John Cena has enjoyed a successful career in wrestling, but his acting career has been a little less than stellar. With only two feature films under his belt, neither have performed admirably and have, in fact, been failures. His first effort, The Marine, pulled in barely over $20 million worldwide while his much more heavily promoted 12 Rounds scraped it’s way to a worldwide total of less than $15 million. Unfortunately for fans of John Cena, his acting career doesn’t seem to have the chance of taking off the same way as Dwayne Johnson’s did.
When New Orleans Police Detective Danny Fisher (John Cena) 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 Fisher must somehow complete to save the life of his fiancé.
On the outset, 12 Rounds is a perfectly fine action film that has a decent revenge angle to get you riled up enough to kind of care about what’s happening to our characters on screen, but when you strip it down it’s really no better than your average…well, average film. There’s action abound in this film, but even so I was quite bored for the 100 minutes or so the film ran. Even the “Extreme Cut” offered little else than your usual run and gun antics.
The “love of my life stolen from me” angle is satisfyingly by the books and the whole scenario of Cena’s character being played by a man he’d wronged (accidentally) in the past was predictable, but even through all of this I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a watered down version of a Die Hard flick. There just wasn’t anything original or truly thrilling to behold here and I’m genuinely at a loss for words, simply because there’s absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about this film.
Well, I could go on and complain about the idiocy of this film (spontaneous helicopter piloting skills only work The Matrix), but it seems like a giant waste of time. It’s a pure mind-numbing action flick that is held together by a single thread and as soon as you start to analyze a certain goings on on the screen, you entire film begins to crumble to pieces around you. It’s a very predictable, very lackluster, and very stupid film to spend your time on and I cannot imagine why anyone would want to spend much time with this one…unless you’re hard up to see Ashley Scott in something again, but as easy on the eyes as she is, not even her on screen presence can make it enjoyable.
I’d hoped for maybe just a mindless action flick, but this one has absolutely no legs to stand on. It starts out gasping for air and by the end it’s whimpering on its death bed as you beg for someone to just pull the plug and let it be over with. It’s not flat out awful so much as its mediocrity just turns you off to the point where you want nothing more to do with it. I’d much rather hate or love a film for its negative or positive qualities, but 12 Rounds really just doesn’t have enough of either to make them worthwhile to talk about nor watch.
Overall this is a film that is easily Skipped. There just isn’t anything here to indulge in, even if you do enjoy a good action flick now and then.
Fox has released 12 Rounds in a standard Elite Blu-ray two-disc case (second disc is the digital copy) with the usual inserts that include the digital copy redemption code. The casing itself is an eco-friendly case full of holes and the menus for the film are nicely done. Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded (@26mbps) effort that, being a modern film and all, easily impresses. Great colors, great visuals (in terms of action), and pretty much just a solid transfer from beginning to end. Grain levels are strong and while there are touches of softness here and there, for the most part this film looks as good as its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix sounds, with rambunctious bass and plentiful surrounds.
Rated and extended “Extreme Cut” of the film
Unrated Commentary by Director Renny Harlin
Unrated Commentary by Writer Daniel Kunka and John Cena
Two alternate endings
“Crash Course: John Cena Stunts” featurette
“Never-before-seen Cena gag reel” featurette
“Streetcar Crossing: Film with Caution” featurette (BD exclusive)
“12 Bonus Rounds: Making Magic Behind-the-Scenes” featurette (BD exclusive)
“Keeping Score: The Music of 12 Rounds” featurette (BD exclusive)
Round and Round with Director Renny Harlin and John Cena (BD exclusive)
Viral Videos (BD exclusive)
Plenty of extras to check out and the dual commentaries are overkill, but for those who enjoyed the film (for whatever reason), you have plenty of cookie cutter extras to go along with the film. But, like the film, these just aren’t worth watching; plentiful as they may be, they just don’t have much quality behind them. Skip It.
12 Rounds is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.