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12 Rounds

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At their best, Hollywood action movies can be exciting thrill rides that make audiences cheer; at their worst, they’re pointless exercises in property destruction. 12 Rounds falls somewhere between those extremes. The premise is a blend of Die Hard and Speed, with a police detective (John Cena) trying to save his girlfriend (Ashley Scott) from a European terrorist (Aidan Gillen) by completing a series of timed challenges. Former WWF wrestler Cena certainly looks the part, and he’s not a terrible actor. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the necessary screen charisma to keep viewers engaged in this by-the-numbers nonsense. Gillen’s bad guy isn’t particularly interesting, either. So with plot and characters a bust, we’re left with the action scenes. At least those are staged well, and if you’re an action junkie desperately in need of a car chase and explosion fix, this might do it for you. Everyone else should give this one a pass. HH

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