Me and my brother headed up to the Sun & Surf Theater in
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.