At Quality 16 and Showcase
The Mark Gordon Company
2 out of 5 stars
As if Hurricane Katrina didn’t damage New Orleans enough, in “12 Rounds” the struggling city now has to deal with the havoc wreaked by psychotic criminal Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen, “Shanghai Nights”) and Detective Danny Fisher (WWE wrestler John Cena).
Exactly one year after Fisher captures Jackson and sends him away to prison, Jackson manages to escape. He comes back to New Orleans seeking revenge and entangles Fisher in a deadly game of cat and mouse in which Fisher has 12 chances to save his girlfriend. Naturally the game results in plenty of testosterone-packed chase scenes, car wrecks and explosions.
Despite the fact that Gillen’s Irish accent comes and goes as it pleases and John Cena is a total meathead, “12 Rounds” is moderately entertaining. The implausibility of the scene where Fischer unsuccessfully tries to free an overweight elevator operator from a doomed elevator by squeezing him through a tiny escape hole is oddly engaging. And it’s always exciting to watch a man take down a speeding tram Chuck Norris-style. Yet it feels like all the movie’s successes were unintentional.
“12 Rounds” is nothing new — it’s basically a stale James Bond movie — and it wouldn’t exactly be a tragedy if it didn’t ever make your to-do list.