Movie Reviews 153 – Dredd (2012)

DreddThis was the movie that should have been made in 1995 when some dumbass studio exec thought that casting Sylvester Stallone and comedian Rob Schneider in a Judge Dredd movie was a good idea. Thankfully, with the new release of Dredd, we can sweep that dreadful past under the rug. (Pardon the pun, but you knew it was coming, right?)

I think the best one line review for this new movie that I can give is “This movie is everything the 1995 movie is not.” If I had to sum it up with an even smaller, single word review it would be “Faithful!”. Like the British 2000 A.D. comic from which the character sprang, this movie is gritty, violent and has a great story. But most of all, this movie has Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) portrayed the way he is supposed to be. Unflinching, uncompromising and always masked.

A new narcotic is making the rounds in Mega City One.  Dredd and his newly assigned rookie partner, and psychic Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) are assigned the task of cleaning the streets. The distribution is traced to a notorious neighborhood city block where ruthless “Ma-Ma” (Lena Headey) and her henchmen have taken over the upper floors. It’s up to Judge Dredd and Anderson to bring The Law back to building and put a stop to the drug.

Almost as soon as the new law enforcement team enter the building, the cleanup starts with Dredd taking his usual mantle role of “Judge, Jury and Executioner”. Bullets and people start flying and the battle rages on for pretty much the whole movie. But it’s not all mindless mayhem as the script has a few surprises to go along with all the action.

The movie effects are pretty cool starting with panoramic views of Mega City One and other cities which are exactly what they should look like in this near-apocalyptic future. Most of the action is relegated to a cavernous neighborhood block city with a central open core whose very architecture and design figure prominently in the story. When characters find themselves indulging in the ‘Slo-Mo’ drug, the films regresses into a slow motion pace indicative of the drug.

The sad part is the the box office returns on the movie were disappointing. Quite frankly, (an in a vernacular that Dredd himself would understand), it bombed.I suspect that this is partly due to the fact that people still remember the first movie and based on that, were not inclined to see this remake. A shame really. All I can say is that this is a movie that is respectful of the character, and Dredd fans were finally able to rejoice. But the failure also quashes any hope of more Dredd movies any time soon.

On a side note, I have to tip my hat to star Urban for not insisting that at least at some point point in the movie his character should become unmasked. It is rare that a Hollywood star sets aside their vanity for the sake of a film, but it seems to me that when they do the film appreciates in value and ironically those performances become memorable. (I’m thinking Hugo Weaving in “V for Vendetta” and John Hurt in “The Elephant Man”). Thank you Karl!


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One Response to “Movie Reviews 153 – Dredd (2012)”

  1. Movie Reviews 159 – Mad Max (1979) | Lazarus' Lair Says:

    […] to hunt down Mad Max’s family, the ‘Mad’ part of Max comes to the forefront, puts on his own Judge Dredd persona, and we are then treated to a frenzy of car chases, shootups and tons of […]

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