Blu-ray Review 12 Rounds
Directed by: Renny Harlin Cast: John Cena, Aiden Gillen, Ashley Scott Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins Rating: PG-13 Due Out: June 30, 2009
Plot: To avenge the accidental killing of his girlfriend, a master thief (Gillen) kidnap's a policeman's (Cena) wife and forces the cop to follow twelve difficult steps to get her back before it's too late.
Who's It For? If destruction, explosions and fast cars sounds like the weekday afternoon of your dreams, then this Round is for you.
John Cena will do anything for love. He’ll stop an out of control streetcar, dive onto a helicopter in midair, pull a man with “unfortunate girth” through an elevator escape hatch, and even turn a fire truck into a speeding bulldozer to save the woman that means more to him than the entire city of New Orleans. That’s just a sampling of the crazy “rounds” that Cena’s character Danny is put through by evil mastermind Miles Jackson (who is a mix between a wannabe Jeremy Irons in Die Hard With A Vengeance and Richard Gere’s awful accent in The Jackal).
Directed by Renny Harlin, who has Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea nuzzled in a pretty brainless resume, the simplicity of 12 Rounds recalls an earlier age of action films where the excitement was more about the follow through than the set up (such as in Cliffhanger). 12 Rounds is similar to these films in that it has enough explosions and just the right amount of an attention span to be respected as a movie that fills out the action genre checklist. While logic is as much of a primary concern as acting, it’s worth noting that this movie is actually a step away from Cena's disastrous and hilarious The Marine, and one step toward the wrestler being as notable an action star as the other familiar faces that fill up the five-dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart. (Which is not a bad thing. Consider it a type of hall of fame).
Two Alternate Endings: The final scene changes only a smidgen with the changing of the last couple of lines. Both “alternate endings” show that while Cena can walk away from an exploded helicopter like a champion, he can’t joke about it without sounding like a dunce. For all we know, these lines could have been outtakes, or even more possibly, on-set goofs.
Never Before Cena Gag Reel: This is not a gag reel with dropped footage from the film, but rather goofy moments from the set. Everyone talks about how important humor was to the set in keeping his or her spirits up, etc. Did they not see the scene where he pulled the fat guy out of the elevator?
Keeping Score - The Music of 12 Rounds: A brief behind the scenes look at Trevor Rabin of rock band Yes working on the score of the film. Always funny to see serious musicians playing frantically to footage one wouldn't necessary correlate with their artfulness.
A Crash Course - John Cena Stunts: A large majority of the stunts were done by Cena himself. However, while this feature does showcase his new skills as a professional stuntdriver, he also gives the other stuntmen in 12 Rounds their due praise. This may also be the one and only time we get to see Cena admit he's afraid of something, as much of the extra shows footage of the wrestler slowly facing his fear of heights.
The other extras:
Streetcar Crossing: Film with Caution Featurette 12 Bonus Round Featurettes Round and Round with Renny and John Featurette Viral Videos: "Hands" and "Helicopter" Unrated Version Commentary by Director Renny Harlin Unrated Version Commentary by Writer Danny Kunka and Actor John Cena Digital Copy of 12 Rounds Theatrical Version Unrated Version
Extras Score: 9/10
Action fans who can appreciate when an amount of explosions and speeding car chases is used to cover up a movie’s cracks in a leaky plot will find this to be a more than decent rental. All of their aforementioned primal cravings will be satiated by an overwhelming amount of special features that just elaborate on the goodness of watching various objects and vehicles (not to mention cameras) meet their doom.
There's something kind of emotional about this big, hulking, John-Cena of a film. All of Danny's recklessness is inspired by his undeniable desire for his special lady. On top of that, those who have a special place in their heart for watching stuff get blown up will probably understand what 12 Rounds really is - one of the most romantic movies in recent memory.
Final Score: 7/10