12 Rounds DVD Review
(WWE's John Cena stars in 12 Rounds)
Not long ago, John Cena decided to go the route of WWE predecessor The Rock, and start in on his movie career. His first attempt was the movie "The Marine" and it received mixed reviews, although none were too positive on Cena's acting. In that movie, Cena played a Marine who came home to work as a security guard, whose girlfriend wound up being kidnapped by some bank robber villains. Cena had to chase after them and play invincible action star to save his girl. "12 Rounds" has Cena in just about the same role and plot, only this time with some better actors, directing, and special effects around.
Cena's follow-up role is in the Reny Harlin film, 12 Rounds, set in New Orleans, Louisiana. This time Cena plays Officer Danny Fisher who ends up pissing off the wrong psychotic criminal. In the opening scenes, the FBI's working a sting operation to bust the villain Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen) in a weapons exchange deal. Things go awry and we see just how nasty the villain can get. The FBI calls in available police units for backup to find the escaped villain, and that puts Danny into the middle of the situation. The villain tries to make an escape with his beautiful girlfriend, but she ends up getting killed as Cena tries to arrest them. Miles goes to prison, but it's not long before he's out to wreak havoc on Cena by blowing up his home and kidnapping his girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott). From there, Cena becomes part of a game of "12 Rounds" where he must endure various tasks in order to keep his girlfriend alive and eventually find her. Many will find the plot very similar to Die Hard with a Vengeance where Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson also had to endure tasks set up by the mastermind villain.
In terms of progression, this movie's definitely a step up from The Marine for Cena. The plot's a bit more compelling, there's more interesting characters and better special effects. Even some of the jokes are laughable. But as with most action flicks there are also a fair share of implausible scenarios and weak plot concepts. One of those concepts is the idea that Cena's character can get to any location within about two minutes, whether on foot or in a car. Another is being able to outsmart a bomb after it's timer has hit 0:00. The scenes do seem rushed together in terms of all the various resources being put together for each part of the game, but then again, this is a movie. Some of the lines used also seem used before in action movies such as "this guy's really starting to annoy me", "Sorry!" and "C'mon Danny don't be no cowboy!" Then again the guy in charge of the flick also worked on Die Hard, which was noted when the movie was being promoted. The movie features notable actor Steve Harris who starred in ABC's "The Practice" and several movies. Harris actually shows the most talent of the bunch, as he should.
John Cena also continues to progress in terms of his on-screen movie acting, but he's not quite near the level of The Rock yet. We've all seen Cena's work on WWE shows and in the ring, but it's not the same when you're on screen. With most actors though, it takes time and Cena seems to have that on his side as he juggles his WWE duties with his silver screen acting attempts. As Cena gets more and more roles, hopefully he'll progress beyond WWE Films too and start carving out a solid action star niche. I recommend 12 Rounds, only because it outdoes The Marine, and is probably one of the better WWE Films action movies.
The film clocks in at 1:48 and includes both the theatrical version and an unrated version. As for special features there's Alternate Endings, trailers, "A Crash Course: John Cena Stunts" documentary and a Never-before-Cena Gag Reel.
12 Rounds is currently available on regular DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon.com.