Tuesday, 12 October 2010



There's a little bit of confusion here, as there's another recent DVD release called XII (actually Twelve on the video box). The other one is apparently a slasher piece, which looks more my kind of thing, but this one is a fighting movie in which a dozen fairly charmless types are pitted against each other in a series of questionably legal combat scenes, the winner pocketing half a million in cash put up by an equally charmless set of investors who like to watch desperate peasants beating one another senseless.

So in 12 Twelve (which is exactly how it appears on screen) you get absolutely no plot save for a succession of elimination bouts in which the dozen anonymous fighters (The Police Officer, The Ex-Convict, The Teacher, The Triad, The Male Model and so forth) are whittled down to six, then to three. A bunch of other people then turn up and take on the remaining three; the surviving two face off in the final reel. It's a very basic beat-em-up and the fighting, while suitably vicious, has none of the grace or style of even the most perfunctory of Hong Kong action movies. Instead it's grimy, nasty thuggery at its least glamorous: the fights take place in abandoned warehouses, car parks, storage units and freight yards (the original title was Underground).

Between the fisticuffs we get little videos of the motivations behind each of the contestants, as if this is Britain's Got Hooligans or something, and the tough-talk as the investors match their men (and one token woman) against each other. Frankly, despite the innumerable punches to the face and kicks to the goolies, it's ultimately rather dull and grubby (although the constant violence, and the films po-faced seriousness, are occasionally funny), and the sole point of interest is seeing Danny John-Jules, Cat from the mighty Red Dwarf, as one of the contest's sponsors. Other than that, there's not much to see unless you like watching people getting beaten to a pulp. Hurrah.


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