DVD Review - 12 Rounds: Reloaded

Tom Stevens (left) and Randy Orton
in "12 Rounds: Reloaded"
When I was younger,  I was a fan of WWF. The wrestlers on television were amazing specimens of muscular and athletic glory. They also each had big personalities, unique identities that were often arrogant and flamboyant. The WWE, as it's called today, still parades these wrestlers as paragons of masculinity, the manliest of manly men. They're big and they're tough and they beat people up. I don't watch the WWE, except occasional glimpses as I surf through my cable channels. I couldn't tell you anything about the wrestlers on television now, but a few years ago my eye did catch the wrestler known as Randy Orton. I don't know what it was but Orton had a look and a magnetism that was certainly attractive.

I'm therefore not surprised he would be cast in a movie. WWE Studios has gotten more and more into the Hollywood business in terms of putting product on the silver screen. The company produces a movie or two per year now, going back a decade or so. The company's main goal is to get WWE wrestlers into major motion pictures, not always as stars but featured in some capacity.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has become a star who is flying on his own accord and has become a big-time, legitimately bright star, but he wouldn't be in movies if the WWE hadn't co-produced his first three films: The Scorpion King (2002), The Rundown (2003) and Walking Tall (2004). John Cena is another wrestler who WWE Studios has backed with four films. One of which was the first 12 Rounds (2009). Unfortunately, Cena isn't as good an actor as Johnson nor as charming.

Randy Orton is probably somewhere between Cena and Johnson in terms of acting ability and charisma. He's currently 33. He's a third-generation wrestler. Both his father and grandfather were professional wrestlers. At age 24, Orton became the youngest holder of a World Heavyweight Championship. It's interesting because he follows Cena in this sequel to 12 Rounds, just as Orton was supposed to follow Cena in the sequel to The Marine (2006). Orton didn't star in The Marine 2 because he was dishonorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.

Orton's character here distances him from that all-together, macho personae. He plays a paramedic named Nick. He has a girlfriend named Sarah with whom he lives. When Sarah gets kidnapped and held hostage, her kidnapper forces Nick to perform a series of 12 tasks or go through "12 rounds." The rounds mostly involve Nick running around from place-to-place or going from car-to-car.

If any one has seen the CBS series The Amazing Race, it's a little like that, only it occurs all in one night and instead of winning money, Nick gets to save Sarah and even his own life. It's actually more like Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) but without all the complex riddles. You do get things like having a cell phone sewn under a man's skin over his gut a la The Dark Knight (2008).

Writer David Benullo crafts this not-so-elaborate "amazing race," but he doesn't concoct a sufficient-enough reason for this Rube Goldberg device. In Die Hard With a Vengeance, for example, there is a bigger and more insidious reason for implementing this convoluted plan. The villain in Die Hard With a Vengeance wanted revenge but also had more to his agenda that warranted all the running around. The villain in 12 Rounds: Reloaded doesn't have more to his agenda. He just wants revenge, which makes this convoluted plan rather pointless.

Orton as an actor has potential. He needs better material. He did have a role in a movie called That's What I Am (2011) where he played a slightly homophobic father, which I don't think he handled all that well. I certainly want to see him do more. The constraints and pointlessness in this movie made it rather boring and that's something I don't want to associate with Orton.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for violence, language, sexuality and drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 34 mins.


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