Fox // 2013 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 3rd, 2013
12 rounds 2 many.
WWE Films returns to its moderately decent action franchise with a new wrestler in the headlining role and a new villain cooking up another ridiculous scheme. The only difference? A lot less action. Also, it's dumb.
For paramedic Nick Malloy (Randy Orton), it was just supposed to a romantic night on the town with his beloved: a tasty dinner, a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk. But a violent car crash shatters his evening and he calls upon his impressive array of paramedic skills to intercede.
One year later, Nick is called to an accident and while he's working, he receives a call from a mysterious man who claims to be holding his wife. If Nick doesn't play along with the caller's insane game, his wide is dead, So begins a frantic night, with Nick jumping through hoops, desperate to keep his wife alive and occasionally punching someone.
I liked the original 12 Rounds. It didn't necessarily break the mold in the action genre, but the John Cena-fronted adventure was well staged and, more than a few times, produced genuine thrills. At the very least, it deserved its theatrical exposure.
The sequel, unfortunately, reveals itself to be absolutely a straight-to-video production, with all the shortcomings that are typically associated with such a release: 12 Rounds 2 (as nonsensical a title I've ever seen) sports below-average production values, acting that varies between stiff and overwrought and a series of uninspiring action set-ups.
First, Orton. Anyone who's ever seen the guy in the ring can attest to his physical presence. The dude is humongous and can scowl with reckless abandon; I was legitimately looking forward to his first movie turn. Two problems: 1) he doesn't actually to get to do any fighting, save for a brief moment where he has to disinterestedly beat up a few cops and 2) if he's not fighting and forced to deliver lines, well, it can get pretty ugly. The guy is wasted trying to emote; give him some skulls to crack.
The lack of which is ultimately the most bothersome aspect of the film. There's only one villain and he opts for the psychological mind-screw route with his 12 rounds. This leads Nick into a handful of mishaps that fail to entertain, but can still be fairly noisy. There's a car chase. And an exploding ambulance. And that cop beatdown. And some other stuff. The hook to the action is that Nick has to complete the challenges by a certain time, so you've got the Double Dare effect carrying the suspense.
Alas, I just couldn't get past the moronic Bad Guy Plan. Especially when his reason for going evil is revealed. It's distractingly convoluted. The first film, of course, was guilty of this incoherence as well, but at least it had some solid action beats to compensate. With 12 Rounds 2 and its dearth of compelling derring-do, we're left with Randy Orton grunting and running an obstacle course. No thanks.
The Blu-ray gets it done, starting with a solid 1.78:1/1080p transfer, bolstered by an aggressive 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. A series of featurettes looking at Orton, the locations, and the action choreography; and DVD, iTunes digital, and UltraViolet copies are your extras.
Please, God, end the franchise here.
Guilty. Let's all have a round to forget this round.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download