12 (Twelve) (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus enters a fighting competion and wonders why everyone is backflipping?
With society edging towards ever increasing violent sensibilities, secret organisations begin to set up face offs between skilled fighters and offer rich men and women the opportunity to bet on their chosen warriors.
12 is literally that simple. We have a bit of text based background intercut with some angry visuals, we meet our group of rich backers (which includes Cat from Red Dwarf and Dr. Legg from Eastenders) and then we introduced to our fighters, who have the fights until someone falls, all heading towards a winner. Simple, to the point, and not unlike watching a movie based on a video game fighter (without the hadoukens).
Unfortunately 12 is seemingly made with a budget of about £5.74 and everything about it feels more like a group of friends in a martial arts club got together to film a show reel as opposed to a genuine movie. Yes, there’s a storyline, yes there are a few character arcs, but everything is so unbelievably amateur that I just couldn’t get into what everyone involved was trying to achieve.
All of the cast are obviously highly impressive fighters and their skills are on show here, but without the professional direction from behind the camera all of the fights feel staged, controlled, boringly choreographed and honestly a little fake. The characters (named things like the Homeless, the Teacher, the Soldier etc) all put on their best angry faces and the fights turn into a series of awkwardly misplaced backflips, next to no drama and some terrible editing, selling short the realism by about a mile.
12 is just a well intentioned disaster that comes off too much like an above average home made project as opposed to a movie and unless I’m missing something here that a fan base somewhere will eat up, the only thing that 12 achieves is in proving that nowadays literally anyone can make a movie about anything and get it released.
The video quality here is awful—just plain awful. This is obviously a zero budget affair, but I’m pretty sure a standard definition home camcorder could achieve the same visuals as 12 with the right bit of lighting.
The image is blurry, soft, almost devoid of any real detail, and other than a few of the stylized black and white handheld camera parts (which are about the only thing making this feel movie like) this is more akin to a You Tube video than a DVD.
With a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 track, there’s not much more here to sell 12 as a genuine movie either. The sound effects all sound like slaps and fights sound about as good as heated debates between the rich gamblers.
There’s a buzz to some of the dialogue sometimes, even though for the most part it does its job and really everything is simply placed and seemingly not at all thought out. So all in all, this is a way below average track to go with the micro budget.
Well here’s where 12 steps it up a few notches, if only for quantity. The ‘Behind the Scenes’ (08:13) is a series of interviews, mainly giving some ground to the fighters' real lives and fighting styles and a slight glimpse at the director, Chee Keong Cheung at work.
‘Anatomy of a Fight Scene’ (03:08) is just that and the interviews with seven of main cast expand a little on the characters and range between two to five minutes.
There are nine deleted scenes (06:13) all offering up more of the same and the trailer gallery comes with three international trailers and three TV spots.
The photo gallery offers a good few action snaps, there are biography pages for the cast and crew and there are even three pages of production notes.
Besides that there’s a preview for Bodyguard: A New Beginning (02:30), a Mark Strange: The Road to Pain and Glory preview (05:30) and a sneak peak at a real fight ‘ Leon Waters vs. Guy Golden' (07:10) which highlights just how unrealistic the majority of 12 actually was.
12 had a bit of promise. Real British fighters showing off their skills in a movie seemed like a good way to go, but when the final results make D.O.A. look like Enter the Dragon I couldn’t help but feel I’d just wasted an hour and a half of my life.
The video and audio are tripe and the features feel more like promotional skits you’d watch online as opposed to offering any sort of insight, so in fear of getting beaten up by any and all of the people involved in this movie, I highly recommend you buy at least two copies of this DVD as soon as possible.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 17th March 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Behind the Scenes, Anatomy of a Fight Scene, Interviews, Deleted Scenes, Trailers/TV Spots, Photo Gallery, Biographies, Production Notes, Previews
Easter Egg: No
Director: Chee Keong Cheung
Cast: Mark Strange, Zara Pythian, Leon Sua
Genre: Action and Sport
Length: 87 minutes
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