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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
Yes, I saw this movie. Why? Because it was free. No one expects this to be a groundbreaking action movie that changes the face of the genre. I didn't even expect it to be a decent ripoff. But hey, I had a good time watching this one...it's not going to go down as epic or anything, but it's certainly not the worst product featuring a wrestler in a starring role (Doom, anyone?). This is all well and good, but they should change the title of this film to '12 Rounds of Insanity', because there's no way any of this movie is possible.
That's where the chuckles will begin. The premise of this movie, pretty much 'Saw' crossed with 'Speed', is rather clever - it's the one reason I didn't hate the movie - however, this doesn't change the fact that this is one of the most ridiculous and insane movies of recent memory. I don't mean insane like...cool insane. I mean insane as in that only an insane person could see the events of the film as realistic.
Is Renny Harlin still capable of directing decent action? Sure, as '12 Rounds' doesn't do a bad job supplying some quality stunts and explosions, which, let's face it - is all the audience really wants from this movie. 'Die Hard 2' was a worthy entry in that series (though it may be the most forgettable), but hey, Harlin does pack the movie with enough action and thrills to make it at least somewhat entertaining.
John Cena, as we know, is not an actor...I do not expect him to deliver award worthy work, therefore he does not disappoint. He does have an air of likability about him, but he doesn't have the same level of charisma as most other action stars nowadays. I don't even think he smiles in this movie. Again, is Harlin known for getting great performances? No, so you shouldn't expect anything more. What's kind of sad is that the actors in the movie, the people who actually have that as their first profession, are nothing short of laughable. Ashley Scott in particular was disappointing because of her lack of emotion. Aidan Gillen is a passable villain (though he couldn't have been cheesier if he tried), and is also the character hurt most by the ridiculous events in the script. Brian White as Cena's partner was probably my favorite character and performance in the film.
In short, '12 Rounds' is not a movie that should be taken overly serious. It aims for an audience who expects cool explosions, a fast talking villain, and a ton of action. In that respect, this movie is alright. It's also the first action movie this year that the kids (around 9 or 10 and up) should be okay in, as there's very little language and no sex at all. If you go in with low to modest expectations (or are in the mood for exactly what it promises), '12 Rounds' might just be a decent movie.
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