"I take orders from the Octoboss."

12 Rounds 2: Reloaded

tn_12rounds2WWEstudiosThis is the magic of the prestigious WWE Studios banner: it can force a franchise into existence. 12 ROUNDS was one of their better theatrical releases, a straightforward but solidly executed take on a well-worn gimmick: the hero (WWE Superstar John Cena) is forced to play a deadly game by a devious mastermind (The Wire Superstar Aiden Gillen) who blames him for the death of his wife. The game is of course divided into 12 rounds (if the villain was into video games it would be 12 LEVELS) where he has to drive around town doing things before a timer winds down and something blows up or something. The action is largely handheld but still clear and exciting because the director is Renny Harlin. And that gives you the handiest description of the movie: a rip-off of DIE HARD 3 by the director of DIE HARD 2.

I liked it, but did anybody else? It looks like it didn’t make much more than half of its budget in theaters. I’m sure it did better on video, but it’s not all that well known, is it? Luckily that doesn’t stop WWE Studios from DTV-sequelizing like they did with THE MARINE. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If there’s a part 2 then part 1 must be significant, right? And you don’t have to watch both because it’s not connected. It’s some other wrestler playing some other character and some other villain with some other grievance, playing some other deadly game. But coincidentally with 12 rounds again.

Randy Orton is the WWE wrestler who got dishonorably discharged from starring in THE MARINE 3 when the mp_12rounds2actual Marines complained that he got dishonorably discharged from them, so he was re-assigned to this other DTV-sequel-to-a-theatrical-release-starring-John-Cena. This one is directed by Roel Reine, who did the very good THE MARINE 2 (plus Seagal’s PISTOL WHIPPED) and alot of other pretty decent DTV sequels. I know that you know I mean it as a compliment when I say that Orton kinda reminds me of The Boz, a big muscle guy who tries to be kinda rebellious (with his tattoos and everything) but is likable for his old fashioned square-jawed, wholesome vibe. He plays Nick, an EMT who happens to witness a serious car accident one night while leaving an unnamed “chick flick” with his wife (Cindy Busby). He runs over and tries to help, and this will get him entered in the deadly game. A year later this smarmy bald guy (Brian Markinson) starts talking to him over phones or computer screens, watching him over security cams, making him jump through a bunch of hoops (not literally) and he’s not allowed to talk to the cops.

Nick’s wife is being threatened, so he’ll do anything the guy tells him to, even if he doesn’t say “simon says.” This includes but is not limited to busting into a hotel room and abducting some dude named Tommy (Tom Stevens), and running up to a bunch of cops with their guns out and beating the shit out of them and stealing their car and then leading a whole bunch of other cops in a high speed chase and shootout. So, you know, things get dicey.

Eventually he figures out that (SPOILER) this all has to do with that car accident. Turns out it was a DUI and Tommy was the driver. There was a fatality and yet here Tommy is, recently out of rehab, not in prison. His got-off-too-easy odor attracted hungry revenge. It just so happens that this vengeful gamemaster guy must’ve gone to the same engineering school as Jigsaw. He’s not as big on torture, but he shares the same talent for ridiculously elaborate pre-planning. Also he has a similar toxic bitterness.

There are a few good character moments. There’s a good bonding laugh between Nick and Tommy during a tense moment, but my favorite is when Nick finds out about the DUI and is incensed about it. This guy he has to work with knew he fucked up, he got a lady killed, but he weaseled out of being punished. It seems like Nick would be open to the “I made a mistake, and I’m sorry” part if the motherfucker had faced the music. But he didn’t, so Nick yells at him. I’m sorry to bring this up, but I couldn’t help but compare this to the recent George Zimmerman verdict. You make a mistake you’re gonna regret for the rest of your life, you should admit what you did, not find a way to slime your way to undeserved freedom. And if you can’t do that then cry me a fuckin river when you have to live the rest of your life as a pariah or when Jigsaw’s frat brother comes after you and buries your dad alive in sugar (long story). You had your choice, and you made it.

The action is middle of the road. Not bad, not as good as THE MARINE 2, not nearly as exciting in the bigger budget first one. But I think Orton’s punching and wrestling moves work well and he has a good presence. I like him.

Writer David Benullo is kind of mysterious. He wrote that Jackie Chan version of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS and a couple horror movies, but also a couple Indian movies (RA.ONE and KRRISH 3). That would be cool if he worked some crazy Bollywood shit into this one. Maybe he’s saving that for part 3, THE 12 ROUNDS REVOLUTIONS.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 at 12:55 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

39 Responses to “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded”

  1. I’m in a probably very exclusive club of cinephiles because I liked 12 ROUNDS 1(one): RENNY GOES TO NEW ORLEANS, RA. ONE 3D, and DISNEY PRESENTS JACKIE CHAN *IS* AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (featuring some very inventive, underrated set pieces and the last pre-Governator role of a certain Austrian-American Mr. Olympia/Universe),

    and also because I’ve seen all three of those movies.

    Once I see 12 ROUNDS 2: REROUNDED, I can get my David Benullo customer reward card its 4th stamp and I think I win a free sandwich from his refrigerator.

  2. I’m surprised you liked Orton, Vern. In wrestling he’s consistently one of the most boring characters and bored actor. But, I’ll give it a chance since if I don’t he’ll go to the papers.

  3. Also, the “wholesome vibe” thing given his rumoured history with female performers’ gym bags, and his character (even when as good guy) basically being portrayed as a bit of a sociopath with sadistic tendencies.

    I wonder how many outtakes there are?

  4. It can’t possibly be anymore boring than THE MIZ: HOMEFRONT was. I still can’t believe I managed to successfully sit through most of that movie there. This reminds me though to rent that one recent WWE STUDIOS release I did want to see with Colin Farrell and Original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

  5. “thing given his rumoured history with female performers’ gym bags”

    what does he do? steal their panties?

  6. Griff – “what does he do? steal their panties?”

    He was rumored to have pooped insidea a couple of Divas’ bags throughout the years.

  7. Nothing good ever comes of these threads about pro wrasslin’.

  8. Oh, by the way, it was announced there’ll be a SEE NO EVIL 2 with Kane.

  9. Casey – Ah yes, The Viper who loves headlocks headlocks and headlocks.

    Stu – when is Daniel Bryan (and C.M. Punk) getting their own DTV movie?

    Don’t forget Orton has 2 strikes on the Wellness Policy against him and just been set up for another potential main event run. (Or maybe he’s being setup to lose to Bryan and build him up, since Orton doesn’t need it.)

  10. Just once I’d like to see one of these movies where the criminal mastermind makes the hero LITERALLY jump through a bunch of hoops. So does the revenge plot turn out to be a cover for an elaborate heist or what?

    Pro wrasslin’ is one of things that I’m fascinated by in theory, but find almost unbearable to watch.

  11. I’m a big wrestling fan and have been for years, but I fail to understand how anyone could not at least appreciate Daniel Bryan these days. Dude has been solid gold for years now.

  12. Been watching wrestling for as long as I could remember (after WM III to be specific). Took a hiatus from mainstream pro wrestling for almost a decade after Alliance BS untill last year. I spent all the time before that just following ROH on the internet. Only reasons I even got back into the bigger televised promotions is cause TNA was putting on some great matches every week last summer and more importantly the guys I remember dominating ROH are now prominent figures in both promotions (Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk) and have been that way for years so that’s always good to see.

  13. Yeah, the last few years have been really good for how the independent promotions have affected the WWE, and to a lesser extent TNA. WWE picking up Punk, Danielson, Cesaro, Tyler Black, Moxley, and even Sara Del Rey (who is now a trainer and I think you can see a lot of the women, like Alicia Fox, getting better) has been really rad. It’s given some of the good “WWE guys” some good new opponents and has made some of the guys who coast a kick in the ass to get better. I think the roster today is better than it has ever been, and it’ll only get better when some more of the NXT guys come over.

    Which is all good because I’m still really sore about Chikara ending.

  14. Casey – Yeah I have to give HHH credit in that department. I’ve found NXT more watchable than RAW & Smackdown because of that. WWE matches are still too slow & at times boring for my tastes most of the time but I can’t disagree that this is the sharpest roster in a while even if many of them are criminally misused.

    They did a way better job this year bringing up ready for prime time guys like Big E Langston, Bray Wyatt and The Shield with their NXT gimmicks intact for the most part than when they introduced the likes of Wade Barrett, Kofi Kingston & Alberto Del Rio and tried to cram them down people’s throats despite them being super green at everything from in ring work to rocking a crowd.

  15. Chikara’s death did affect me a lot. I love crazy carny type shit like that the most. Which is also why I enjoy IMPACT more than RAW a lot of times. It was nice to see Jigsaw on TNA TV a couple of weeks ago though. As a Chikara fan it’s also great to see Claudio Castignoli finally being used more effectively on TV after losing his US Championship again after that dumb yodelling crap they had him doing before he joined Dutch Mantell and Jack Swagger.

  16. To say Del Rio is green in ring work is absurd. His problem (for me at least) is that his heel character can be one-note at times, though if he’s one-note, does that make Ryback in general no-note?

    Personally I’m intrigued by how much fo a push Sandow is getting. I always love it when wrestlers can pull off the smug asshole routine.

    Casey – Agree. It’s amazing how much he’s gotten over recently. Am I glad? YES! YES! YES!

  17. RRA – I’m talking past tense here. When he debuted and was hot shotted all over the place. He wasn’t as in tune with the WWE format as he is now and even now though his in ring work is much better his mic work is tremendously lackluster and keeps him from connecting with the audience. I’ve been watching the guy since he was Dos Caras Jr. bro I will never say he wasn’t experienced in the field but the style of showmanship displayed in WWE is tremendously different from the one used in independent and foreign promotions.

  18. I’m a big Sandow fan too. He reminds me of an even better version of The Genius Lanny Poffo who I was a fan of growing up.

  19. I find it very hard to enjoy nearly any professional wrestling that’s new these days, like I did when I was a kid. I was a firm believer in what I was watching from 8 to 12 years old. When I was starting to get a clue as to what was really happening, I enjoyed it anyway because WWF and WCW were in the midst of the Monday Night Wars, the 3rd Golden Age of pro wrestling. But now WCW has been long gone, and what I watch now just doesn’t compare. The shift to a certain McMahon-approved body type is now very apparent and with few exceptions. Even in the early 90’s you had more of a variety in body-types, and thus characters. Now everybody more or less looks the same (with exceptions, like the Bryans of the world, etc.), and acts the same to an extent.

  20. Broddie – I think its more a problem of “character” quote on quote, and really the interesting aspect of his character is his ring announcer lackey. But even if he never becomes the walking ATM that apparently the WWE believed he would become as a main eventer, he’ll have his uses for that promotion.

    Am I alone in not being all that engaged with the Sandow/Rhodes feud?

  21. Broddie, Dead Man Down is surprisingly awesome and right up Vern’s alley. It’s simple but also manages to be fresh and exciting- there’s some huge problems that might be deal breakers for a lot of people, but it might be one of my favorite movies so far this year. Wade Barrett isn’t in it particularly much, though.

  22. The reference to Leapin’ Lanny Poffo was about the only part of this thread that looked like English to me. But I’m not complaining, I’m happy to give you guys this forum every once in a while. Keeps you off the streets.

    I’m with Crustacean, I’m more interested in the idea of wrestling than actually watching it. I’ve barely watched it since the ’80s, and yet I follow WWE Studios faithfully and I actually listen to two different wrestling podcasts (The Steve Austin Show and The Art of Wrestling). But mostly in hopes that they’ll interview Koko B. Ware or somebody.

    Also I want to say that Daniel Bryan is from Olympia, Washington and is vegan which I consider to be a badass juxtaposition even though I think he started due to health reasons and not because the animals are our brothers or whatever.

  23. DEAD MAN DOWN was okay. I don’t think approached the craftsmanship I expect from a great action movie, so that was a let down. But it leans unexpectedly more towards character moments which I appreciated. Farrel and Rapace were both good, and I enjoyed their growing relationship. Could have maybe used more of those as they were the best part.

    Biggest letdown were indeed the action scenes. They were competently shot, but kind of lazily staged. Bunch of people just spraying gunfire at each other doesn’t make an exciting action sequence – especially when it’s meant to be the climax of the film.

    Either it should have been a full on character drama about revenge and trauma, or a straight up operatic John Woo bullet opera. Now it doesn’t fully commit to either, so it ends up being frustratingly average.

    Still, I think it is the best film WWE Films has put out. Instead of watching them farm out wrestlers into serialized low budget action flicks, I appreciate seeing them tip their toes into more dramatic filmmaking.

  24. I agree, Broddie, up until recently they would try too hard to make new people big deals instead of just letting it happen naturally. Folks like ADR and Sheamus (who I think does the “WWE Style” better than anyone else) were made to be big deals and it’s easy to reject that. I’m glad ADR is getting a decent chance to prove how good he is, and the dude’s in ring work has gotten really good over the last 6 months or so (not that he was ever bad, but he’s just faster and crisper and more intense).

    I really dislike HHH the character, he’s a mediocre wrestler who is made into a “big deal” for obvious reasons, but I think his views of non-HHH wrestling is pretty in line with mine. What he’s letting happen at NXT is just the best and they’re doing this awesome thing of letting NXT be an independent promotion, but an independent promotion run by professionals. Plus, it’s made some people even better (Tyler Black was always ehhh okay, but a year in NXT and all of a sudden Seth Rollins is pretty hot shit, even Castagnoli got better there and he was already really good) so it’s all really good stuff.

    I’m liking the Rhodes v Sandow thing okay so far. I’d prefer they stayed best friends forever, but that makes them too vulnerable to the WWE forgetting that tag teams are a thing and languishing. I think they’ll end up having some good matches, too, as Sandow is really quite good (his matches with Sheamus last year on free tv were really physical and fun) and Rhodes is doing some good face work. I’m mostly surprised they turned Rhodes and Ziggler at the same time, I would have really enjoyed seeing those two guys go.

    Speaking of Ziggler, I don’t think he’s going to end up being the big guy everyone wanted. I didn’t like him as much as most, his lack of credible offense really made his matches feel weird to me, but I’m surprised he’s gone nowhere since April when he cashed in on ADR. I was at that Raw and the place went nuts, and now it’s nothing. Kind of disappointing.

    I’m really sad about Chikara. I’ve been to tons of Chikara shows and Trios last year was just the best. It’s a unique promotion that, while not perfect, was always reliable for a good time. Part of me hopes it comes back, but a bigger part of me wishes they would just say what’s going on instead of leading everyone on. It’s like dating a girl who wants to break up with you and ignores you but won’t just come out and tell you that she’s breaking up with you. It’s rough.

  25. The original Paul

    August 8th, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I have no idea what any of you are talking about either… but the film sounds less interesting than its prequel actually (that’s assuming there isn’t a huge game-changing revelation in the “spoiler”ed bits that I didn’t read.) I might check out “12 Rounds” if I can find it though.

  26. Its OK Vern and Paul, we’ll go back to talking about Seagal DTVs as soon as we can.

  27. I’d love to see you review some Indian movies. Ek Tha Tiger would be right up your alley. I think it’s one of the best 90s action movies of the 2010s. It also has much less of a cultural barrier than many of their films have. Let me know if you want some more recommendations.

  28. Casey, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpVSQCpT4yQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    This should give you some hope for Chikara.

  29. I’ve seen that, and I’m still not sure. Chikara might be back sometime in the future, but it’s far from a sure thing. I was also never interested in their time travel storyline they were trying to do through social media and whatnot (the new video Icarus made, for example, has his old hair style) so a lot of what they’re trying to do has totally lost me. And I say this as someone that loved Lost.

    But, if they bring back Trios next year and give let me see Tsubasa Kuragaki in person again it’ll all be worth it.

  30. Chikara had to many financial woes for me to cling to false hopes. I’m not usually a pessimist but I don’t see them coming back anytime soon unfortunately.

    neal2zod – “Wade Barrett isn’t in it particularly much, though.”

    Well considering that I can’t even stand him in his own element (pro wrestling) that’s not much of a bad thing.

  31. Casey – Yeah it really does seem like Ziggler being massively over just isn’t ever going to happen. Only the smarks really pop for the guy and they could only attend so many tapings of RAW and Smackdown.

  32. I think Ziggler’s problem is that he’s a much much better heel than he is a face. In general with that flagrant bleach dye job and his smirk, you would pay to watch somebody kick his ass.

    (I’m kinda reminded of when several years back they tried to turn Edge face after many years as the top heel in the company in that feud with Jericho and it just didn’t work. Some guys are just fucking fun to watch regardless if they’re good or bad, like historically Flair and Piper and Jericho and others. I’m not sure Edge was capable of being fun outside of being a heel.)

  33. The name Dolph Ziggler never did him any favors either.

  34. The star of the third installment, Jon Moxley (as he is now known, WWE name was Dean Ambrose, real name Jonathan Good which honestly is a more pro wrestling name than either of those) debuted with upstart rival company AEW (All Elite Wrestling) at Saturday’s Double Or Nothing show in Las Vegas. And today, on fellow AEW wrestler/WWE expatriate Chris Jericho’s podcast, he lit into the WWE and Vince McMahon for the direction the company is going in and by all accounts burnt his bridges.

    Guess we can count him out for #4.

  35. Wait, there was a part 3 with Dean Ambrose? Also is his wife still working with WWE? It’s probably not the wisest move to burn bridges if your loved one is still on the other side of the canyon.

  36. Renee Young is an asset and a credit to their otherwise awful announcing team, they would be foolish to fire her at this point.

  37. I stopped watching WWE like 5 yrs back. It got iredeemably lame and Vince kept on repeating the same mistakes but damn Ambrose was being positioned to be the next Piper or Austin. He bounced just like that?!? things must be really toxic at Stamford that the first opportunity at any legit alternative Vince’s future stars just walk out the door like that.

  38. Since I cut the cord and dropped traditional cable TV I have not been really tempted to check out the current product. I watch WrestleMania every year and that’s about it. I watched the first Saudi Arabian show just out of a morbid curiosity to see how it came off. The trouble surrounding that speaks for itself, but I think they’ll be truly fucked if it doesn’t catch on when Smackdown moves to Fox this fall.

  39. Hi.

    1) part 3 is fucking awful. It’s incredibly boring. And Moxley sucks in it. Everybody sucks in it.

    2) Renee Young is terrible as an announcer. Part of it is how they want their announcers to be but the other part is that it’s not her thing. She was better as a host/interviewer and really showed her personality and wit more that way.

    3) There is very little one can do to actually burn bridges with the WWE. Hell, if CM Punk wanted to come back they would bring him back in a second. Heck, they put the Warrior in the HOF. Bret Hart does stuff for them. He probably will again even though he was in the AEW show.

    4) They still have an incredibly rebust talent roster who are happy there so it’s not really that big of a deal that Mox left but they obviously are going to have to put on better shows once AEW starts on TV.

    5) AEW Double or Nothing was a really fun show.

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