Writer: Syahida Kamarudin
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 2.5 Out of 5
Plot: 3.5 Out of 5
Effects: 3.5 Out of 5
Cinematography: 2.5 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: "The Marine", "See No Evil", "Double Team"
Action-packed indeed. "12 Rounds" sounds like a boxing match but has nothing to do with the sport in any way. It did not waste any time trying to develop any characters nor dilly-dallying with romance or unimportant scenes. As so, neither will this reviewer waste any of your time - let's go straight to the point.
Plot-wise, it's interesting. The fact that the main character Danny Baxter needs to play 12 rounds of 'games' created by a very vengeful yet cunning criminal mastermind who has a penchant for destruction ala The Joker (sans the make-up and attitude) succeeded in capturing the audience's attention, making this movie carry more weight than, say, any Van Damme or Steven Segal picture.
In terms of the action, great. Except for the two scenes involving Baxter and his girlfriend (intended to make us see the importance of their relationship in this whole shenanigan), the movie is all explosions, car crashes, and more explosions from start to finish. The movie is centred in New Orleans, and somehow is trying to tell people that the city is now resurrected and breathing again after the Hurricane Katrina tragedy through exploding more buildings and trams.
The only trouble is the creative camera work that was intended to cater to the fast-paced action through a series of handheld techniques. It only manages to distort focus and make the audience dizzy. It's like watching "COPS" and "America's Most Extreme Video" rolled into one.
Other than that, John Cena should stick to wrestling, as his acting in this film is no different than his WWE life. The habit of panting while talking (just like wrestlers do when interviewed at half time) was not diminished in this movie. Somehow you believe that he would tear his shirt off and do his 'killswitch' signature move any minute. The fact that Aidan Gillen as the villain steals the scene all the time says much about Cena's inability to pull us in and make us root for him.
In short, this movie is for all John Cena/Mr.P/The Prototype fans out there, and also for those of you who define good movies based on how many times something big explodes and goes up in flames.
Cinema Online, 19 March 2009