12 Rounds (2009): Breakdown by Kain424
A mish-mash of the plots of Ricochet, Die Hard With A Vengeance and Speed, minus anything that made those films cool.
How can the guy who gave us such awesome action classics as Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger possibly fuck up such an easy premise? I can’t be sure, but it might have something to do with horrible cinematography and the PG-13 rating.
I’m fairly certain that 12 Rounds was aiming for the PG-13 rating to begin with, as all of the cussing is offscreen (so it can be edited out more easily later and put back in for an EXTREME unrated dvd later) and the violence filmed so poorly that one cannot discern the choreography at all. The latter makes it so terrible that one has to take their eyes from the screen just to rest a while before returning to the movie. This should NEVER happen in ANY movie. I mean, just watch this clip:
[flashvideo filename=videos/12Shaky.wmv.FLV /]
12 Rounds rights held by Fox Atomic
I have not edited that in any way, the movie is actually filmed like that. It goes on like that for the ENTIRE duration! Unfortunately, this filming “technique” heavily detracts from an already sub-par piece of work from a once-dependable Action director. Combine this with the cinematographer’s need to aim the camera directly into beams of light, and you’ve got a film that seems bent on becoming unwatchable.
The film deprives us of crowd-pleasing moments and even emasculates the hero by giving the final line and hit to his girl. It’s truly sad, seeing as the plot absolutely lends itself to many possible great moments. For a film featuring a pro-wrestler, it’s depressing that there isn’t a single great fight sequence.
It’s not all bad news though, as star John Cena shows remarkable improvement in his range as an actor here since The Marine. Cena exudes a kind of angry badassitude that so rarely permeates in Action films today. He has great promise, but if he continues to get involved in crap like this, it’ll be pro-wrestling forever or DTV land, and not in the top tier either. Say hello to your next co-star, Mr. Lamas.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
John Cena is Detective Danny Fisher
No one takes this guy seriously. Even though he looks like a huge, muscled out Marky Mark, Fisher takes shit from his wife, his partner, the bad guys, and the FBI. Any threats he makes are ignored, and it turns out that this is all completely justified when the 5’8″ 120 lb. villain manages to beat the hell out of him in a helicopter. Danny Fisher is a wuss.
[THE BODY COUNT: 12]
In the unrated version, a few of the deaths are given a bit more blood, but overall it’s pretty limp. Cena isn’t really responsible for any of the deaths shown in the film, while the main baddie is responsible for all of them. Most are offscreen, but corpses are shown later, so at least we have confirmation.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
Fisher’s partner, Carver, gets taken out like Jeff Daniels in Speed, but not before uttering the word “bitch”. This guy was pretty annoying for the first quarter of the film, so his was a welcome demise.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Though Fisher and Carver nag at one another a bit, they don’t seem to have that classic gay couple squabbleness like one would find in the usual buddy-cop film. Nothing there, really.
We do get to see Cena play dress-up over the course of the film, first as a cop, then a firefighter, and also in casual wear. He refuses to go shirtless though, perhaps to further make him seem like more of a wuss.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The women in this film are all gorgeous and useless. Sure, they all seem to be adept drivers or pilots, but are also shown to be defenseless, emotional blackmailers.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
I am really struggling to come up with an epic moment here, or at least one that I liked. I suppose when Cena pulls a Live Free Or Die Hard and sends an unmanned police car into some transformers to knock out the power was pretty cool.
As for the best one-liner, I liked it when the bad guy is sitting across from our hero on a bus, and Cena delivers, with perfect angry intensity this:
“What’s keepin’ me… from reaching over there and kickin’ the SHIT outta you!?”
Cena completely pulls off the scene, but doesn’t deliver on the line’s promise. For shame.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
It’s always actually about money. So it’s ironic that this film didn’t make any.
[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
Another Film “Improved” By Shaky-Cam
12 Rounds (2009) © WWE Films, Inc. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment