The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 108/110 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Portuguese/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Portuguese
Starring: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Ashley Scott, Steve Harris, Brian White
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Music by: Trevor Rabin
Written by: Daniel Kunka
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 30, 2009
"Fast paced, explosive action, as the clock never stops"
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.
12 Rounds begins with an FBI operation to catch an internationally-known terrorist, named Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen). Jackson has proved an elusive target with a penchant for betrayal and ruthlessness. New Orleans Police Officer Danny Fisher (John Cena) and his partner Hank Carver (Brian White) receive a description of Jackson that includes a photo of him with a female associate. The FBI requests assistance after losing site of Jackson and the two officers respond to assist. On the way Danny notices a vehicle being driven by a woman who resembles Jackson’s associate. They stop and the vehicle and become involved in a firefight with Jackson that ends with Hank being wounded. The vehicle speeds off with Danny chasing on foot through alleyways and backyards. Danny manages to intercept them by cutting off their vehicle (using a boat trailer) causing it to over turn. Jackson tells his girlfriend Erica to run but she is accidentally killed when she is struck down by a car. Jackson demands Danny’s name and before he is taken into custody he promises him that he will see him again. Fast forward a year later, Danny is now a Detective (as a result of his capture of Jackson), Jackson has escaped prison, and contacts Danny reminding him of the upcoming anniversary of their encounter and his promise. He kidnaps Danny’s girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott) and forces him into a series of dangerous scenarios, that hecalls “12 Rounds”, which are carefully plotted throughout the streets of New Orleans. Danny operates on the edge against seemingly winless odds as he struggles to complete each of the "rounds" with Molly life hanging in the balance.
If you’re reading this the chances are good that at least at some point in your life you have sat down and watched a good mindless action film. They do require the suspension of belief in order to follow their generally contrived storylines which include convenient coincidence, often impenetrable characters, and in most cases derived plots that we have all seen before. Nevertheless we enjoy them because of their ability to entertain us with their high octane thrills, butt kickin’ action, and adrenaline filled special effects that usually see the good guy come out on top. Both the theatrical version and an unrated Extreme cut are offered from Fox on this dual layered Blu-ray disc. I watched the unrated version which adds an additional two minutes to the film’s run time. 12 Rounds is a typical run of the mill action film that is directed by Renny Harlin who is no stranger to the genre. Does it bring anything new to the table? No. Does it feature all of the aforementioned ingredients? Yes. The result is a fun, action filled ride that doesn’t try to be more than what it is. Think of it as Speed meets Die hard with a vengeance. It comes complete with the requisite ending which is both formulaic and predictable. That’s a given going in. This is John Cena’s second film (his first was The Marine) and I don’t have a problem accepting him in this light. The film’s energetic pace didn’t require him to have to place too much emphasis on his ability to act and I thought he handled things just fine. I liked the characters on both sides of the story’s equation and the film flowed well enough. There is no question that the suspension of belief is required to get the most out of 12 Rounds. There is plenty of action that comes in the form of speeding cars, fire trucks, gun play, out of control trolleys, helicopters, and stuff blowing up. The plot is straight to the point with a notably derived spin that has been used ad nauseam. This of course leaves a, been there done that taste, that doesn’t make 12 Rounds particularly memorable. However that didn’t stop it from being an entertaining experience while watching it.
The rating is for intense sequences of violence and action.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
12 Rounds comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
12 Rounds looks excellent on Blu-ray Disc and features high gloss high definition video quality that is reminiscent of most of the newer release films coming to the format. It reminded me very much of my recent review of Street Fighter: The legend of Chun-Li as it exhibited high level detail, razor sharpness and exquisite definition that brought out the realistic textures captured by the camera’s lens. Dimensional perspective had a near infinite appeal that was visually arresting at times. Close ups were incredibly detailed and revealing of even the subtlest nuance visible within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid level camera pans of the New Orleans locations were equally enriching and exhibited excellent depth and dimension. Colors were appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stood out among the remaining spectrum colors used. Fleshtones were beautifully textured with subtle description and lifelike complexional depiction. Contrast was bold without overstatement as it empowered colors and energized whites with washing away detail. Blacks were rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which made them pop nicely during sequences that contained both light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments (such as the elevator shaft sequence) revealed discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds and objects.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging was excellent. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often use of the surround channels to extend the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this sometimes aggressive soundtrack. This is a dynamically strong sound mix that utilizes low frequency effects to provide viscerally potent impact. Bass can be prodigious as it reaches sound pressure levels that are not only loud but in a few instances drop down into subterranean depths that approach infrasonic levels. This is a reference quality home theater presentation that makes for great audio/video demonstration material.
** It should be noted that this disc would not play in my Oppo Blu-ray Disc player. This appears to be an interaction problem between the player and this disc. It loaded and played fine in my PS3 and Panasonic BD-55 Blu-ray players.**
- Theatrical cut and Unrated ‘Extreme’ version of the film
- Audio commentary with Director Renny Harlin
- Audio commentary with John Cena and Writer Daniel Kunka
- (HD) Streetcar crossing: Film with caution – 16 minute featurette
- (HD) A crash course: John Cena stunts – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Never-before-Cena gag reel – 5 minutes
- (HD) Keeping score: The music of 12 rounds – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Round and Round with Renny and John – 4 minute discussion feature
- (HD) Bonus Rounds – 12 short production segments – 20 minutes
- (HD) Two alternate endings with optional commentary
- (HD) Viral videos: “Hands” and “Helicopter”
- Disc 2 Digital Copy Bonus Disc – Standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded to a portable media player from a compatible PC
12 Rounds is a formulaic action film that doesn’t offer viewers anything fresh from a conceptual point of view. It holds firmly to its genre and delivers plenty of fast paced action that is built around a derived plotline that remains fun just the same. I have been impressed with the quality of the new release films coming to Blu-ray from Fox and this is no exception. This presentation features high quality audio/video that is demonstration worthy as well as including a decent set of bonus supplements that include multiple Blu-ray disc exclusives. This may not be great cinema but it‘s fun, mindless action that comes in a technically strong package that makes it all the more entertaining. Give it a rent.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package