'12 Rounds (Unrated)'
(John Cena, Ashley Scott, et al / DVD / NR / 2009 / Twentieth Century Fox)
Overview: A brilliant killer with a score to settle is putting Detective Danny Fisher to the ultimate test when 12 Rounds explodes with an unrated “Extreme Cut” on Blu-ray with Digital Copy and DVD June 30 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
DVD Verdict: OK, let's start with Cena. This is his second film and the wrestler is being groomed to become a movie star. But from the first moment he appears on screen, you immediately realize he has to have been a wrestler; he is massive and looks like an oak tree, so it will be difficult for him to play a variety of roles. But I don't say this simply because of his physical stature. I say this because of his lack of screen charisma. He is just so, well, joyless in his acting!
However, Cena certainly appears earnest in his attempted portrayal of Danny. But he never really seems to have any chemistry with Molly, the love of his life. In fact, he simply looks scared every time they appear together on screen. Maybe this is the wrestler's subconscious signifying his fear of actually portraying love, but he simply seems awkward.
In '12 Rounds,' he isn't given the opportunity to do anything over than look serious or worry about something. Maybe this was a smart choice by the filmmakers. In the beginning, he and Hank are chasing Miles and his girlfriend. When Miles has been arrested, we flash forward a year and Miles begins pulling the strings attached to Danny, working him like the puppet the terrorist wants him to be. So, for almost two hours, Danny is chasing something, or trying to put out a fire, while careening through the streets of New Orleans.
Aiden Gillen walks through the film like a maniacal puppet master. He always appears bemused and he has every right to; everyone is doing exactly what he wants, how he wants, when he wants. His plan is working perfectly. Actually, too perfectly. Miles Jackson clearly spent the year in prison working out every detail of this complex plan. I could almost enjoy Gillen's performance (the villains are always the most interesting characters anyway) if it weren't so text book. I can imagine Gillen looking up the definition of "arch villain" in the dictionary and pulling all of his character's traits from that brief definition!
Because his plan is going so perfectly, it robs '12 Rounds' of some suspense. If everything is too easy, why do we care? The best action films present some moments of danger to both the hero and villain, giving each of them a temporary leg up on the other. [TH] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
Rated and Extended “Extreme Cut” of the film
Commentary by Director Renny Harlin, Writer Daniel Kunka and John Cena
Two Alternate Endings
“Crash Course: John Cena Stunts” Featurette
“Never-Before-Seen Cena Gag Reel” Featurette