12 Rounds Renny Harlin

12 Rounds Renny Harlin
I finished watching 12 Rounds 15 minutes before I started writing this review. It might as well have been 15 years because I'm drawing a blank. I stare at the DVD case. The name "John Cena" appears above the title. John Cena… wasn't he one of the Monty Python guys? Nope, a Google search informs me that he is a WWE wrestler. Oh, wait, it's starting to come back. In 12 Rounds he plays Danny Fisher, a New Orleans police detective who gets a call from a madman he arrested (Aidan Gillen). Said madman has escaped from prison, kidnapped his girlfriend (Ashley Scott), and is forcing our hero to complete 12 difficult tasks all across New Orleans to save her life. "It's Die Hard with a Vengeance meets 24 meets that phone-booth/running scene in Dirty Harry" was undoubtedly heard at the pitch meeting. Die Hard 2 auteur Renny Harlin directs, riding high on a winning streak, including such mega-blockbusters as Driven, Mindhunters, and Exorcist: The Beginning. 12 Rounds is primarily a vehicle for the dubious talents of John Cena. I hate to be unkind, but movies may not be the direction Mr. Cena should be heading. Hearing him butcher complex lines like "hello" with his flat diction and glassy-eyed facial expression is an unpleasant, vaguely queasy experience. Granted, even Olivier would have trouble with the cornball clichés of Daniel Kunka's thuddingly routine script, and maybe Harlin should be commended for his bold, subversive decision to build an action movie around a star with no charisma whatsoever. Becoming emotionally invested in a character is so overrated. 12 Rounds achieves a certain basic level of competence — it looks good and chugs along at a quick pace — but you've seen everything this movie has to offer many times before, many times better. I'd say it's slightly better than the average direct-to-video Steven Seagal movie. Well, if memory serves. The DVD contains both unrated and theatrical cuts. Extras include two commentaries, a stunts documentary, and a "Never-Before-Cena Gag Reel." Gag. (Fox)