12 Rounds (Review)

Renny Harlin makes another ludicrous action thriller

Mar 31, 2009 at 2:06 pm

WWE wrestler John Cena plays Danny Fisher, a New Orleans detective tormented by a devious international criminal mastermind Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen) in what feels like a replay of an old Denzel Washington vehicle from the days before Denzel became the king of the Oscar ring (think Ricochet and Virtuosity). That could be due to the presence of director Renny Harlin, who knows his way around an overly plotted action thriller (think Die Hard 2 and Mindhunters), and it is that second, more recent movie, that comes to mind here.

Forgive the pun, though, because the mind has nothing to do with the senseless mayhem Harlin inflicts on audiences in 12 Rounds. Hasn’t New Orleans been through enough? Fisher is a one-man wrecking crew as he barrels headlong through the city on the trail of Jackson, leaving more broken and dead bodies in his wake than the criminal genius could have ever hoped in his wildest dreams, and it’s all for no good reason.

When I watch the trailer for the new Jason Statham Crank movie, at least I see that the filmmakers there understand the complete lunacy in their conceit; they embrace its ludicrous nature. It’s too bad Harlin lacks a comparable sense of humor, because 12 Rounds might have scored a few more points, maybe enough for a split decision. Grade: D-

Opens March 27. Check out theaters and show times, see the film's trailer and find nearby bars and restaurants here.