20th Sep2015

’12 Rounds 3: Lockdown’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jonathan Good (aka Dean Ambrose), Roger R. Cross, Daniel Cudmore, Lochlyn Munro, Ty Olsson, Sarah Smyth, Rebecca Marshall, Kirby Morrow, Samuel Smith, Toby Levins, James Michalopoulos | Written by Nathan Brookes, Bobby Lee Darby | Directed by Stephen Reynolds

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12 Rounds 3: Lockdown continues the long-running franchise with yet another WWE superstar given the chance to headline. This time round we have Dean Ambrose, a wrestler known for his anarchic, unstable nature who doesn’t play by the rules. And that’s essentially the same character he plays here – only this time his character, Shaw, also happens to be a cop. The only good cop in his precinct it would seem, given just how many men Shaw’s former partner turned nemesis, Burke, brings with him to take on Shaw!

Essentially another Die Hard clone (as were the first two movies), 12 Rounds 3 sees Shaw, following the death of his partner, finally return to active duty. When he uncovers evidence linking his fellow officers to a murder, they frame him for a homicide he didn’t commit. Trapped in his own precinct, Shaw will do whatever it takes to expose the dirty cops and clear his name. With twelve rounds in the clip and one shot at redemption, nothing will stand in Shaw’s way…

It’s hard to believe that a franchise started in 2009, with a film starring John Cena, would still be alive and kicking some 6 years later. Somewhere along the way, WWE Studios decided that this particular series would be linked in name only, meaning that they could utilise different WWE wrestlers in each movie – a good idea at the time no doubt – but after seeing 12 Rounds 3 it’s clear that the company may have just found the “in-house” action movie superstar they’ve been looking for to keep this series going. After all, they lost their biggest star, The Rock, to Hollywood. But they truly have found his replacement in Dean Ambrose.

There hasn’t been a really good Die Hard-esque action franchise, that’s NOT Die Hard, since the likes of Crackerjack and Under Siege in the early 90s. Yet I think with Ambrose as the hero, the 12 Rounds series could turn that all around and be the direct to market Die Hard franchise we’ve all been craving… 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown certainly does “classic” Die Hard better than the last two John McClane movies did – so much so that I’ll even forgive the way they shoe-horn the title, 12 Rounds, into the film once again (this time its how many bullets Shaw has left)!

It would seem, given recent releases like Vendetta and now 12 Rounds 3, that WWE Studios are single-handledly keeping the DTV action movie alive; and as a fan of the likes of PM Entertainment I say that’s not a bad thing – they certainly know their audience and their place in the market and are not ashamed to put some decent money behind their movies; plus, they have a ready, willing and most definitely able (imagine the savings on stuntmen!) stable of performers to star in them.

If you’re an action movie fan that grew up watching the films of Richard Pepin and Joseph Merhi then you owe it to yourself to watch 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown - it’s at once a throwback to that era whilst at the same time bringing the action movie back where it belongs. More please WWE Studios!

12 Rounds 3: Lockdown is out now in the US on VOD from WWE Studios/Lionsgate.

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