12 Rounds

Dir: Renny Harlin
Star: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Brian J. White, Ashley Scott

This would appear to be Renny Harlin's revenge for not getting to direct Die Hard With a Vengeance, after he did Die Hard 2. For what you have here, is almost exactly the same movie: police officer is forced into scurrying around a city, completing a series of intricate tasks, at the behest of someone who is upset because of said officer's previous involvement in the death of someone dear to the psycho, and is intent on revenge. Or are they? For if you've seen Vengeance, even the twist at the end here will be entirely familiar to you. The main difference is that, in this case, terrorist Miles Jackson (Gillen) has kidnapped the wife of Detective Danny Fisher (Cena), and if Fisher doesn't co-operate with Jackson's demands, to the letter, it'll result in the death of the wife, and possibly quite a few other people.

Cena's first feature, The Marine, was something of a guilty pleasure, helped out be a charimatic posse of villains. Here, Gillen snarls and yells as he runs about New Orleans, but is rarely more than tedious to watch; The hero delivers the square-jawed performance you'd expect, and it's pretty much all the script demands or needs. For obvious reasons, he has a good enough handle on the action sequences, and Harlin delivers some entertaining set-pieces, such as Fisher's hijacking of a fire-truck, or attempt to stop a runaway street-car as it careers towards a fair. However, the plot here is so convoluted and implausible, that it becomes almost impossible to take seriously: for instance, Jackson must have had an entire army of henchmen to help him with all the preparation, yet there's only one bloke shown, and it's not clear what he actually did. While a certain amount of "I'm so sure" is to be expected in the genre, certainly, this requires so much effort on the part of the viewer, your brain will likely seize up and refuse to do more but look at all the pretty explosions.

[September 2010]

Rounds of fury
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