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12 Rounds – Extreme Cut (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 3, 2009 by  



“This is one film from WWE Studios Inc. that doesn’t suck!  John Cena delivers in this  action-packed, thriller from beginning to end. Twentieth Century Fox once again, delivers in magnificent picture and audio quality for ’12 Rounds – Extreme  Cut’ on Blu-ray!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 WWE Studios, Inc. All Rights Reserved

TITLE: 12 Rounds – Extreme Cut

DURATION: 108 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: The 12 Rounds Unrated Blu-ray disc is presented in widescreen format, 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, along with English and Spanish subtitles.

COMPANY:  WWE Studios Inc./Twentieth Century Fox

RATED: PG-13 (Intense Sequences of Violence and Action), Extreme Cut is Unrated

Release Date: June 30, 2009

Directed by Renny Harlin

Written by Daniel Kunka

Produced by Becki Cross Trujillo, Mark Gordon, Renny Harlin, Mike Lake, Josh McLaughlin and Vince McMahon

Music by Trevor Rabin

Director of Photography: David Boyd

Edited by Brian Berdan

Casting by John Papsidera

Production Design by Nicholas Lundy

Set Decoration by Leonard Spears

Costume Design by Jill Newell

Starring:

John Cena as Det. Danny Fisher

Aidan Gillen as Miles Jackson

Ashley Scott as Molly Porter

Steve Harris as Special Agent George Aiken

Brian J. White as Det. Hank Carver

Gonzalo Menendez as Special Agent Ray Santiago

Taylor Code as Erica Kessen

Kyle Russell Clements as Dave Fisher

Peter Navy Tuiasosopo as Willie Dumaine

Travis Davis as Anthony Deluso

When New Orleans Police Detective Danny Fisher (John Cena) stops a brilliant thief from getting away with a multi-million dollar heist, the thief’s girlfriend is accidentally killed. After escaping from prison, the criminal mastermind enacts his revenge, taunting the cop with a series of near-impossible puzzles and tasks… 12 Rounds… that Fisher must somehow complete to save the life of his fiance.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) returns with another action-packed film starring one of their more popular wrestlers, John Cena.

The film is directed by Renny Harlin (“Cliffhanger”, “Deep Blue Sea”, “Exorcist: The Beginning” and “Cleaner”), a screenplay by Daniel Kunka, music composed by Trevor Rabin (“Race to Witch Mountain”, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and “Get Smart”) and cinematography by David Boyd (Director of Photography for television series “Friday Night Lights”, “Without A Trace” and “Firefly”).

The film would star John Cena (“The Marine”) as Det. Danny Fisher; Aidan Gillen (“The Wire”, “Shanghai Knights” and “Blackout”) as the main antagonist Miles Jackson, Ashley Scott (“Walking Tall”, “Into the Blue” and “The Kingdom”) as Danny’s girlfriend, Molly Porter; Steve Harris (“Quarantine”, “Minority Report” and “The Practice”) as Special Agent George Aiken; Brian White (“The Shield”) as Danny’s partner Det. Hank Carver and Gonzalo Mendez (“Cane” and “Fracture”) as Special Agent Ray Santiago.

The film kicks of in Louisiana during Mardis Gras and an FBI team headed by Special Agent George Aiken (Steve Harris) are going after a ruthless terrorist Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen).  The mission goes bad and Jackson and his girlfriend Erica manage to escape.

Meanwhile, police officers Danny Fisher (John Cena) and his partner Hank Carver (Brian J. White) receive a report about the wanted terrorist and Fisher sees Erica driving the vehicle and thinks he saw Miles Jackson inside.  They do a routine stop and while checking the vehicle, Jackson who was hiding in the truck starts firing at the two police officers injuring Carver.

Jackson and his girlfriend escape in their car but since Fisher knows the neighborhood, he runs through homes and climbing walls and manages to get to the exit route before Jackson does and manages to block the exit and causing Erica to crash her car.  While they try to run away, Erica is struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle and the terrorist Miles Jackson tells Danny that he will remember him and come after him.

A year later, Danny Fisher and Hank Carver have been promoted to Detectives for their great work but still feels upset about how Jackson’s girlfriend had died and in the process they get promoted.

Meanwhile back at home, Danny tries to keep his relationship with Molly strong but Molly is upset that Danny hasn’t done much to help fix up their home because he has been busy with his work.  In this case, Danny has neglected to fix their plumbing problem and water has flooded their bathroom floor.

While a plumber (and friend) fixes their pipe in the bathroom and Molly has steamed out of the house, Danny receives a call from the terrorist Miles Jackson who has escaped from prison.  For revenge of the death of his girlfriend Erica, he and Danny will be playing 12 rounds and who will be the last man standing.  He warns Danny about his girlfriend Molly.  While Danny runs out of the house to see if Miles is standing around, his car is blown up followed by his house which kills his friend.

The first round belongs to Jackson and now the second round begins, who will get to Molly first?  Will Danny rescue her in time?

The film revolves as the terrorist Jackson plays his game with Danny of “12 rounds” and causing destruction throughout the city.  Meanwhile, his partner Det. Hank Carver and the FBI via Special Agents Aiken and Santiago do what they can to assist (or get in the way) of Danny’s mission to bring Molly back and win the remaining rounds.

“12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” comes with both the original theatrical version and the extreme cut (an extra minute).  The Blu-ray release includes a second disc which is a digital copy of the film.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

I have to say that Twentieth Century Fox has been doing an excellent job with many of their new releases on Blu-ray.  “12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” is featured in 1080p High Definition (aspect ration of 2:35:1), AVC@26MBPS and delivers amazing picture quality.  The detail of the film, may it be night or day time scenes are just fantastic.

The film is just filled with action sequences, explosions and every detail from the explosions to the skin pores on the face of John Cena can be seen clearly via High Definition.  The colors are vibrant and overall, flesh tones and blacks are solid.  You can see the detail throughout the film and overall, “12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” delivers in picture quality.

As for audio, the DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack is amazing.  For an action film that is going to have tons of explosions, automobile crashes and such, I expected nothing less than spectacular.  I literally felt the audio coming from all around and great use of directional panning of rear surrounds, the musical score from Trevor Rabin shining through the front speakers, audio coming clearly through the center channel and LFE utilizing the booms of the explosions and utilizing your subwoofer.  Again, “12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” delivers in the audio department.

As for subtitles, the film is presented in Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Renny Harlin – The more technical commentary as Director Renny Harlin sets up a scene and talks about the shots he wanted to get.  Harlin also talks about working with the talent and filming in Louisiana post-Katrina.  A really informative commentary.
  • Audio Commentary by Writer Daniel Kunka and John Cena – Daniel Kunka and John Cena talk about the scenes in the film and crack jokes.  A more humorous commentary and Kunka discussing behind-the-scenes in terms of working with various crew and also working with Director Renny Harlin.
  • Two alternate endings – (1:55) Two alternative endings (“You Just Won the Lotto” and “We Just Got Engaged”) which are similar to the original but slightly different dialogue.  Each alternative ending has optional commentary by Director Renny Harlin and another by Writer Daniel Kunka and John Cena.
  • “Crash Course: John Cena Stunts” featurette – (9:48) John Cena doing his own stunts in the film which include the car chase scene and the technical ways of making this scene.  Also, the stunt in which Cena had to jump the building.
  • “Never-before-seen Cena gag reel” featurette – (4:48) Fun on the set and interviews with the talent in regards to how humorous things were on the set.  Also, what happens when the talent mess up in their scene.
  • “Streetcar Crossing: Film with Caution” featurette – (16:24) Exclusive to Blu-ray is a featurette on the planning of the streetcar crossing scene.  The challenges the filmmaker made and getting the crash sequences just right.
  • “12 Bonus Rounds: Making Magic Behind-the-Scenes” featurette (3:15) Exclusive to Blu-ray is a featurette with 12 short scenes featuring interviews with the writer Daniel Kunka, stunt coordinator Steven Ritzi, the talent and people involved with the film.  You can watch scenes such as John Cena going for gun training and learning how to hold a gun in a variety of positions, John Cena talking about a car which he drove in the film, using the storyboards for the film and how Director Renny Harlin likes to use them, getting the right shots, getting George the dog for the film, use of Eyemo cameras and more.
  • “Keeping Score: The Music of 12 Rounds” featurette (3:15) Exclusive to Blu-ray is a featurette on the score of the film and interviews with Gordon Goodwin (Conductor) and behind-the-scenes footage on the creation of the music for the film.
  • Round and Round with Director Renny Harlin and John Cena (4:03) Exclusive to Blu-ray is a featurette with Director Renny Harlin interviewing John Cena.  Plus John imitating Renny.
  • Viral Videos (3:38) Exclusive to Blu-ray are two viral videos (“Hands” and “Helicopter”).  Hilarious viral videos featuring John Cena and his hand double and another with Cena’s PA.
  • BD live bootstrap – The film is BD Live enabled.

And also included is a second disc that contains a digital copy of the film.

I have to admit that I was impressed by the level of action in this film.  Typically, I expect action from a WWE-related film and often at times, the films have been more action than storyline based and performance by the WEE talent tends to be average or less than average.

“12 Rounds” is a film with mindless action and John Cena shows that he can be just as big of an action star as former WWE star, Dwayne (formerly “The Rock) Johnson.

For the most part, the film was enjoyable because there is so much action and there is a coherent storyline involved. The game of “12 rounds” between the protagonist Det. Danny Fisher and the terrorist Miles Jackson was quite interesting, especially learning the true reason of why the “12 rounds” was being played at the end.

I did feel it was quite a stretch when we see the character Molly Porter (Ashley Scott) piloting a helicopter and I definitely didn’t see that one coming.  And acting performances from the other talents were average at best.  But it’s already a given, WWE-related films are not films to watch for Academy Award level performances, it’s about the action and what the WWE superstar can deliver.

And seeing so many bad action films starring WWE superstars, “12 Rounds” is definitely one of those rare gems that I felt delivered in terms of action and enjoyability.

I really was entertained and it helps that Twentieth Century Fox delivered with its High Definition transfer and showcased awesome picture and audio quality because it definitely made this film much more enjoyable.  If you are going to have that many explosions and automobile destruction, I want to hear that lossless soundtrack to be magnificent.  And I’m confident to say that WWE fans and fans of mindless action-based films will truly enjoy the HD transfer of “12 Rounds – Extreme Cut”.

Overall, if you are looking for an enjoyable action film this Summer on Blu-ray, “12 Rounds – Extreme Cut” is definitely worth checking out!

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