12 Rounds: Extreme Cut

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
John Cena as Det. Danny Fisher
Aidan Gillen as Miles Jackson
Ashley Scott as Molly Porter
Steve Harris as Special Agent George Aiken
Brian J. White as Det. Hank Carver
Gonzalo Menendez as Special Agent Ray Santiago
Taylor Cole as Erica Kessen
Kyle Russell Clements as Dave Fisher
Peter Navy Tuiasosopo as Willie Dumaine
Travis Davis as Anthony Deluso
Nick Gomez as Samuel
Brian Stanton as FBI Agent Gator
Rosalind Rubin as FBI Agent Sheila
Billy Slaughter as Technician
Kim Collins as Phil the Plumber

Special Features:
Theatrical Version and Extended Version
Audio Commentary by Director Renny Harlin
Audio Commentary by Writer Daniel Kunka and Actor John Cena
A Crash Course: John Cena Stunts
Never-Before Cena Gag Reel
Alternate Endings
Trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 108 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

“When New Orleans Police Detective Danny Fisher (John Cena) stops a brilliant thief from getting away with a multimillion-dollar heist, the thief’s girlfriend is accidentally killed. After escaping from prison, the criminal mastermind enacts his revenge, taunting Danny with 12 rounds of near-impossible puzzles and tasks that he must somehow complete to save the life of the woman he loves.”

“12 Rounds” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.

Mini-Review:
I typically wouldn’t expect much from a movie produced by WWE and starring a wrestler. However, “12 Rounds” seems to set a new standard of quality for these types of films. It has a little bit better script than most of them, better production quality, and better action. While it’s by no means a great film, it shows WWE Studios is capable of doing something more than B-Movie action flicks. Let’s hope they aspire to more.

The plot of “12 Rounds” is essentially the same as “Die Hard With A Vengeance.” The bad guy harasses a cop by forcing him to solve puzzles and making him run all over the city to prevent terrorist acts. Then there’s an identical twist at the end. In that respect “12 Rounds” isn’t imaginative at all. Still, it’s an interesting game of cat and mouse to follow. But “12 Rounds’” saving grace is the action. The scenes, while pretty unrealistic, are generally well executed. There’s a great foot chase where Danny runs through the New Orleans projects in order to catch the bad guy who’s in a car (and obviously doesn’t have GPS). Then there’s a great race involving a fire truck. Any time you have a truck plowing through smaller cars in traffic, I’m entertained. The only weak action scene involved Danny trying to stop a runaway trolley. Danny jumps on it, tries to stop it as the stupid passengers weakly watch him, then jumps off again when he can’t stop it and it hurtles towards a party some idiots have set up on the trolley tracks. It was pretty poorly executed and action veteran Renny Harlin should have known better. But overall the action is engaging.

John Cena continues to be a solid action hero as Det. Danny Fisher. He’s much more a throwback to the action heroes of the ’80s and ’90s. Less the everyman and more the muscle man. But he’s a better actor than Arnold ever was. Cena should follow Arnold’s lead and get into some sci-fi and work with some better scripts. He should also consider working in some ensemble casts with better actors. If he does that, he could have a long career in film. Ashley Scott makes a good damsel in distress as Molly Porter. She’s hot and has a tough side. She inexplicably is able to pilot a helicopter late in the film, but maybe I missed the setup for that. Steve Harris is annoying as the stereotypical federal agent with a chip on his shoulder. His character’s bad judgment and lack of professionalism make you wonder how he has a job. Aidan Gillen makes a decent villain as Miles Jackson, but all his setup as a brilliant criminal is thrown out the window when he makes the mother-of-all stupid getaway plans. It was obviously done to setup the big finish, but there was absolutely no logic to it.

“12 Rounds” is a decent action flick that should please John Cena’s fans. It should also show that Cena’s ready for some better quality material.

The bonus features are slim, but solid. There are two commentaries, an extended version of the movie, a gag reel, and a featurette on the stunts. You certainly appreciate Cena’s stunt skills and you get to see him learning how to drive stunt cars and discuss his fear of heights. There are also a couple of weak alternate endings that are only a few seconds long. Not much worth noting.

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