Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Ashley Scott, Steve Harris, Brian J. White, Gonzalo Menendez, Taylor Cole, Kyle Russell Clements, Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, Travis Davis, Nick Gomez, Brian Stanton, Rosalind Rubin, Billy Slaughter, Kim Collins
Written by: Daniel Kunka
Directed by: Renny Harlin
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Running Time: 108
Date: 03/19/2009

12 Rounds (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Die Hard in the French Quarter

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

12 Rounds copies the main concept behind Die Hard with a Vengeance and hands it over to an actor with only the tiniest fraction of Bruce Willis' charisma and talent. Writer Daniel Kunka throws in some ludicrous dialogue and director Renny Harlin shakes the picture around as if he and the camera were constantly bouncing around in the bed of a rattletrap pickup truck. Regardless, the scenario itself offers a few thrills, and WWE star turned actor John Cena manages some appealing moments, so we're not talking about a complete waste of time. New Orleans cop Danny Fisher arrests an Irish terrorist named Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen) and accidentally kills the terrorist's girlfriend in the process. A year later, Miles breaks out of jail with an elaborate revenge planned. He kidnaps Danny's wife (Ashley Scott) and makes Danny -- newly promoted to detective -- run around town all day trying to solve little puzzles and prevent explosions and other disasters. FBI agents breeze through, acting superior but lacking in Danny's spirit of goodness. Miles is a terrible villain and has the movie's worst lines, but he helps create some definite tension and draws us in from time to time -- until Harlin's constant rattling and shaking draws us back out again. The movie opened March 27 and was not screened for the press. Hardly anyone cared.

DVD Details: Fox's DVD includes an "extreme cut," which runs about two minutes longer, as well as the theatrical cut. Renny Harlin provides a commentary track, and actor Cena and writer Kunka provide a second track. (Harlin talks about how he set out to make a "new kind of action film.") There's a short featurette on the stunts, a gag reel, alternate ending(s) and trailers. There are Spanish and French-language tracks and English and Spanish subtitles.

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