An undercover cop infiltrates an underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers looking to bust a hijacking ring, and soon begins to question his loyalties when his new street racing friends become the prime suspects.
Former cop, Brian O'Conner is finally arrested after letting his leader escape the law. To avoid the consequences, he must now work with an old college friend and help the police arrest a local drug exporter.
Uniformed New Orleans PD officer Danny Fisher earns his promotion to detective to his near-rather lucky, albeit brave, arrest of ruthless terrorist arms-dealer Miles Jackson, whose girlfriend Erica Kessen got accidentally killed during the dirty FBI-operation. Exactly a year later, Miles has escaped and blows up Danny's house as foretaste of a Herculean race to accomplish twelve near-impossible tasks against the clock, otherwise his kidnapped wife Molly will be killed. Yet at the end, another master-plan is suspected. Written by
The Marine + Speed + Die Hard: With a Vengeance + Renny Harlin = Good old fashioned, fun action flick.
This type of movies are predictable. Good guy vs. Bad guy. Yes, from the trailer we've all seen it before. We know what's gonna happen next. But what's refreshing about "12 Rounds", the latest John Cena outing, is that it has solid action scenes, that were filmed for real, thus giving the movie an extra edge. All of this is thanks to director Renny Harlin.
I am not ashamed to call myself a fan of Renny Harlin. He, as you may know, is a director who puts his heart in crafting white-knuckle action. Think "Die Hard 2", "Cliffhanger", and "The Long Kiss Goodnight". All of those films contain many thrilling action, most of them filmed practically, without CGI. The film's plot, although a blatant but forgivable rip-off of "DH3" and with elements of "The Marine" works well with Harlin because it is what he does best - making solid action FOR REAL. Two action sequences deserve mention here; Cena's character (unintentionally...I think) using a fire engine to destroy part of New Orleans faster than Hurricane Katrina ever will, and a sequence involving a tram, which is impressive.
As for the acting, it's pretty mediocre at best, but with action movies, it's normal nowadays. John "Matt Damon on steroids" Cena here, however, is a step up from his previous "Marine", here he's more flexible and believable. Brian J. White is okay as his partner, as per his sweetheart, Ashley Scott. The villain played by Aiden Gillen, is what could be the first time I've seen a movie villain be intelligent and annoying at the same time. The rest of the cast, especially the FBI agents, fall flat.
And finally, as far as believability goes, the film is not nearly as ridiculous as "The Marine", it's more realistic. Sure, there are few "ok that's bull" scenes, but there's very little of that, in fact in a scene I thought Cena would become Evel Knievel but thankfully he didn't.
So in short, it's a big, loud, dumb, and fun time waster. See it for the action only. It's a big breath of fresh air after CGI laden DTV nonsense. Glad to see Harlin back doing what he does best; old school action.
Entertainment value: 7.5/10
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