The latest WWE Studios film to star a WWE Superstar released last Tuesday directly to DVD. I typically find WWE films to be okay at best, but never “offensive.” They’re always the type of movie that is worth watching at least once if you can find it on one of the movie channels. This one is a little bit different in that it is actually very enjoyable, and honestly, it should have gone to theaters (certainly better than Dead Man Down and the previous 12 Rounds starring John Cena).
Before watching this movie I would have laughed at the idea of Randy Orton starring in a movie, because nothing about him in WWE screams that he’d be able to act well enough to star in a movie (and that’s the case for almost every WWE wrestler to star in a movie). Surprise though; Randy actually does a really good job as the star of the film. I was quite impressed. Yes, it’s a mindless action film and that naturally means no one is going to be harshly grading the acting like they would a serious drama, but nevertheless Orton was believable in his role (for the most part) and acted it quite well.
If you’ve seen the first 12 Rounds then you already have a basic outline of the plot. In this one, Randy Orton stars as an EMT named Nick Malloy. One night he’s walking with his wife Sarah (Cindy Busby) when the two witness a bad wreck caused by a drunk driver. Nick of course springs in to action and tries to save everyone involved. The drunk driver lives, and the driver of the other car also lives but that driver’s wife dies. One year later the crap hits the fan.
Nick gets sucked into a deadly game of 12 Rounds by a guy named Heller (Brian Markinson) in an attempt to save Sarah’s life. Heller has his eyes on other people as well, and they all factor into the different rounds, but besides Nick, Heller’s other main target is a drugged out rich kid named Tommy (Ted Stevens). Once Nick and Tommy are brought together, they stay together for just about the entirety of the film, which naturally allows Nick to a sort of comedic sidekick (though not really; makes sense if you watch the film).
Honestly though, the story isn’t what you’re going to watch the film for. It is nonsensical. Heller is a sympathetic villain, or at least he was to me. I kinda rooted for him (along with Nick and Sarah) in much the same fashion that I rooted for Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen or even The Caller in Phonebooth. I say kinda because there is no getting around the fact that the dude is a psycho and Nick makes no sense being the man’s primary target in his game. Again, the story isn’t really important here, although it is better than the original 12 Rounds, mainly because it’s a little darker.
WWE’s wrestling product is geared towards a younger crowd and Randy is one of their more popular superstars. Knowing that, if you have a young child or sibling that is a Randy Orton fan, do realize that this movie is rated R and not for them. There is lots of violence, tons of swearing, and some somewhat brief nudity during a sex scene.
As far as action films go, this is one is quite solid. It probably is one of, if not the, best WWE film that actually stars one of their wrestlers. All of the actors did well, and I do have to give Randy Orton a ton of credit. He won’t win any awards for acting, but he did a pretty good job in a mindless action movie where the character really has no development. He certainly doesn’t have the on-screen presence or charisma as The Rock, but if WWE put him in another action movie I’d certainly be inclined to watch it.
I would like to have seen more from Cindy Busby. She’s a lovely and talented actress, so it’s a shame she has so little to do in this film. She delivers a fine performance during the few scenes she is in though.
A lot of wrestling fans tend to ignore these WWE films and wish the company would just focus on wrestling; I know because I’ve been that way with a lot of their releases (okay, most of them). But, I urge fans of action movies, wrestling fan or not, to give this one a watch. 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded is a good and thoroughly enjoyable 94 minutes.
The Blu-ray also contains a DVD version and a digital copy (iTunes and the ability to stream it using UltraViolet). As for bonus features, there’s not a lot here. There’s Randy Orton Reloaded, a look at the locations, a look at the action, and finally audio commentary with director Roel Reine and film editor Radu Ion. The Blu-ray itself has great picture quality and sound; didn’t watch the film on DVD.
12 Rounds 2: Reloaded gets a three out of five: GOOD.
* A copy of this Blu-ray was provided for review.