12 Rounds 3: Lockdown is yet another of a long list of films to copy the “Die Hard” formula. One cop versus a number of villains. The hero has limited firepower in a locked down building and no outside help. Apart from the occasional phone call. Although this watered down version features a WWE star and the action is not as funny or as epic as the 1988 Willis vehicle.
Ever since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s runaway success with his film career, WWE heavyweights (pun intended) have been leaping on the acting wagon to become the “Next Big Thing.” None have quite matched the success of Johnson. (The man can act and has presence that few can come near replicating on screen.)
Jonathan Good, aka Dean Ambrose, plays John Shaw (Even the name evokes memories of John McClane…) a straighter than straight cop whose partner was shot. He himself was wounded in the line of duty and has just returned to work.
“Dark Matter” star Roger Cross is Tyler Burke. A crooked detective with a gang in the police department that obeys his every order. Burke kills a partner at the start of the film and covers it up. The dead man has a piece of evidence that will convict the dirty cop if it is not retrieved. Shaw gets there first.
Things take off from there. Burke and Shaw have a history of antagonism and it is shown a number of ways. Once the action starts in, where a Burke’s 11 or so henchmen try to track down and kill Shaw, the 12 rounds of the title makes more sense.
Granted the film is just one more in a series that shares the numerical title. Each one starring a WWE sensation. The main problem with this last in the budding franchise is Good himself. Not that the man cannot act (He can and does a very good job at playing the lone “good” cop.) but he does not look the part.
At no time does the WWE star look like a cop full stop. In a world where film roles are cast because the incumbent looks the part, 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown seriously lets the side down. If this were not a WWE production Roger Cross would have been the good cop and Good the bad one.
Jonathan Good (Dean Ambrose) looks more like a drug dealer’s enforcer or even mafioso hit man. He does not emanate that “leading man” look of “rightness.” Regardless of this casting faux pas though, the actor did do a good job.
Not so the script’s writers. Fair enough the storyline and plot had to match the franchise title. 12 rounds being the amount of rounds, aka cartridges, that Shaw’s sig holds in the clip. When everything goes pear shaped in the film, Shaw is stuck with his semi-automatic weapon and sparingly uses it.
But…The cop is in the police headquarters building which has an entire arsenal of weapons at his deposal. Shaw never goes there, neither does he pick up any of the weapons of villains he dispatches. He does, however, keep compulsively checking the sig clip and counting his dwindling supply of ammunition.
Later in the movie Cross and his cohorts raid the arsenal and pull out the heavy duty stuff. Something that Shaw could have done at any time.
Another annoying thing was the fight sequences which did all feel a little too WWE. It would not have been surprising to see a body slam in there somewhere. Each altercation seemed to indicate that none of the police officers had courses in self defense. It was all brute force and no real finesse.
The film is entertaining. The pace is swift and while Good (Ambrose) is not Bruce Willis we do get behind his outnumbered character.
(On a sidenote: The taser gag was well done and made up for a lot of sloppy logic in the film.)
It is tempting to give 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown a full 4 stars (as the presence of Roger Cross earns a full star immediately) but the reliance on an old (by now) formulaic action template drops the score. The film is a 3 star film which entertains but is, ultimately, nothing special.
Fans of WWE may want to award a higher star rating.
The film is streaming on Amazon Prime at the moment and is well worth a look. Check it out and enjoy Roger Cross’ villain. (Cross does give good bad guy.)