I'm not a big fan of WWE. It's fake, it's idiotic and the "storylines" are ridiculous. But I was ok with its existence. It found a little niche and provided entertainment to all of the people out there who enjoyed some stupid fun. But this is going too far. WWE films? Starring wrestlers? Kill me now. 12 Rounds is the first WWE film I've seen and, God willing, it will be my last.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. A cop's wife is kidnapped by a bad guy he put away years earlier and the cop is now forced to play a deadly game with the villian if he hopes to see her alive again. How refreshing and unique! I've never seen a film like this before! And I'm totally not being sarcastic!
John Cena, wrestler and winner of many fake awards that don't amount to jack or mean anything relevant in any realm of reality, stars as the cop forced to play this game. There are 12 rounds (natch) and each one is more deadly than the last. What I want to know is how Cena became such a great problem solver. Cena's character figures out the villain's puzzles so quickly that there's no room for credibility. After he arrives at the first puzzle early in the movie, he sees some numbers and the dialogue goes something like this. "Numbers. That's today's date. Clocks, two clocks. Latitude and longitude! That's the location we need to be at!" Right. Even Sherlock Holmes would have to think his way through that one.
I suppose this quick brush off of what could actually be a pretty interesting story serves the purpose of giving the audience as much action as they possibly can. Talk about an over saturation. The action in the film is non-stop, literally wall to wall. There was no downtime in between each scene, no time to catch my breath and after a good 15 minutes or so, I began to get bored. I wanted to know more about these characters. Who are they? What are they like? But the constant stream of action gave little time for character development and consequently, I didn't give a crap whether or not any of the characters lived or died. Why should I care about them if the film doesn't give me a reason to?
There's also the question of how in the world the bad guy planned all of this. He spends a year in jail, shut off from the world, breaks out and immediately begins this incredibly intricate diabolical scheme, but how? Where did he find the time to do this? And how did he know everything would pan out as perfectly as it did? There were so many holes in this movie that you could have a massive orgy with it.
And then you have the bad guy himself, Miles, played by Aidan Gillen, who was miscast. He's not intimidating in the slightest. In fact, John Cena would have made a better villain. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I can show you what I mean. You're telling me that this guy can't handle this one? Really?
On top of this, the dialogue and acting was poor. Those two go hand in hand because it's hard to be credible when you're forced to spout out generic cop banter and such gems as, "I'm not smarter than a 5th grader." Although that still doesn't excuse the bad acting, it's better than you would expect from a WWE film, so I guess that's saying something.
The direction is bland as well. I haven't seen such an overabundance of close up shots in my entire life. Renny Harlin employed the shaky cam, zoom-in-on-everything technique and it got boring real quick. I had more shot diversity in the movies I made for my high school video class.
I haven't seen a more irrelevant action movie in years. Nothing about this production is original at all. With wall to wall action, little time is left for story, which makes all of the action inconsequential. I will say this though. At least the film knows who it's aiming for. I think it's safe to say that WWE fans don't care about plausibility, good acting or originality. They just want some punches thrown and some blood to spew. For me, however, I need something more and this didn't deliver. 12 Rounds is a waste of time and an awful way to waste two hours of your life.
12 Rounds receives 1/5