12 Rounds

Rated 2.0

A New Orleans cop (John Cena) arrests an international arms smuggler (Aidan Gillen), inadvertently killing the man’s girlfriend in the process; a year later the smuggler escapes from prison, kidnaps the cop’s girlfriend (Ashley Scott), and sets up an elaborate 12-part obstacle course that the hero must go through if he ever expects to see his girl alive again. The end is a foregone conclusion; the only question is how many cars and bystanders will suffer along the way. Director Renny Harlin manages to build some tension now and again—especially in a scene of a runaway streetcar—but only in fits and starts, and only tension, not suspense. For suspense, you need a believable story and characters you care about; Daniel Kunka’s script is too sloppy, and the premise too idiotic, to bother providing that.