June 13, 2013

Blu-ray Review: 12 Rounds 2 - Reloaded

Four years ago the theaters around the country played host to a WWE Studios film called 12 Rounds. It was not a success, but apparently did well enough to garner a sequel, albeit of the direct to video variety, evidenced by the movie I am covering here. The movie starred wrestling star John Cena, making his second big screen appearance after 2006's The Marine. It was a decent time waster, an action flick reminiscent of 80's style fare. This sequel serves up the same formula but attempts to make it darker and just sucks the fun right out.

This sequel does not carry over any characters from its predecessor. Stepping into John Cena's shoes is fellow WWE superstar Randy Orton (son of wrestling star Cowboy Bob Orton). The man has pretty good charisma in the ring, but it does not translate well to the screen, he seemed to be out of his element.

12 Rounds 2: Reloaded centers on Nick Malloy (Orton). He is an EMT and while out with his girlfriend, witnesses a bad car crash and jumps into action. He is able to save the driver of one of the cars, but a woman in the other car is not so lucky.

We jump forward one year and we catch up with Nick, living the dream. While responding to a call with his partner, he randomly gets a call from a man who seems just a wee bit angry. The man on the phone, played by Brian Markinson, has a vendetta against Nick and sets him off through the twelve rounds of his deadly game.

It is pretty clear what the connection is but we are dragged a lot for a dark and dull ride. Randy, err, Nick races around, looking for clues, beating people up, dragging others in, all as he marches toward the finish line and the big reveal.

If the original film was unnecessary, this one is completely unnecessary. I mean, I have certainly see worse films, it is just pointless going down this road. They tried to make his one darker and seedier than the first. The tale takes place at night, there is some violence and nudity that are not really necessary, all trying to add some heft to the proceedings I guess. It all just feels low rent.

While the first film was pretty unbelievable, this one just takes believability right over the cliff. I like to think I am pretty good at suspending disbelief, but tis is a tough one. The acting lank slate known as Randy Orton is poorly cast as an EMT, perhaps an ex soldier or something. He just does not look comfortable on this role and his fight of skills and build do not seem very EMT like. Beyond that, our vengeful bad guy sets up his elaborate game rounds and an extensive hideout with plenty of LCD displays, not to mention hacking every security camera in the city and no one notices. Even better, we have no idea what his background is, how does he know this stuff. Ugh.

Feels strange to say this, but I annoy help but feel this movie is missing the direction of Renny Harlin, who directed the first film. The chair is filled this time around by Roel Reine, a man whose career is dotted with direct to video fare like The Marine 2 and the two Death Race sequels.

The bottom line is that this is not a very good film. You can skip. This and not feel like you have missed anything. Still, if you have nothing to do, there are worse ways to spend some time.

Audio/Video. The video is in a ratio of 1.78:1. The film was shot digitally using the Red Epic camera. It is not a bad looking movie, but it is a bit flat looking. The colors are all subdued and a lot of the scenes are shot with a soft focus. Nothing really pops, but it still has decent levels of detail.

Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and it serves it's purpose. There is not a lot of surround activity, but the explosions and gunshots all sound pretty good and the dialogue is nicely centered.

  • Commentary. The track features director Roel Reine and editor Radu Ion. The track isn't too bad, they go over a lot of the background stuff, what it was like on the set, what the actors were like, and more.
  • Randy Orton Reloaded. This is a bit of a fluff piece that pushes Orton the wrestler as an actor. There is some behind the scenes footage, but nothing terribly substantial.
  • The Action of 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded. Another EPK style featurette. It is a fun look at the creation of Arizona action sequences.
  • Locations from Heller's Lair to the Sugar Factory. A look a some of the locations. I did like the lair set, where they used an old mental hospital to serve as the bad guy's base of operations.
Not Recommended.

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