12 Rounds (2009) - Extreme Cut [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Fox || Unrated - 110 minutes - $39.99 || June 30, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-07-01

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer(s): Daniel Kunka (written by)
Cast: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Ashley Scott, Steve Harris, Brian White

Theatrical Release Date: March 27, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • Alternate Endings
  • 5 Featurettes
  • 12 Vignettes
  • Viral Videos
  • Digital Copy

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.39)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

WWE Superstar John Cena makes his second feature film after 2006’s so-so action-thriller, The Marine with 12 Rounds, another action-er with a decent storyline but still a pretty much average film on average.

Cena stars as Officer Danny Fisher, a rookie cop who on his first night assists the FBI when their target, international Irish terrorist Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen), gets away from the dragnet. Fisher and his partner, Hank Carver (Brian White), stumble upon and Jackson’s getaway car driven by his girlfriend. After a 20-mile foot-chase (oh, Fisher was on foot, Jackson and his girl was in a car...), Fisher catches up and holds Jackson, but not before his girl gets creamed when she runs in front of an oncoming truck. Whoops.

It’s one year later and Fisher’s home life isn’t all that great. He’s living with his beautiful girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott) but the events that transpired a year prior still haunt him. He and his partner were instantly promoted to detective for their actions to capture Jackson. But one morning Fisher receives a phone call from... Miles Jackson. It seems unbeknownst to Fisher or anyone else outside the FBI, Jackson has escaped after a massive prison break. He has also kidnapped Molly and wants to play a game of 12 rounds with Fisher or else she will die.

So now Fisher runs and crashes through New Orleans with various tasks (like grabbing a couple safe deposit boxes, one with a bomb the other with the next clue; escaping from a service elevator; saving a runaway trolley, etc) as he tries to save Molly from a vengeful Miles Jackson who wants to hurt Fisher as he was hurt. Let the games begin.

12 Rounds is an entertaining little thrill ride with some cool – if not a tad mundane – action sequences but I’m still not sold on John Cena as an action star. I know someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t have a wide range of emotional states with his hero characters but he had the “don’t f**k with me” look that was so bad ass that you could accept almost any situation he was in. Cena certainly has some charisma but it’s not nearly enough to make this an exceptional action film, just an enjoyable forgettable flick.

Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger) is a capable action director but he’s also has had his share of bumps in the road (Cutthroat Island, Driven) and he does a good job keeping up with the intensity over the duration of the 100-minute running time. Although the direction is all a bit pedestrian, the action sequences were at least thrilling enough to keep me watching.

12 Rounds co-stars Aidan Gillen (“The Wire”) as a capable if not forgettable villain; the lovely Ashley Scott (Into the Blue) in a part that’s not all too demanding; and Brian White as the wisecracking partner. The movie was written by Daniel Kunka (debut) and produced Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy”, 2012).


Theatrical & Unrated Versions – Not a special feature per se, but it’s good to see both cuts on the same disc. I noticed a couple cutouts because of the seamless branching and the difference in running time is about 1:43, so we’re not talking about a new movie or anything.

2 Audio Commentaries
- Director Renny Harlin: A straight technical commentary with Harlin explaining his approach to filmmaking, shooting on location in New Orleans, production values and other bits of trivia. It’s a bit dry but those who want something more technical.
- Writer Daniel Kunke and Actor John Cena: Laid back track with the two chatting it up about the plot, cast and crew members, and how the story came to be. Not a great track but I enjoy it when actors participate.

The two alternate endings (1:58) have to be the silliest alternate endings I’ve seen. It’s the same ending as the final cut just with a couple extra lines of dialogue. The second alt. scene was the worst and cheesiest, so glad they didn’t go with it...

Streetcar Crossing: Film with Caution (16:27) covers the streetcar sequence and filming in New Orleans, the cooperation of the city and police, etc and goes over the preparation for filming the scene. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

A Crash Course: John Cena Stunts (9:51) is an interesting featurette on the stunt work for the movie between the stunt guys who filled in for Cena and others that he did himself (one’s not involving possible death a la the helicopter scene).

Never-Before-Cena Gag Reel (4:50) is actually another featurette with the cast and crew talking about their flubbed scenes and the consequence plus Renny Harlin’s reward at the end of each day (Finland Vodka).

Keeping Score: The Music of 12 Rounds (3:16) – This is a discussion on the motion picture score of the film with Harlin and composer Trevor Rabin talking about how the cues were created. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Round and Round with Renny and John (4:05) – John Cena and Renny Harlin asked one another questions about the project, how it came to be, casting and all that jazz. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Bonus Rounds (20:22) is a collection of 12 mini-featurettes (usually 1-2 minutes long) on the various aspects of the making of the film from a scribble to gun/car training to the final product. It’s a good cliff’s notes ‘making-of’ but since they’re so short, it does feel a bit choppy. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

2 Viral Videos (3:41) – The one, “Hands”, is hilarious as John Cena uses stunt hands for a scene because is real ones are too big to punch numbers on a cell phone. The other, “helicopter” is much shorter and not really much to it. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Also included is a digital copy disc compatible with iTunes and WMV.


12 Rounds is presented with a 2.39 aspect ratio and on a 50GB Blu-ray disc. Visually, it’s on par with most newly released movies with a sharp and detailed picture, a good balance of colors that isn’t oversaturated and just an overall clean plate void of dust and scratches with even the grain level kept down to a minimum.

The Blu-ray comes with a nice sounding 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. There were parts that seemed a bit subdued but overall it’s a solid soundtrack with equally dispersed sound effects from explosions to car crashes to gunfire and dialogue. Like the video, although it’s not among the best I’ve heard, it is still a good track fitting for an action of this caliber (take that for what you will...). There are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks also available in French, Portuguese and Spanish.


12 Rounds isn’t particularly innovative in its story or action but it did manage to keep my attention and kept me somewhat entertained, so that’s saying something despite the film’s many drawbacks. The video and audio are both quite good and the amount of features included, especially considering the film’s lackluster box office performance, was impressive.