12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Randy Orton as NICK MALLOY
Brian Markinson as HELLER
Tom Stevens as TOMMY
Cindy Busby as SARAH
Chelsey Reist as AMBER
Sean Rogerson as DETECTIVE SYKES
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Roel Reiné
BY KEVIN CARR
I’m not exactly a massive action movie fan, but I do enjoy a fun ride when it comes my way. And while I enjoy the action franchises that hit the theaters for the most part, I have a soft spot for direct-to-video action films. There’s something even more enjoyable about a not-so-great action movie playing in your home theater that can be thoroughly entertaining.
Of the many direct-to-video action movies out there, I have found a guilty pleasure in the films of Roel Reiné. He’s taken the reigns to many franchises that left the theaters and went straight to home video, including “The Marine,” “Death Race” and “The Scorpion King.”
Reiné is not a classical director, but he knows how to make a fun action film on a budget. More over, he knows how to handle lead actors whose biggest talent is not necessarily their acting abilities. Reiné knows that his movies aren’t massive blockbusters, and he’s not trying to fool anyone else into thinking that either. In short, Reiné makes disposable entertainment, and he makes it as best as he can with his available resources.
Reiné’s latest installment into his ever-growing direct-to-video franchise model is “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded,” a sequel to the Renny Harlin’s 2009 action vehicle for John Cena when Hollywood was still trying to make John Cena an action star. A smaller film on a smaller budget, “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded” follows a similar formula as the original: Take a WWE superstar and drop him into a film as a kind-hearted public servant, and let all hell break loose.
This time around, it’s Randy Orton playing Nick Malloy, a paramedic who is roped into a brutal game. He is contacted by a mysterious man who is setting up 12 challenges over the course of an evening. Each challenge features a potential lethal danger to someone, and Malloy must complete it or his wife back home will be killed. It’s up to Malloy to figure out the reason behind these games and to stop the killer behind them.
While it won’t win any screenplay awards, there’s a nice sequence of cat-and-mouse chases throughout the film. With 12 different rounds in its chambers, this movie offers some fast-paced filmmaking with some predictable but interesting twists and turns.
The acting is really where the film has its greatest flaws. Orton holds his own fine, but only because he’s surrounded by actors that either come across as cheeky or overly intense. It’s nothing new to see this in a WWE film, but it can be a bit distracting.
The other big stumbling block in this movie is the forced writing to make the actual threat to Orton’s character realistic. There needs to be a bit of revenge against his character, but it has to be somewhat passive to make him still be a sympathetic person. Unfortunately, this leads to a premise that gets stretched to the breaking point by the end of the movie.
Still, like I said previous, you don’t watch Reiné’s movies for great plot or acting.
The Blu-ray comes packaged with the DVD and the Digital HD UltraViolet capabilities. Special features include an audio commentary with director Roel Reiné and film editor Radu Ian. Additional features include the behind-the-scenes videos “Randy Orton Reloaded,” “Locations: From Heller’s Lair to the Sugar Factory” and “The Action of 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded.”