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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Movie Review: 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown (2015)

12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
Cast: Dean Ambrose, Roger Cross, Daniel Cudmore, Lochlyn Munro, Ty Olsson
Genre: Action

Plot: Upon returning to work after recovering from an injury, a police officer discovers and attempts to turn in incriminating evidence of illegal activities against his fellow cops

'B-Movie Direct-to DVD Actioner Better Than 2nd Film, That Is Also Serviceable For What It Is'

WWE Studios was first formed back in 2002 as WWE films and their first release was The Scorpion King under the WWF Entertainment banner. Fronted by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, it was the prequel to the then-well-known Mummy movies. Since then, in 2008, the name was changed to WWE Studios and the sport that is wrestling has done something no other sports or sports entertainment industry have attempted before: entering the movie business, and since the mid-2000s they have been making a living in the cheapo direct-to-DVD market by plugging, producing and financing their own movies that feature or star a particular wrestler of WWE's. 

12 Rounds 3: Lockdown was the third outing in the 12 Rounds series which first made, erm, rounds with John Cena. Directed by Die Hard 2's Renny Harlin, it was released in theaters in the U.S and some noted its similarities with the original Die Hard. Well, the 12 Rounds films are versions of Die Hard: it takes the same make-shift plot, only the production values are half the budget of a typical multi-million Schwarzenegger flick. They follow in the same vein as The Marine as low budget action flicks, although the films themselves are not externally linked, nor have anything to do with one another.

The plot is simple to follow and if you have seen Die Hard, Under Siege or any action film where the main hero has to take out the bad guys and the evil head honcho, then you'll know the likelihood of where it is going and how it ends.

Following on from the poor and rather dismal, 12 Rounds 2 with Randy Orton no sooner did WWE Studios make another 12 Rounds film; only this time with Dean Ambrose, who as a wrestler tends to be the bad guy. Yet in this film, he is on the right side of the law in the lead role, playing a cop, Shaw who returns to the force after taking a leave of absence, after he was shot and his partner was killed. He eventually discovers some pretty unloyal and dirty cops led by ring leader, Burke, who aren't what they seem and he intends to put an end to their plans. When Shaw comes across evidence that his fellow officers are killers, the bent cops 'put a 'lockdown''on the premises so that Shaw cannot escape & trapping him with 12 rounds of ammo. As the plot unravels, it becomes a Die Hard -type of action film with scenes of villains coming up with ways to kill him and Shaw trying to outwit and beat them at his own game.

This is a low budget Die Hard- same plot, same premise, but replace the German villains with turncoat cops.

Dean Ambrose is okay, although I would have liked him to display a bit more personality as his character and at times, it was difficult to make out what he was saying, audibly. I do prefer his turn here to Randy Orton's in 12 Rounds 2, though, and when he displays rage and anger, he does it without coming across as being corny or cringy and his performance, complete with wrestling moves, is arguably a lot more natural and less phoned in. There is tension felt between Shaw and his arch-enemy, Burke, who, compared to Shaw, prefers not to play by the rules. Ambrose's character does a lot of running, as well as throwing himself in various situations and taking out the baddies, one at a time, and the action choreography and scenes aren't bad. I just wished the writers had given Shaw a sense of purpose for what he does and the motivations that led to him wanting to get hold of Burke.

There is a stupid twist towards the end, which not only makes no sense but is unwarranted and one I could have done without. It was as if the movie was being clever,- when in actuality, the lead up to the betrayal seems inconsistent because there were no clues or signs that alluded that the character was a turncoat who worked for Burke.

It also can be too serious for its own good, the editing is a little dodgy and some of the dead weight from this film could have been lifted by adding some humour to the mix, and by making Burke a Martin Riggs of Lethal Weapon-type of hero with a few wisecracks and one-liners. Having said that, for a low budget straight to DVD action film, Lockdown manages to hit all the right beats and being 1 hr, 30 mins long, it is well-paced and didn't feel like it was dragging the plot out and alas, I wasn't left feeling bored.

From a WWE Studios perspective and as far as direct-to-DVD action films of recent years go when it comes to these types of cop-based action movies that used to be so dormant during the 1980s and 1990s in particular with Under Siege and Die Hard in cinemas and U.S theaters, 12 Rounds 3 is surprisingly watchable and whilst it doesn't try to be anything more than a low budget Die Hard clone, this is a reasonable effort that also manages to keep me glued in places.

Final Verdict:

If the script had allowed Dean Ambrose to show off more of his personality, in-ring charisma he has built up as a WWE wrestler, and range, and be less stoic also, this would have elevated itself to being a very good action flick.

Still, personally speaking, it's miles better than the previous 12 Rounds 2 and if you keep expectations low and don't expect too much from a straight to DVD based film, you'll probably enjoy this. Which I did.


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