DIRECTOR: Pete Travis
May Contain Spoilers!
Judge Dredd began life in the 1970’s British comic book, 2000AD and has always been portrayed as warrior of justice, you might say. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where Megacity 1 spans from New York to Boston and is the combination of both the old city and new Megablocks (Not the Lego rip-off), which are cities within themselves, the Judges enforce the law in a city ravaged by crime.
They are the Cop, Judge, Jury and Executioner if necessary in order to maintain order in this dystopian future. But besides the setting and the fact that Judge Dredd is the lead character here, this is nothing like the 1995, Silvester Stallone effort. This is a brutal and gory take on the subject and I feel the tone is just right.
There’s no epic story here, just the setup of Dredd (Karl Urban) and his rookey, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who is a psychic mutant, are deployed to a triple homicide in the Peaches Tower, one of the Megablocks and they are then trapped with an insurgent population trying to kill them, at the bequest of gang leader, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who has taken over the block and the distribution of a narcotic, Slow-mo, in which time seems to slow down for the users.
The Slow-mo plot device is very useful when it comes to the 3D effects, allowing water to splash around in slow and beautiful manner and the audience to get their money’s worth out the glasses, but other than that, the 3D is a bit pointless here. The film is set in close quarters so beside bits of debris flying about, there’s little reason for it. But what was there, was well used and conceived so it not bad, just not necessary.
The other thing that I liked about this were the characterisations. They’re not particularly deep, but there’s enough to play with. Dredd is a human being, who never takes his helmet off y the way, which was perfect, and not a superman. Though he is still a formidable force with Anderson and Ma-Ma also came across well, with enough about them to get behind, but since the plot was thin, and simply about staying alive in a rancid world, that’s all we needed.
Bloody, violent but all with a good sence of humour and fun, with Urban seemingly revelling in the role of Dredd, this would defiantly make a good starting point for a franchise, but it also stands up as a solid standalone film in its own right. But I doubt that this will be the case. This is not the Stallone version, that’s for sure.