March 28th, 2009

12 ROUNDS (2009) **

Me and my brother headed up to the Sun & Surf Theater in Ocean City to see 12 Rounds, the latest movie from WWE wrestler turned action movie star John Cena.  My bro didn't want to hassle with the crowds at the multiplex so I gladly went with him to the ancient theater to check it out.  Much to my surprise, the theater had brand new doors and newly renovated seats.  Luckily though, the place still smelled like cat piss and the speakers were completely blown, rendering every other word unintelligible.  In short, this ramshackle theater was the perfect place to see such a busted ass, second rate action flick.


Cena plays a detective named Fish who arrests a notorious bomber in the film's (way too long) opening.  Since the bomber dude's girlfriend ends up dead in the fracas, he blames Fish for her death.  One year later, the baddie breaks out of prison and celebrates his "anniversary" by kidnapping Fish's girlfriend and setting up 12 deadly traps (or "rounds" as he refers to them) that Fish must face in order to get her back.  Most of the rounds consist of Fish defusing a bomb of some sort that is either wired to a bus, trolley, or elevator or something.  In the end, Fish realizes that the whole rounds thing was just a ruse for the villain to rob a bank.  This gets Fish so mad that he's got to lay the smackdown on the smarmy scumbag.


I think if 12 Rounds was released about 15 years ago, it might have been pretty good.  Remember around that time when we had a wave of "Mad Bomber Movies" like Speed, Blown Away and Die Hard With a Vengeance?  12 Rounds would've fit right in.  Now, it just plays like a greatest hits compilation of those films.  Speed:  There's a bomb on the bus.  Blown Away:  There's lots of scenes where the Irish accented bomber taunts our hero over a cell phone.  Die Hard With a Vengeance:  The bomber's scheme is just a cover for a robbery.  There are way too many other similarities to mention, so I'll just leave it at that.


Cena does a decent job here as an action hero.  He's just as good in this movie as he was in his previous action flick, The Marine.  Whereas that movie had the benefit of a great villain (Robert Patrick is the man), this movie's bad guy looks like a cross between Edward Norton and Richard Gere except he's got all the screen presence of wallpaper. 


I'm a big fan of director Renny (Cliffhanger) Harlin's action flicks, but he can only do so much with the thin material.  Occasionally, 12 Rounds will come to life and start to cook.  I especially liked the scenes where Cena jumped in a fire truck and put the pedal to the metal, causing untold millions in property damage as he raced towards his next round.  Ultimately though, 12 Rounds is just too derivative and generic to be much fun.  You've seen it all before, so there's really no need to see it again.  Unless you want to see it with John Cena that is.


An art teacher stands around his class and narrates the movie while his students draw nude figure models.  Finally after about twenty minutes of this, something of a plot appears as the art teacher's buddy from out of town moves in.  The teacher gets him a gig photographing nude models and for another twenty minutes or so, we follow this guy around as he snaps some photos of a couple naked chicks.  One of his models gets a paper cut, and he goes nuts when he sees the blood and strangles her before smashing her face in with a rock.  Then another chick gets a nosebleed and he chokes and stabs her.  After being caught (literally) red handed, the photographer wigs out and repeatedly stabs himself to death.


The Beautiful, the Bloody, and the Bare lives up to it's title, but that's about it.  At least ONE of the half dozen or so chicks is a beauty (the redhead... YOWZERS), the killer ends up all bloody in the end, and all the girls in the cast take their clothes off.  So that's the good news.  The bad news is that the movie is boring as Hell because it's more or less 50 minutes of nude modeling (in a chair, on a couch, in a bubble bath, etc.) and 15 minutes of murdering.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking.  Naked chicks and psycho killers; so what's not to like?  Well, if that's the ONLY reason you're picking this up, you might enjoy it.  If non-stop 60's cheesecake pin-up girl modeling gets you hard, then add an extra star.  For everyone else, the Two Star rating is strictly enforced.


AKA:  Bloody, Bare, and Beautiful.  AKA:  The Beautiful and the Bloody.