Director: Roel Reiné
Cast: Randy Orton, Tom Stevens, Cindy Busby
Watch online: NOW TV
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 turned out to be. 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, a sequel that follows all the same beats as the first, but has Randy Orton tagged in to front the film.
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, he is the victim of an evil game, a game that has 12 rounds. If he wins more than he loses, then his wife Sarah (Cindy Busby) will remain unharmed.
The plot is rather thin on the ground – like the original, it’s a mix of Die Hard with a Vengeance and Saw, but 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 solves 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 12 months.
Putting all that to one side, 12 Rounds 2 is still more enjoyable than you’d think. 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 events and the action is unrelenting, even if the camera work does cut too quickly at times.
As a WWE superstar, you 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 to make a credible and believable lead. The main villain, Heller (Brian Markinson) could have been more rounded – his motive needed slightly more emotion, which then could have given Orton something more to bounce off – but it also doesn’t help that the two don’t come face to face until the very end.
Still, 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded is a slightly better than average action thriller. 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 94 minutes.