May 26, 2013

New Disc Review: 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED (Blu-Ray/DVD)

Starring Randy Orton, Cindy Busby, Brian Markinson, Tom Stevens, Sean Rogerson. Directed by Roel Reine. (2013, 95 min).

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

The original 12 Rounds featured WWE star John Cena, who was attempting to successfully jump from the ring to the big screen (as far as I know, he's still trying). While Cena is no Dwayne Johnson and the film was essentially a low-wattage Die Hard clone, it was a mildly-diverting action-fest, and apparently successful enough to justify a follow-up (albeit one released straight to video).

While the awkward title establishes 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded as a sequel, it has an entirely different set of characters, cast and crew. Only the plot remains the same, making this more of a low-budget remake. It does however, feature another WWE star in the lead role, Randy Orton, who's no Dwayne Johnson either, but his performance is at-least on par with Cena's in the original.

Orton plays nick Malloy, a happily-married EMT on his way home from a date with his wife when he witnesses a violent car accident. He tries to help those involved in the crash, but one female passenger dies. Fast-forward one year, and Heller, the husband of that victim, wants revenge on all of those he feels let her die, while the drunk driver who caused the accident not only survived, but got off relatively scot-free. He eventually learn the driver, an obnoxious kid named Tommy, happens to be the son of a powerful politician. Heller forces Nick (with Tommy in-tow) into a deadly 12-round cat-and-mouse game similar to that in the first film. Nick must find clues leading him to the next round, in order to save his own wife.

"'Why Don't We Do It in the Road?', you said!
"No one will be watching us, you said!"
As direct-to-video sequels go, I've seen worse. The action is fairly budget-conscious, and there's one sexually-gratuitous scene so out of place that you can't help but laugh, but there's also a surprising amount of ambition here. Though he's seldom required to do more than kick ass and snap limbs, Orton does a decent enough job in the lead role, making us actually like the character. I was also impressed that, as the villain, Heller (Brian Markinson), is not entirely unsympathetic. We can sort-of understand his motives, even if we may not condone his actions.

There are plot holes you could drive a truck through, to be sure. We are forced to accept that one guy has enough technical prowess and computer equipment at his disposal to bring an entire city to its knees. Not only that, we are supposed to believe he has enough strategically-placed video cameras throughout the city to monitor everything that's going on. But for a quick & dirty action flick, that's just nitpicking. 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, like it's predecessor, is mildly-diverting, undemanding entertainment, surely worth renting on a dull weekend.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Randy Orton Reloaded; The Action of 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded; Locations: From Heller’s Lair to the Sugar Factory; Audio Commentary

(out of 5)

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