Plot: Nick (Randy Orton) is in the middle of a debate over romantic comedies with his wife, when their date night is interrupted by a brutal car accident that happens right in front of them. As he is an EMT, Nick jumps into action while his wife phones 911, able to pull a couple of people from the crash in the process. But one woman is trapped inside a vehicle and despite his best efforts, she dies from her injuries. While Nick has to deal with death on a regular basis, he is still shaken up by the night’s events and the loss sticks with him. One year later, a routine call to the scene of accident proves to be anything but routine, as the victim is strapped with heavy explosives and Nick gets a call from someone who tells him the scales of justice need to be rebalanced. The bomb explodes, but this is just the first trial in a series of dangerous tasks. If Nick is unable to complete these complicated assignments, the caller will his wife, but why has Nick been chosen for this horrific ordeal?
Entertainment Value: The original 12 Rounds was a fun b movie with solid action and a good cat & mouse routine, but this sequel isn’t able to keep that momentum alive. I don’t think 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded is terrible by any means, but Randy Orton is no John Cena on screen and the lack of an effective villain dampens the fun as well. The latter is one of the movie’s real problems, as a good bad guy can make or break a film like this and 12 Rounds 2 is saddled with a mediocre one. No palpable threat from this villain and no keen sense of humor or swagger, which is how Aidan Gillen helped the first 12 Rounds work so well. The narrative here is fine, following the formula established by the original, more or less, just with new circumstances. I wasn’t dazzled by the trials this time around and while the action set pieces were passable, things seemed scaled down quite a bit this time around. I still appreciated some of the better action sequences, I just wish they were more frequent and more creative. So I didn’t love 12 Rounds 2, but it does have some fun moments and for fans of b movie action or pro wrestler fronted cinema, it could be worth a shot.
I think Randy Orton works best as a villain in his wrestling career, as he has a kind of smug charisma that works well in that role. I don’t think he is able to pull off being the hero as well and that carries over his turn in 12 Rounds 2 as well, as he is more or less a generic action hero here. That’s not an insult per se, as he does what the role asks and is more than passable, but he just doesn’t have that heroic presence or good guy charm. I don’t think that is a big deal here however, as the script doesn’t tax his skills much, but there’s an obvious gap between Orton as the lead hero and how Cena handled a much similar role in the original 12 Rounds. So he carries the lead well enough, but never really shines as the action hero. I think the movie would have been better served with Orton as the villain, as Brian Markinson is just as forgettable in the bad guy role as Orton is as the hero. There’s no charisma or evil conviction, just a run of the mill, mostly boring villain routine. The cast also includes Tom Stevens, Cindy Busby, Venus Terzo, and Colin Lawrence.
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