Looking for a film to watch whilst you're stuck with the family this festive period? Check Dredd out now!
The last ten years in Hollywood has been about cult classic 80’s (and 90’s) action reboots, as well as the rise and rise of the comic superhero movie. With a fair few of them being sacrilegious examples of the Hollywood’s lazy gravy train you can understand when the audience choose to switch off.
For example, Karate Kid. Awful. Total Recall. A waste of time. Robocop. Not bad actually but not quite. Predators. Adrain Brody? Conan The Barbarian. Laughable. Basically, you get the gist.
So perhaps it was no surprise that the release of Dredd in 2012, a reboot of the 1995 big budget blowout Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone, did not pull up any trees. Especially as it seemed to be marketed as an exclusively 3D film – with the word “3D” slapped below it on the title – even though it wasn’t. It was also at the time when people were growing sceptical of the 3D gimmick in general, seeing it as a way to smack an extra charge on the price of a ticket without giving the audience anything extra other than some cheap shades.
Dredd is an amazing reboot which does not get the recognition it deserves for doing what the original film failed to do, which is make a believable world taken from the comic books. Where the 90’s version was too clean, camp and laced with cliched one-liners, the new take it far closer to the mark.
The world that Judge Dredd exists in has to be horrific and violent. There has to be a enough examples of criminal terror around for you to believe that the government had no other option but to have law enforcement officers that are judge, jury and executioner. The scenery has to be brutal and director Pete Travis makes a great job of this.
America is a wasteland after a nuclear war and made up of violent crowded cities that inhabit millions upon millions at a time. This film is set in Mega City One and we are introduced to a place made up of high-rise housing structures that can hold thousands. One of these high-rises is deceptively named Peach Trees and it also houses one of the most scariest drug lords the city has to offer, Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey) aka Ma-Ma, leader of the Ma-Ma gang.
After a savage death at Peach Trees, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is called to the scene of the crime. He is made to take rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) with him and they uncover more than they bargained for.
Writer John Wagner then sets about creating a simple plot that works incredibly well for this format. The two judges soon become embroiled in a drug bust involving villain Ma-Ma and her SLO-MO drug. In fear of being apprehended she shuts down Peach Trees so nobody can leave and puts a price on the head of the judges. What ensues is a race for survival and a battle for justice.
This movie is high octane. From the beginning it goes from 0-100 and doesn’t stop until the final credits. Dredd is a brilliant looking movie that does not hold any punches in regards to the violence displayed, but it is often presented in such an artistic way that it looks beautiful. The SLO-MO drug makes this movie look like a work of art in most cases and makes the 3D experience worth while. SLO-MO is a drug that means its users experience reality at a fraction of its normal speed, therefor there are a few slow motion capture scenes that look truly fantastic and it actually works for the premise of the story and so doesn’t feel the usual tacky Matrix rip-off.
Not only does Dredd stay true to the comics it look like a comic in the way the scenery and stage direction is set. Dredd never takes his helmet off and you feel that he is a cold machine, in direct contrast to his rookie partner who refuses to wear her helmet due to her psychic abilities. She brings her human element into play which is important because this film has a badass of a villain in Ma-Ma. The story is so simple that there isn’t much character back story needed but what you get grips you and feels believable for sure.
Blood, violence, decent dialogue, plenty of action. This film is a banger if you like the aforementioned and it has the potential to become a cult classic. It is a crying shame that the marketing behind the film was so poorly managed. Even the trailer didn’t do it justice… Judge Dredd justice!
Have you seen Dredd? What did you think of the film?