Just saw a new action movie called 12 Rounds in the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, in the company of the largest number of men dressed in white dish dashas (traditional men's dress) I've ever seen.
I actually thought this one could be a winner, directed as it was by action-helmer Renny Harlin. Then again, Harlin did Die Hard 2 (excellent) AND Speed 2 (execrable). Unfortunately this one is more of a Speed 2 type of experience. On the good side, it's not out in Ireland until late May, so I've had a pretty good preview.
WWF wrestler John Cena plays a New Orleans cop called Danny Fisher who almost by accident, takes down international criminal Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen with an utterly bizarre accent). A year later, Jackson breaks out of prison and kidnaps Fisher's girlfriend Molly, forcing him to take part in 12 impossible tasks to win her back. The tasks range from rescuing a very fat man from a lift that's about to drop 20 storeys, to saving the occupants of a tram car with no brakes, to stopping a bomb on a bus. Yes, that last one might seem familiar....
And that's not the only plot device lifted from Speed. We have Fisher's almost comically-doomed police partner, who's the brains of the operation and gets wounded in the opening sequence. There's Fisher's house getting blown up with an innocent character inside (just like the bus at the start of Speed).
Despite being incredibly derivative, I did enjoy this utterly brainless action flick. John Cena might not be winning any Oscars soon but he is an engaging leading character and in fact is no more wooden than Keanu Reeves in, um, Speed. The weak link in my opinion is Gillen, who's not remotely convincing as an evil mastermind. I kept giggling whenever he appeared on screen. Bring back Dennis Hopper!!!