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For those who saw 2009’s 12 Rounds, chances are they were watching it to see WWE Superstar John Cena and not for the surprisingly slightly better than average action flick it is. There is no denying that the original 12 Rounds was a vehicle for Cena with WWE Studios hoping to get a similar sort of return as they did when Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was the top man of the wrestling world. Now, 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded hits, the film follows all the same beats but has tagged in Randy Orton to front the flick.
Orton plays Nick Malloy, an EMT who happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness a car accident. One year later, Malloy is the victim of an evil game, a game that has twelve rounds. If he wins more than he loses then his wife Sarah (Cindy Busby) will remain unharmed. After the first round the police are alerted and the puzzle begins to put into place.
The plot is rather thin on the ground, as the original it’s a mixture of Die Hard With A Vengeance and Saw but it is lacking on the whodunit element. Any viewer who has ever played Guess Who can probably put together the pieces quicker than round six when Malloy gets it. It also leaves us questioning just how an ordinary citizen, albeit one with a thirst for revenge, is able to put together an elaborate game, evade the police and develop some high tech looking bombs in the space of twelve months.
Putting all that to one side, 12 Rounds 2 is still more enjoyable than you’d expect it to be. The final round provides enough tension, drama and action than you often get in the whole of one movie. There is a good pace to the film and the action is unrelenting even if the camera work does cut too quickly at times.
As a WWE superstar you’d expect Orton to be able to act and he does a fine job here. He doesn’t have the charisma of The Rock or the likeability of Cena but he takes full advantage of the opportunity given to him here and is a credible and believable lead. The main villain here, Heller (Brian Markinson) could have been more rounded, his motive, his grief needed slightly more emotion which then could have given Orton something more to bounce off of, but it also doesn’t help that the two don’t come face to face until the very end.
12 Rounds 2 is a slightly better than average action come thriller flick, but it does require a slight suspension of belief. When deciding if this movie is for you, put your assumptions aside, forget this EMT seems like he was trained by the SAS and let 12 Rounds 2 take you on an action packed ride for ninety-four minutes.