I have come to terms with the fact that if my wife is ever kidnapped by a crazed psycho who is holding her life in the palm of his sadistic hand, she is probably not going to make it. Not if I have to do the things that movie heroes do. Hopefully for her sake nutso will demand I solve a crossword puzzle in 15 minutes or edit audio with one hand tied behind my back instead of scaling a building, climbing an elevator shaft or driving a fire truck across town at blazing speeds.  We can only hope. But granted that would make one boring of an action flick.

In the new film 12 Rounds, Det. Danny Fisher (John Cena) is put through 12 “tests” by an escaped madman, Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen). The reward for passing these tests is the safe return of Fishers girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott). It is a race against the clock in this James Patterson like plot line. With each challenge Fisher has to also stay one step ahead of the FBI who have their own reasons for wanting to see Jackson caught. So to keep his girlfriend alive he has to solve the puzzles and get to the next step before the feds.

This is an action movie at its core and there is enough stuff smashing and exploding to please the die hard fans. Plus it adds the cat and mouse element for those who at least want something cerebral to cling to. Though the life line in this one is quite thin. Still, it does what you would expect a film starring a famous wrestler like Cena to be. Lots of brawn and little brain. But don’t read me wrong; that is not Cena. Though written that way Cena and his character Fisher have both the intellect and the smarts to do what needs to be done. I had a chance to ask Cena about the heart of his character and he said, “Fisher is just the average guy next door who wants to go to work each day and come home and be with his family. He isn’t a hero but is put in a position to be one.” I am not sure that most of your average guys next door are the size of a bus with hands like a catchers mitt, but I see his point.

I grew up a fan of wrestling but never did I see Macho Man Savage, King Kong Brody or Nature Boy Rick Flair gracing my theater screen. I asked Cena why there is the trend now to cross over. He said, “It only makes sense. Wrestling is a multi billion dollar industry with familiar faces. It is smart for filmmakers to use that notoriety to help sell an action film.” Which is true, I mean, who would believe me in that role. Cena went on to point out that it is not the size of the guy but the heart of the character to do what has to be down. If you say so John.

12 Rounds is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action. It is fast paced and action filled and void of much language or extreme violence. Fans of Cena the wrester and action films in general will more than likely find this satisfactory. I wish they would have spent a little more time developing the challenges or making them even more intriguing. But in the end it is more about stuff blowing up, and I can understand that too. I give 12 Rounds 3.5 out of 5 biceps. It does the genre justice and that should be worth something. Instead of tearing it apart, just check your brain at the door and have some fun.

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Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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