12 Rounds 3: Lockdown full movie review - Decent action sequences, but abysmally weak script
"12 Rounds 3: Lockdown" deserved a much better script. As a mindless action flick, it's not a bad way to spend ninety minutes. Production values are adequate and there are some decent action sequences.
The unarmed combat scenes are much better than the gunfights. The somewhat gratuitous car scenes seem more like product placements than part of the script.
The script makes no sense at all. Why would a police department even have a lockdown mode that prevents fire doors from opening from the inside? Why would the villains think they could hunt down and murder an officer when every corner of the building is monitored by security cameras? The villains operate as if there is no forensic evidence of anything, even the caliber of weapons.
The script tries to give Shaw (Ambrose) a backstory and inner conflict with an incident that resulted in a partner's death and required an extended leave for psychiatric care. Several characters refer to the incident; however, there is never any resolution. We expect to find out that either it wasn't really his fault due to circumstances he didn't understand, as in "Mission Impossible ? Ghost Protocol" or to learn that some character fault or error in judgment did result in the death and that he can overcome a similar dilemma only if he has learned from the experience. But it is never developed and his experience doesn't seem to infuse his actions. Shaw also has history with the villain, but neither seems to use any unique understanding of the other to any advantage.
"12 Rounds" and "12 Rounds 2: Reloaded" have been compared to "Die Hard with a Vengeance," while "12 Rounds 3: Lockdown" has been compared to the original "Die Hard." However, where the first two 12 Rounds films had clever scripts that compared favorably with the second Die Hard, the third pales compared to the original "Die Hard."
Long segments without dialogue require actors of the caliber of Bruce Willis ("Die Hard"), Robert Redford ("All is Lost") and Tom Hanks ("Castaway"). Dean Ambrose can be effective when given the material. An early scene at a stoplight is effective without dialogue. Unfortunately, he's not given much to work with.
Shaw frequently ejects his magazine to count the number of bullets remaining, but never adds in one for the bullet in the chamber. The villains are able to get into the armory and equip themselves with assault rifles and bulletproof vests, but Shaw can't manage to pick up one of the weapons dropped during a fight.
There is no character development and no moral. Shaw has inner demons, but seems to ignore them. He is wounded, but ignores the wounds. He has an opportunity to team up with another cop, but doesn't.
The script is a largely predictable mishmash of familiar tropes. The level of gunplay is over the top. There is no way the villains could hope to argue that their use of force was justified by the circumstances or that the top brass would allow them to continue shooting up the department with wild abandon. And yet, the tone is very serious and down to earth, unlike such films as "Shoot 'Em Up" or "Smokin' Aces," which have a comic book sense of reality.
While the film never really engages the viewer, neither does it bore. While the plot seems ridiculous and implausible, if one can disengage ones mental faculties, it offers some entertaining action sequences.