12 Rounds DVD Review
1 Disc Extreme Cut Rated & Unrated Widescreen Edition (2009)
12 Rounds directed by Renny Harlin, the same guy who directed Die Hard 2, is the story of how Detective Danny Fisher inadvertently set events into motion that resulted in the death of a criminal, Miles Jackson’s girlfriend and the game of revenge Jackson enacts on him a year later by kidnapping Fisher’s girlfriend, Molly. Fisher has to complete impossible action & explosion filled missions in a series of “rounds” to win his woman back.
This movie had a few good ideas in its conception, after all, it sounds like Die Hard 3, right? We all remember the story of the bad guy asking Bruce Willis to complete all these riddles and tasks by certain time frames running all over town as a diversion for him stealing a bunch of money, right? Complete with a team of people willing to help you and a team of people willing to feed the action hero to the wolves? Well, this movie is the same thing, but without the jokes or fun. Don’t get me wrong, destruction in an action movie is always fun, but without some smart quip at the end of it, I felt like something was missing. For one, it takes the characters until almost the end of the movie to put two and two together about Davis’s real objective. It takes itself far too seriously!
John Cena as Detective Fisher has the physical role down with appearance and looks fully able to perform all the stunts and be the maverick tearing down the street and top speed or boosting himself out of an elevator about to fall or jumping from a building. The parts that are more difficult are the quiet moments where he is interacting with people one on one. The director made a choice to show flashes of him thinking about Molly being tied up from time to time, but instead of motivating our hero and spurring him on to do better, work faster, bring her home!…….he gets more hopeless and weary and looks like he’s about to give up. Heroes don’t give up! She’s your woman, it doesn’t matter what the odds are, it’s not over till the fat lady sings buddy. That’s the heart of the action movie and why we love to watch them. Watching this movie, I thought of Peter Pan and wondered if I was supposed to start clapping to show John Cena that yes, I do believe in fairies to give him the proper kick in the butt to get moving.
I have to say that in the beginning of the movie and the end of the movie, he was given a couple funny lines to say and he delivered them well enough to get me to laugh out loud. I am a WWE fan (more rare for girls I know) and I think he is a very charismatic guy, unfortunately an unsure actor. I think if this had been more of a Bruce Willis type of movie with more comedy laced in instead of being such a downer in between explosions, he could have carried it off a bit better. He seemed capable of delivering a funnier role given the chance.
I had some problems with Aidan Gillen who played Miles Jackson. For an actual Irishman, his accent was so all over the place I had difficulty believing his heritage. Once in a great while he’d throw in a heavy “Danny-boy” but then have no accent whatsoever or having it sound southern! Now I know some people with accents don’t have them consistently, but they kept going on and on about him being Irish so I thought a through-line there would have been better. Screw Miles Jackson. What we really needed was some Samuel L. Jackson. That is a man who knows how to yell and be a crazy villain. “They called me Mr. Glass…..”
This movie is worth one watching. Watch the action. Try to forgive Cena. They needed a better script and to LIGHTEN UP!
There is commentary featuring John Cena and the writer, Daniel Kunka. You’ll hear rousing stories of how there came to be a pug named Shorty in this movie and Cena’s fear of heights. From the commentary, you really get the impression that Cena’s a nice guy and really just wants to do his best and he probably knows deep down that he isn’t much of an actor yet but wants to improve. In one scene the writer even remarked, “Hey, you do some real acting here!” Yikes, shouldn’t that happen in every scene? There is also a commentary with the director, Renny Harlin.
There is a stunts featurette that covers Cena learning to drive as a stunt driver and his love of cards and really goes into detail of his fear of heights which really humanizes him I think. There are two alternate endings with commentaries. The alternate endings have very minor differences in dialogue. The gag reel isn’t bloopers so much as vodka, push-ups, and fun on the set.