Finnish director Renny Harlin (CLIFFHANGER, DIE HARD 2) brings first-time screenwriter Daniel Kunka's story to life in the fast-paced action film 12 ROUNDS. When New Orleans police officer Danny Fisher (WWE wrestler John Cena) apprehends Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen, THE WIRE), a villainous Irishman being pursued by the FBI, Jackson's girlfriend is accidentally killed. One year later, Jackson is out of prison and seeking revenge, kidnapping Fisher's girlfriend, Molly (Ashley Scott), and setting up an elaborate game of cat and mouse that traverses the city. Now a detective, Fisher, with the help of the FBI and his fellow officers, has to survive 12 rounds of Jackson's game--each more mentally and physically challenging than the last--if he wants to see Molly alive again. Meanwhile, the roguish Jackson may be seeking more than just retribution.
Although the premise is completely implausible, 12 ROUNDS is a fun thrill ride. Jackson's plan and Fisher's ensuing pursuit leave an unimaginable trail of destruction throughout the city, managing to encompass fire engines, buses, a streetcar, and a helicopter, along with fires, explosions, and blackouts, among other things. There isn't a dull moment as Fisher and the FBI agents, played by Steve Harris and Gonzalo Menendez, try to outwit the seemingly omnipotent villain. Cena, resembling a super-sized Mark Wahlberg, fits the bill for an action hero. Gillen is a solid nemesis: heartless, stone-faced, and completely out for himself. Brian White plays Hank, Fisher's partner and best friend, and Scott is appealing as Fisher's feisty girlfriend.