a good cause, it just makes it even harder to put ones’ thumb down on 12 Rounds.

Movie Rating:

(So B grade that it’s entertaining to watch)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. Die Hard 4 (2007)

. The Condemned (2007)

. See No Evil (2006)

. 16 Blocks (2005)

. Mindhunters (2004)

. Cleaner DVD (2007)

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