Time to look at a film that is fairly recent, but fell under my radar. I definitely had not heard of this film until I saw it and the plot is intriguing. It’s one of those films that has the potential to be pretty interesting or a train wreck. Luckily, it turned out to be the former and 12 Rounds was better than I had expected it to be. The film was handled pretty well.
The main character is named Danny and he works for the police. He does his usual nightly patrols with his partner, Hank, when they are roped into preventing an international fugitive from getting away. They go on the trail and after an intense chase scene, Danny is able to apprehend the man. What he didn’t expect was for a truck to run over the villain’s ally. Miles (the villain) swears revenge on Danny as he is taken into custody. One year later, he returns and kidnaps Molly. This is now personal for Danny and the only way for him to rescue her will be to play the “12 Rounds” game. He has to complete 12 challenges in time if he wants to win her back and will Miles really keep his word? It’s a race against time now!
12 Rounds keeps up a very quick pace throughout the film. The action never slows down and it works out pretty well for the film. Danny never gets a break since the rounds always start one after the other and he has to run around all day. The film starts in the morning and ends by the time it is nightfall. There are certainly a lot of action scenes to be found here, but they are typically not fight scenes. An example of one of the action scenes is Danny trying to stop a runaway trolley.
The film has a surprisingly high body count. The deaths are usually expected once the scene is coming close, but you may not have expected some of the characters to go when you first start the film. Danny may still be able to save Molly if he completes the 12 Rounds, but he can say good bye to many bystanders and one of his friends. It’s definitely an easy way to lose morale during the tournament and Danny has his doubts at times, but he keeps on going. There’s not much more that he can do.
The plot twist at the end is a little preposterous though. Let’s just say that the 12 Rounds were planned out very carefully to the point where the villain has to be a super genius. We do get a quick scene to show that he is really smart, but it’s a little over done here. All of Danny’s actions were predicted as well as the Police and the FBI. The plan also revolves around the villain being able to outshoot quite a few of the local cops and he is naturally able to best them with ease. This will certainly stretch your imagination a little bit…that’s for sure.
Danny makes for a pretty good main character. He’s actually almost perfect as he is very smart and a good athlete. He’ll do just about anything to save Molly while he also makes sure to help out the innocents along the way. He’s virtually perfect, which may make some fans wish that he had more character development, but being the ultimate hero is a personality in and of itself. He definitely looks really good here and you can’t blame him for the train hitting one of the villains seeing as how she ran into it. He took the whole situation pretty well.
Miles is a pretty decent villain. Naturally, he blames Danny for everything so he breaks out of jail and sets up one of the most elaborate schemes in cinema history. He’s nothing special when it comes to a fight so he has to rely on his intellect. He never goes too far, which is why I don’t mind him as a villain. He wants revenge and he never loses sight of that objective. Molly is a decent heroine and she also takes the situation as well as she can. I do have to question how she was taken out so easily while on the boat though since there was a lot of security around and someone should have noticed something. That whole scene was definitely a little unbelievable and I have a feeling that it was off screen because there was no believable way to show it.
Luckily, the film ducks the animal violence section twice. Danny’s pet dog makes it outside of the house before it blows up and the guard dog from one of the neighbors steals Danny’s gun without letting the hero get any hits in. I was certainly glad to see that since it proves hat the film knows what it needs to do to continue being a good film. A scene with animal violence would have definitely cost it a positive rating and a 5 would have been the best that it could have hoped for.
12 Rounds can certainly be pretty sad at times when you know that someone is about to be written out. The elevator scene was a little hard to believe though as I think that the main should have been able to get up to grab onto the window with Danny. He was overweight and tired, but when your life is on the line, I imagine that he should have been able to put in the extra effort. The partner of Danny also looked pretty bad during his subplot. He finally locates the villain and allows him to escape so that he can tail the guy. I don’t see how anyone thought that this could possibly be a good idea since they immediately lose him. The hero only has time to use one last insult before getting destroyed.
The writing is pretty decent although the writer must love a certain swear word. It’s always the one that’s used for emphasis when the hero is mocking the villain. “I guess you weren’t in the plans….._____” is something that one of the heroes says. They always finis the sentence and let a little dramatic pause slip by before saying the true insult. It’s rather unnecessary and the language issues don’t actually pop up that often, it’s just notable that the word is always used in that fashion.
Seeing as how there aren’t many fight scenes, the film isn’t that violent. The scene where the villain dies in the beginning is a little intense, but then things soften up for the rest of the film. The final fight between Danny and the main villain is pretty tame with the occasional stab thrown in. I have to say that Danny was pretty disappointing in that fight though. He naturally punches the villain and then assumes that e’s down for the count. I don’t see how you can possibly just turn away from the villain considering the circumstances. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen.
This doesn’t affect the rating since a little plot hax is expected from every film, but the very ending is a little much. The heroes jump from a helicopter into a swimming pool and the pool happens to be deep enough for them not to get injured. Moreover, they time the jump perfectly and their jump didn’t make them hit the rotors. I don’t know about you, but the rotors are why I could never jump from one. I’d slide off of one, but jumping is out of the question. The opening scene where Danny chases the villains is also a bit much as Danny has apparently memorized the neighborhood like the back of his hand to he goes through a lot of shortcuts and jumps through fences while keeping track of the speeding car. I don’t really see this happening to be honest.
The film can be sad at times, but it’s also a pretty fun blockbuster to watch. As I mentioned, the action is really nonstop and the film never goes too far to show us how evil the villain is. He kidnaps Molly and destroys a lot of people, but it’s all done in a reasonable way. This lets us feel free to just enjoy the adventure. Some of the challenges are certainly more interesting than others, but they all can’t be equal right? This is definitely a good film.
Overall, 12 Rounds was certainly better than I had expected. It was tough deciding whether to give it a 6 or a 7 by the end. I narrowly ended up going with the former, but you can certainly make a case for either rating. The concept is pretty cool and the execution of it was satisfactory. It was fun watching Danny tackle the 12 Rounds and the film didn’t fall into many holes. There’s some slight fanservice in one scene and the romance can be pretty cringe worthy thanks to some of the camera angles early on. Those are really some of the only negatives in the film. It’s a pretty good adventure and I recommend checking it out if you are in the mood for a thriller. Who doesn’t want to see John Cena take on a few challenges?!