Friday, November 27, 2020
US flag

Movie review: 12 Rounds (D+, D, D)


Release date (wide): March 27, 2009 … Overall: D+ … Teens: D … Story: D.

The film was shown in 2,331 theaters on its opening weekend.

Box office tracking info:

Starring: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Ashley Scott, Steve Harris, Brian White
Director: Renny Harlin
Screenwriter: Daniel Kunka
Producer: Mark Gordon, Josh McLaughlin, Michael Lake
Composer: Trevor Rabin
Studio: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action)


This film was not made available to critics before the theatrical release, and so some reviews are bound to give it a bong. After seeing it in the theater, that would be the correct review.

The World Wrestling something or other (WWE) is the releasing studio, and they seem to be trying, for the second time, to get John Cena into a movie. So far, they haven’t been able to do that with any success, and nobody seems to be able to figure out that the guy can’t act. Here he plays Danny, a New Orleans police officer, who gets promoted to detective after reining in Miles, an international terrorist (Aidan Gillen).

On the one-year anniversary, Miles has escaped from prison. He decides to get back at Danny, ostensibly for killing his girlfriend, so he sets up 12 action sequences in what is a game to recover Danny’s abducted girlfriend (Ashley Scott). The point of this game, probably to steal millions from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving (the US Mint), is never woven into the story, which instead plays as nothing more than a vehicle for a dozen random acts of violence.

There is the obligatory feud over turf between the FBI (agents played by Steve Harris and Gonzalo Menendez) and the local cops, but nothing that makes the movie more than dull and predictable. Character depth isn’t even worth talking about. For example, Danny’s biggest problem before his girlfriend gets abducted seems to be that he forgets to call the plumber when his sink starts leaking so it turns into a major repair job. Now, there’s an exciting storyline for you!

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent Posts

Total shutdown in Baltimore Co.; cyberattack

Criminals broke into the network at the 115,000-student district and scrambled files. Schools are closed for remote learning for now.

An Iowa City show choir goes virtual

Biden officially begins transition

Alton Sr. H.S. orchestra plays Bach

Noguchi sculpture added to Rose Garden