12 Rounds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film provides an attractive visual experience.
Sharpness proved excellent. At all times, the film displayed solid clarity and accuracy. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmer, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to be a concern. The film featured natural levels of grain and didn’t appear to have been subjected to excessive noise reduction.
Like most modern films of this sort, the movie went with a subdued, stylistic palette. A moderately bluish tint appeared and the film displayed that form of altered colors, though it remained reasonably natural. The tones reflected the nature of the material and looked fine. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed decent. Across the board, this was an excellent transfer.
I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of 12 Rounds. The film’s action pieces offered the most dynamic elements. Sequences with explosions, gunfire and car chases opened up the soundfield well and gave us a nice sense of involvement. Music showed good stereo imaging, and the flick used the surrounds well. The back speakers worked as active participants and placed us in the action.
Audio quality proved pleasing. Speech was natural and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared lively and dynamic, and effects fared well. Those elements sounded full and rich at all times. Low-end response was quite good and brought out a good sense of depth. This turned into a positive package.
When we head to the extras, we find two separate audio commentaries. For the first, director Renny Harlin provides a running, screen-specific chat. He looks at how he came onto the project, sets and filming in New Orleans, visuals, editing and shooting styles, cast and performances, changes for the unrated cut, stunts and actions, some effects, and a few other production areas.
Harlin is the veteran of commentaries going back at least 10 years, so he knows how the format works. This means he offers a good level of information about the movie’s creation and keeps things moving – most of the time, at least. Occasional spots of dead air interfere, and I think Harlin too often just thanks everyone on the production. Nonetheless, we learn a lot about the flick, so the commentary deserves a listen.
The second commentary features writer Daniel Kunka and actor John Cena. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, story, characters and script, stunts and action, shooting in New Orleans, and a smattering of other production areas.
While the Harlin commentary gives us a greater level of filmmaking information, the Kunka/Cena chat is more fun. They keep things light and enjoyable. Kunka dominates, as he provides some nice thoughts about his script/story, but Cena also throws out some good insights related to his side of things. Don't expect a super-informative discussion, but anticipate an enjoyable piece.
The Blu-ray includes both the PG-13 rated theatrical cut of 12 Rounds as well as an unrated edition of the film. The theatrical version runs one hour, 47 minutes and 56, while the unrated one goes for one hour, 49 minutes, 39 seconds. I only watched the unrated version, so I can’t comment on the changes that come with the extra 103 seconds. I gather that the longer cut includes a little more violence, and it definitely features additional profanity.
Anyway, I wanted to mention the presence of the two versions. Note that both audio commentaries only accompany the extended cut.
With that we head to a bunch of featurettes. Street Crossing: Film with Caution goes for 16 minutes, 27 seconds and includes notes from Harlin, Cena, producers Josh McLaughlin and Michael Lake, stunt coordinator Steve Ritzi, stuntmen Wally Crowder, Buddy Joe Hooker and Dale “Chick” Bernard, and actors Luukas Harlin and Gonzalo Menendez. “Crossing” details the shooting of a stunt that involves a streetcar. We get a good mix of comments and footage from the set in this informative little piece.
For the nine-minute and 51-second A Crash Course: John Cena Stunts, we hear from Crowder, Cena, Harlin, Ritzi, Lake, Menendez, fire truck stunt driver Mike Ryan, and actor Steve Harris. We learn a bit about Cena’s stunt work in the film. We find a few good behind the scenes shots and some decent notes, but the show largely exists to praise the movie’s star. That makes it erratic and only partially satisfying.
Keeping Score: The Music of 12 Rounds goes for three minutes, 16 seconds and features Harlin, conductor Gordon Goodwin, composer Trevor Rabin, and musicians Steven Erdody and Andrew Duckles. We learn a little about the movie’s score – very little, really. The show is so short and superficial that it doesn’t do more than praise those involved.
More from the director and actor comes up during the four-minute and five-second Round and Round with Renny and John. They discuss a few movie-related issues, but mostly they joke around in this promotional bit. It’s fluff, but it’s enjoyable, especially when we see Cena’s impersonation of Harlin.
12 Bonus Rounds featurettes run a total of 20 minutes, 12 seconds. Across these we hear from Harlin, Cena, McLaughlin, Kunka, Menendez, Ritzi, Lake, firearms coach Officer Joel Tallant, cinematographer David Boyd, stunt double Tracy Dashnow, and actors Aiden Gillen, Taylor Cole and Ashley Scott. Each of the 12 “Bonus Rounds” offers a short look at a mix of movie-making topics like script, stunts, and cars. Despite their brevity, these clips provide some decent information and are consistently enjoyable.
Two Alternate Endings come next. These include “You Just Won the Lotto” (0:59) and “We Just Got Engaged” (0:59). Both just offer minor changes to lines Danny utters in the coda; they don’t alter anything remotely significant.
We can screen these with or without optional commentaries from Harlin and from Cena/Kunka. Harlin provides a few inconsequential basics about the clips, while Cena/Kunka joke. You won’t really learn anything, but the scenes are so short that you won’t mind.
Next we get two Viral Videos. Here we find “Hands” (2:45) and “Helicopter” (0:55). These offer some wacky clips that offer fake shots from the set. They’re moderately amusing.
With the mildly clever title of “Never-Before-Cena” footage, a Gag Reel runs four minutes, 50 seconds. This shows the usual goofs and giggles, but it comes with an unusual twist: various cast and crewmembers comment on the material. That makes it a little different from the standard stuff.
A few ads open Disc One. We get clips for The Marine II, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. No trailer for 12 Rounds appears here.
Finally, a second disc provides a Digital Copy of the film. This allows you to easily transfer the flick to your computer or portable viewing device. It doesn’t do anything for me, but your mileage may vary, as they say.
If you want to see a bland, lackluster remake of Die Hard with a Vengeance, then 12 Rounds will work for you. The movie never becomes even remotely interesting, as everything involved conspires to make it a dull dud. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals, very good audio and a pretty nice collection of extras. Stay with the Die Hard movies and avoid this generic mediocrity.