Whenever athletes turn to acting, I always get a little ache in my stomach. Everyone knows how painful it is to watch someone who was successful at one thing try to expand out into a void they just can't fill. At least with athletes-gone-actors, there's usually plenty of bright, pretty explosions to keep you occupied in between the uncomfortable awkwardness of poorly delivered lines.
That being said, 12 Rounds wasn't actually painful to watch. John Cena carried the role from start to finish and... there were plenty of bright, pretty explosions, too. However the ride is only fun because it's comfortable. This movie is just a rehash of several successful action flicks mishmashed together. Did you like Speed? Well, we have a runaway mass transit vehicle for you! Did you like Blown Away? Well there's bombs and the bad guy's Irish! Did you like Cena's first movie, The Marine? Well we kidnapped his love interest again! How about Die Hard 3? Well we have....oh wait...this movie pretty much IS Die Hard 3.
And saying that John Cena carried the role isn't exactly worthy of a gold star; the part is so generic, you could just pick your favorite action star and plug them right into the role and it would do very little to change the feel and look of the movie. Cena's acting is just good enough to portray a proper action star, but whenever the role calls for any emotion other than anger or ass-kicking, it feels"edited-in" rather than properly portrayed by Cena.
The plot involves a New Orleans cop, Danny Fisher (Cena), who gets caught up chasing the antagonist Miles Jackson, an Irish arms dealer (Aidan Gillen) who keeps forgetting he's supposed to have an accent. At the end of the pursuit, Miles' girlfriend Erica (Taylor Cole) makes a break for it and gets smeared on the pavement by a truck. Miles blames Fisher, and a year later, he escapes from prison to exact a convoluted revenge plot.
From here on out, the movie pretty much follows Die Hard 3. Fisher has to solve puzzles within strict time constraints in order to get his kidnapped girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott) back safely within twelve rounds of Miles' "game". There are bombs, city blocks being shut down, running, driving, phone calls, and it ends with a bank getting robbed. It really does sound like Die Hard 3: Redux, doesn't it?
Director Renny Harlin had a few flicks you might remember from the 1990s: The Long Kiss Goodnight, Die Hard 2, and Cliffhanger to name three, and 12 Rounds really comes off feeling like Harlin is trying to relive the glory days of 1990's action rather than bring something new and interesting to the screen.
In the end, this is a great film to go rent if you're just looking for a fun way to kill a couple of hours. For a generic action film, it does all the right things right. Besides, action fans don't need silly things like continuity, Oscar-nods, and an evolved plot, right? Just give us those pretty pretty explosions.
There are plenty of extras on the DVD, however it seems that none of the extras, aside from the two commentary tracks (one by Harlin, the other by Cena and Kunka), deliver on their title.
A Crash Course: John Cena Stunts is interesting for sure, but instead of being a overall general bit about stunts, it focuses mainly on two things: Cena's stunt driving and him rapelling down a wall despite his fear of heights.
Never-before Cena Gag Reel doesn't have very many actual "gags" besides the pun in its title. This piece is more about showing how much fun the cast and crew had during filming. The funniest part was the punishment system that evolved on set wherein cast members that made a mistake had to do pushups while saying that they're someone's "bitch".
Alterntte endings includes two alternate endings: "You just won the lotto" and "we just got engaged", both with optional commentary by Renny Harlin, Daniel Kunka, and John Cena. However, neither are really "Alternate endings" so much as just "Alternate dialogue", especially when compared to the extended version on the disc.
"You just won the lotto" is just a very slightly different take on the same ending, with only one extra line thrown in. You get a cookie if you can guess what the extra line is!
"We just got engaged" strays a little further from the beaten path, including a conversation with the hot tub couple at the end of the movie.
Last on the extras roster are trailers for Possession, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, and the Betrayed.