It’s time for judgement. I am finally ready to pass sentence on Dredd. Since Dredd is a cult/nerdy favorite, I see no other choice than to use my formula I devised for super hero and comic book movies. Judge Dredd has a lot of movie and comic book history to warrant that. So let me begin.
1. The cast was made up of fairly unheard of players. Karl Urban is easily the most recognizable name on the list, and even he would be considered A-list. Until now. Urban’s turn as Dredd is not only intense and serious, but fun as well. He knows that the character is über deadpan serious, and plays up just how ridiculous that is. He delivers many of the laughs in this matter. And while this is a bloody, gorey action flick, there is a lot of fun and laughter to be had…. at Karl Urban beating the shit out of everyone. Olivia Thirlby portray’s the younger and inexperienced Judge-candidate Anderson. She does a fabulous job at making her character, the most inhuman of all the characters, human. She is the foil to Dredd’s über seriousness, and they work very well on-screen together. I was less enthused by the acting of Lena Headey, who played the lead villain in the movie. The character was ruthless, but it lacked a real spark of character or diversity to seperate herself from thug #1, other than her authority with her gang.
2. The plot is simple Dredd. Dredd finds bad guys, bad guys trap Dredd, Dredd kills bad guys. This movie offers a straight forward and linear plot that anyone could follow. This however is the movies greatest advantage, as it attempts to do nothing but be what it is. A cult action film. The movie’s plot is enjoyable and well paced, and the movie is enhanced by its simplicity. The plot offers thrills, a ton of death/blood/gore, and a hint of conspiracy. The movie does not attempt to be anything special, instead relying on its special effects, its lead actor, and above all, the star power of Judge Dredd.
3. It’s an action flick. It’s got loads of fighting (both hand to hand, foot to foot, gun to gun, etc.) Urban is particularly good at the close up action sequences, and those end up being some of the memorable moments of the film. The action is highlighted by dazzling special effects. While the movie appears to pander quite a bit to 3-D (there was not a 3-D midnight showing in my area) the effects are still just as dazzling in normal picture quality.
4. The movie does a brilliant job at paying homage to the Dredd name. To the comics, the previous movies, and to the character himself. Much of the movie is gorey fan service, as we watch Dredd annihilate a building full of criminals. The movie does a particularly good job at setting up just how bad their society is. While spending only brief time on the overall setting of Mega City 1, we get the sense of its size, and immediately know how had bad a place it can be.
5. This movie loses all of the camp from the 80’s because it does nothing but strive to be campy. In recognizing what the movie is, the movie becomes more enjoyable and much more fun to watch.
Favorite part of the movie: Most of the “Slow-Mo” drug trips feature dazzling effects, which are pleasing to watch even in normal picture.
Least favorite part of the movie: The gang’s technician is never explained. He has camera’s for eyes and is clearly not an average human. They never explain what he is, and why is body looks the way it does. That bugged me.
And the final sentence for Dredd is……..
6 (if in it for substance)
7 (if you just wanted to see a cool movie)
This movie has no real substance, I’ll be clear. I personally loved the movie and stick to the rating of 7. 7 will be its official rating, but I have warned you all in advance that it has no substance. I enjoyed it because it featured breath-taking effects, and a powerful, hilariously bad ass main character. This movie was nothing but Dredd. I think it’s definitely worth a watch, and I hope you all enjoyed the film as much as I did.