Posted: 07/06/2009


12 Rounds


by Del Harvey

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12 Rounds is a testosterone-filled action flick showcasing rising action and WWE star John Cena as a New Orleans policeman caught up in the search for a terrorist. The film isn’t so bad, once you get past the awkward editing choices and bad direction of Renny Harlin, a filmmaker whose flops outnumber his successes. At least Cena proves he can rise above one bad filmmaker and hold his own for - you guessed it - 12 Rounds.

A brilliant killer with a score to settle is putting Detective Danny Fisher to the ultimate test when Cena stops him from getting away with a multi-million dollar heist and the killer’s girlfriend is accidentally killed during the ensuing chase. After escaping from prison, the criminal sets about enacting his revenge, taunting the cop with a series of near-impossible puzzles and tasks involving lots of explosives, runaway buses, and car chases too many to count… which the killer coldly calls ‘12 Rounds’… that Fisher must somehow complete to save the life of his fiancée.

12 Rounds explodes with an unrated “Extreme Cut” on Blu-ray with Digital Copy and DVD June 30 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. WWE Superstar John Cena (The Marine) stars as Fisher, a New Orleans police officer playing a vicious game of cat and mouse after spoiling the multi-million dollar heist plan of an Irish arms dealer. When the thief’s girlfriend is accidentally killed in the melee he vows revenge, breaking out of prison and putting Fisher through a series of mental and physical challenges in order to save his kidnapped fiancée. With the clock ticking, Danny struggles to keep his focus as he races through The Big Easy completing each dangerous game and hoping he is still standing at the end of 12 Rounds.

Directed by Renny Harlin (his decent films include Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger; his indecent ones are too numerous to mention), 12 Rounds features supporting performances from Ashley Scott (“Jericho,” Walking Tall) and Aidan Gillen (HBO’s “The Wire”).

The Blu-ray disc and DVD are loaded with special features including both the theatrical and extended “Extreme Cut” of the film, commentary by Harlin, Cena and first-time writer Daniel Kunka (whose overuse of senseless cliches comes to light a few too many times), plus two behind-the-scenes featurettes, two alternate endings, a never-before “Cena” gag reel and more.

The Blu-ray disc featuring Digital Copy also includes additional bonus featurettes and viral.

Blu-ray Specs:
The 12 Rounds Unrated Blu-ray disc is presented in widescreen format, 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, along with English and Spanish subtitles. Individual disc bonus features as follows:

o Rated and extended “Extreme Cut” of the film
o Commentary by Director Renny Harlin, Writer Daniel Kunka and John Cena
o Two alternate endings
o “Crash Course: John Cena Stunts” featurette
o “Never-before-seen Cena gag reel” featurette
o “Streetcar Crossing: Film with Caution” featurette (BD exclusive)
o “12 Bonus Rounds: Making Magic Behind-the-Scenes” featurette (BD exclusive)
o “Keeping Score: The Music of 12 Rounds” featurette (BD exclusive)
o Round and Round with Director Renny Harlin and John Cena (BD exclusive)
o Viral Videos (BD exclusive)
o BD live bootstrap (BD exclusive)

Standard DVD Specs:
The 12 Rounds Single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen format, 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 Dolby Surround and Spanish and French Dolby Surround, along with English and Spanish subtitles. The disc includes all special features as listed above unless noted as BD exclusive.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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