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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 45min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
July 31, 2009
August 3, 2009

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): The Mark Gordon Company, Midnight Sun Pictures, WWE Films
Distribution (US): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Renny Harlin
Producer(s): Becki Cross Trujillo, Mark Gordon, Renny Harlin, Mike Lake, Josh McLaughlin, Vince McMahon
Written by: Daniel Kunka
Cinematography/Camera: David Boyd
Music: Trevor Rabin
Film Editing: Brian Berdan
Casting: John Papsidera
Production Design: Nicholas Lundy
Viewed on 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD

This analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

The MPAA says 12 Rounds is "PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action" but it is about as "R" as "R" can get. 12 Rounds earned a PG-equivalent score in Drugs/Alcohol (D) content but R-equivalent scores in all of the five other investigation areas (W, I, S, O, M). "PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action" says nothing about the 41 uses of profanity, the abuse of God's name with and without the four letter expletive, the cohabitation, the sexual innuendo, the inappropriate touch, the video of intercourse ... How else can I put it? 12 Rounds should have been rated R. If not R then NC-17. But then I do not and will not have analysis data of any NC-17 films so I cannot say 12 Rounds should have been rated NC-17. But I do have a l-o-t of data that say this film is truly equivalent to most R-rated films.

Even its Influence Density (ID) score corroborates the R-equivalent final score of 31 out of 100. R-rated films typically earn Influence Density scores from 0.78 to 2.04 (the higher score the more severe). 12 Rounds earned an Influence Density score of 2.13. Too bad, too. 12 Rounds has a good story line and can be quite engrossing. The hand-held camera technique and the attention to detail add to the power of the story.

12 Rounds is deceiving in its face. I found myself thinking "I just might be able let my older kids watch this with me since, having seen it, I can jump past the sexual content and since the Curse-Free TV filter will delete the 41 uses of profanity and the eight uses of God's name in vain." But once I saw the resulting numbers the decision was made for me ... instantly. At the risk of sounding a braggart, the comeuppance the CAP Analysis Model gave me is testimony to the efficiency and objectivity of it. Too bad also that the MPAA would label this piece of hard R as approved for our youth by slapping a PG-13 on it.

No wonder our youth culture is getting what seems to be so insensitive, dark, arrogant and bitter. I'm telling you, folks, that of all the non-Faith influences in a child's life the only exofamilial entity that more deeply and intimately saturates our children than the entertainment industry is air: that all the influences in a child's life which lead him/her to question and even abandon your home-taught Bible-based ethics and morality cower before the immensity of the indelible influence of entertainment. Not one other influence in the world has as far-reaching and deep-soaking effect as entertainment ... universally. And probably every movie lover teen and older preteen will deny movies have any effect on their values, personal integrity and coping skills. But not only do the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and others disagree, so does God disagree. [1 Cor. 15:33]

Take for example text books. Textbooks have wide-spread influence, right? Every school-attending child in the country has some interface with a textbook of some sort. Maybe textbooks do have wide-spread influence but texts used in a school in Maine are not likely the same as the texts used in California or Oregon or Florida. Home life? Home life is typically a function of the degree of friction created within the home which is undeniably fueled by the freedom from accountability, the freedom from authority and the freedom from consequences taught by nearly every film targeted at teens and preteens. And the influence of a film in Florida is identical to the influence of that same film in Washington, in Montana and every other place where the film is shown. That is why I say "universally." And since I and my wife have provided 24-7 care for 39 kids over a period of nearly 20 years I suspect what I said above is credible.

On the surface even I, the "engineer" of the CAP Analysis Model, felt 12 Rounds j-u-s-t might be on the borderline of tolerable for my older kids. But I was wrong. And the CAP Analysis Model was what proved me wrong. Thank you, Jesus. While I might be the engineer of the analysis model, Jesus is the Designer. Thanks go to Him. He has warned us over and over that evil will be very attractive and alluring and seductive and ... Even I, for a short while, became "trapped" in its snare to the extent of almost believing this film, after editing out the profanity and sexual matters, could be "safely" viewed by my older kids with me. Preachers are not immune.

Enough of the sermon ... err ... blog. Whatever. On to the story.

After a series of attempts of the FBI under the lead of Special Agents George Aiken (Steve Harris) and Ray Santiago (Gonzalo Menendez) to track and capture international arms dealer, murderer and espionage master, Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen), we are introduced to New Orleans police officer Danny Fisher (John Cena) and his two-week live-in girlfriend Molly Porter (Ashley Scott) in her home ... and in her underwear. After a number of innuendo of sexually focused behaviors embedded in imitation bliss and blunder of daily married routine, Fisher leaves for "work" with his partner, Hank Carver (Brian J. White) who has been patiently waiting for Fisher while Fisher looks for his badge.

Fisher and Carver, through a series of chance events and through Fisher's keen instinct for police work, found and arrested Jackson. During the initial efforts to arrest Jackson, Carver is shot in his behind and is left behind by Fisher to pursue Jackson who fled capture with his cohort and love-of-his-life girlfriend, Erica Kessen (Taylor Cole) in tow. During the ensuing arrest Jackson told Erica to run from the arrest and that is what she did ... right into the path of an SUV.

Jackson blamed Fisher for Erica's death. Jackson told Fisher "I'll remember you!" Now there is an example of trying to make the criminal the victim. Jackson told Erica to run and she chose to do so. The "reality" of it is if she didn't run she would still be alive and unhurt. But of course, in Jackson's mind neither he nor she had any accountability for her choice to run and her resulting death. Fisher and Carver are promoted to Detective for capturing Jackson.

One year later Jackson escapes prison and launches a plan to get even, even if it kills Fisher. Jackson still blames Fisher for Erica's death. Jackson's false blame of Fisher has festered for a year. During that year Jackson hatched an intricate plan to use Molly to lead Fisher to his death. Jackson's plan is so intricate Jackson calls it a game.

The game begins with the blowing up of Molly's house, hopefully to kill Fisher. But Fisher was outside of the house when the bomb exploded. But Phil the plumber (Kim Collins) was not outside. That was Round One which Fisher won. Now comes Round Two then round Three ... on to Round 12. The challenge for Fisher is to stay alive and keep Molly alive for the 12 Rounds.

Some of the most detailed crime creativity I've seen was portrayed in this tentatively balanced but somewhat powerful tale of police action. Unfortunately, some of the worst levels of violence and profanity were part of the story. As always, the best accounting of the total content is provided in the itemized listings in the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP Analysis Model -- but the individual investigation area discussions below (for those who don't like lists) will present some the findings made by the CAP Analysis Model.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
With some form of violence (or crime) every 2.9 of the 105 minutes of this film, the density of violence is quite high. Not just because of the intensity of individual instances of violence but because of the sheer number of them as well. True to the traditional "R" rating, some of the violence is graphic and with gore (maybe "lite" gore to the MPAA) while the film includes a plethora of examples of "lesser" instances of violence. So, the content not only uses the tried-n-true technique of challenging the threshold of extreme but the relatively new technique of saturating the story with dozens of "lesser" instances of violence as well. See our CAP Rule of 1000 for more information on the technique of using "lesser" examples to load or weight the content of a film. Gunfire to kill repeatedly, including with seeing the bullet impact. Gun battles. Pedestrian versus motor vehicle gore. Dead body with gore. Abduction and bondage to coerce. Extortion with explosives using human life as leverage. Action violence of varying intensities. Graphic fighting and beating. More. This film will certainly imprint lasting impressions in most viewers resulting in desensitization to the gravity of such behavior, especially in youth. God knew what He was talking about when He warned us about embracing violence for whatever reason. [Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Someone expresses impudence/arrogance by uttering some form of profanity 41 times in the 105 minutes of the film (from the first frame to the first of the rolling credits). [Col. 3:8, 2 Tim. 2:16, Lev. 26:19, Prov. 6:17] Also Jackson implements his hatred of Fisher by using Molly as a vehicle for an explosive device to extort Fisher into playing his game. [Prov. 3:31]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 46 out of 100
There are a number of clearly sexually-oriented innuendo and comments in this film. There is an on screen video of Cole either having extramarital intercourse with or was lap dancing on Gillen. I couldn't tell which and don't care which. I am not going to replay it over and over again to find out. It doesn't matter which anyway. Though no nudity is visible both are sexually immoral behaviors. There is portrayal of women as sex toys and an evacuation parade of women in scant dress. Fisher and Porter live together unmarried. There is bragging of women being targets of sexual conquest. Even the end background song speaks of sexual desire. After decades of the sexual revolution what should we expect in a film approved for our early teens which, by the way, feeds sexually immoral behavior choices: which, by the way, feeds the extent of sexual freedom; which, by the way, feeds ... Does anyone but a very few know that there is now before Congress a bill to make it illegal to say anything against the chosen practice of homosexuality INCLUDING the homosexual practice of pedophilia (Ref: the North American Man-boy Love Association - NAMBLA)? And how do you suppose we got here? Alfred Kinsey, the Indiana University father of the sexual revolution helped. But how did he get the way he was?

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 84 out of 100
12 Rounds is not heavy in drinking or smoking. Smoking, noted only once, with a bar scene with booze and drinking were all that were noted applicable to this investigation area.

Offense to God (O) - 46 out of 100
God's name was abused eight times in the 105 minutes of the film. Four times with the four letter expletive and four times without. Not that it matters to filmmakers but either way, with or without the four letter expletive, using His name in such ways as were used in this film are sinful. I did not write the Rules, folks. The Father of the One who spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there did. [Deut. 5:11] In addition to the abuse of God's name Jackson is noted as seeking revenge strictly for the sake of getting even. God sayeth vengeance is His, not ours. [Rom. 12:19]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 11 out of 100
Murder is portrayed in many forms: by report; by admission; by blade; by explosion; by free-fall; by firearm. God is very specific about the destiny of [unforgiven] murderers. [Rev. 22:15] There were, however, no suicides noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'path that is not good' no matter how "small" or "just" it might seem, and its effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be a man or woman or child, the act of demonstrating violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health agencies to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice (ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.), blasphemy (injurious speech, slander in this use), filthy communication [foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • Lev. 26:19 I will break down your stubborn pride [arrogance, self exaltation] and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. [Yes, it is arrogance and self-exaltation which gives us the haughtiness (Prov. 6:17) to violate clean speech.]
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
  • Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor [ashowq: man of violence, extortioner, one who maltreats, etc.], and choose none of his ways.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]
  • Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs [animals], those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    12 Rounds (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • tale of macabre violence, murder, etc.
  • firearms for defense
  • gunfire to kill with impact to feign murder
  • reckless gunfire, multiple
  • gunfire to kill, frequent
  • arms dealing with stolen diamonds
  • gun battle with injury
  • felony flight to evade lawful capture, repeatedly
  • action violence, frequent, of varying intensities
  • pedestrian versus motor vehicle, graphic
  • dead body with gore
  • using explosive destruction and threats of explosives to intimidate, repeatedly
  • reckless driving to rescue/save/evade with endangerment, frequently
  • abduction with bondage to coerce
  • firefighting actions
  • extortion with explosives
  • willful destruction of police property, repeatedly
  • attempted murder by explosion, repeatedly
  • police action with firearms, repeatedly
  • pictures of hostage/bondage
  • intimidation with threat to kill throughout
  • threat to torture
  • assault to face
  • firearms for offensive
  • flashes of hostage/bondage, repeatedly
  • impersonating to gain illegal access
  • grand theft ($100,000,000)
  • firearm to face/head, repeatedly
  • gunfire injury
  • long sequence of fight to get gun with several discharges of it
  • beating

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 41 uses of profanity
  • implementing hatred of target man by using his girlfriend as a vehicle for explosives

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 46 out of 100
  • sexual innuendo re: showing private parts
  • sexual innuendo re: intercourse
  • cohabitation
  • admission of repeatedly sexually immoral behavior
  • video of intercourse (or lap dancing, I couldn't tell)
  • police officer hitting on a female traffic stop
  • rude gaze
  • rude gaze with crude comment
  • portrayal of women as conquest targets
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • inappropriate touch
  • gaping face kissing
  • parade of women as sex toys
  • background credits song of sexual desires

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 84 out of 100
  • smoking (fleeting)
  • bar
  • booze
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O) - 46 out of 100
  • four uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and four without
  • vengeful motives

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 11 out of 100
  • report of murdering Federal agents
  • admission of murdering two prison guards
  • knife murder, two, one graphic the other unseen but aftermath with gore
  • murder by explosion, three
  • murder by gunfire (unseen, just bodies)
  • murder by elevator free-fall
  • murder by firearm, two

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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