Bullet Points: Dredd
The comic 2000 AD features a historically epic telling of the amazingly badass Judge Dredd. Fans of the 35 year old character suffered through the 1990’s Stallone-led film which took bits and pieces from the world but ultimately failed to translate the true Judge Dredd to screen. No longer can those fans complain. Karl Urban and company have put together a film that not only long-standing fans of the series have praised but also a film that action fans who are totally oblivious to the comic characters origin can love.
Synopsis: Mega City 1 is a vast metropolis filled with the remains of American society that survived an apocalyptic future. The only balance is brought about by law enforcement agents called Judges. They patrol the crime-ridden streets and act as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Judge Dredd is the most infamous hardass of all, and a day that was meant to be spent training a rookie named Anderson, now sees them trapped in a 200 story building run by the drug-dealing Mama and her gang .
- The Lawgiver: One of my favorite things about the Judges is their weapon of choice; the Law Giver. The sidearm is probably the only thing that the original film got right and this version does an even better job of it. Dredd uses the piece to inflict a serious amount of damage on bad guys. Whether it’s armor piercing rounds, explosive rounds, or just good ‘ole fully automatic mayhem, the Law Giver is one awesome gun.
- Karl the Savior: In ways that the Stallone film didn’t understand, Urban owned the role of Dredd to the point that I can’t see another actor in the role for quite some time. He did for Dredd what Robert Downey Jr. has done for Iron Man. Not taking the helmet off and fighting the urge to squeeze in some ill attempt at a love interest definitely helped the film.
- My Favorite Kill: With all of the cool action sequences that they fit into Dredd, my absolute favorite moment was when he just walked up and tossed the 2nd in command to Mama off of the balcony. He did it so non-chalantly and then just walked away that it totally made Dredd appear even more callous and awesome.
- Not just a Pretty Face: Olivia Thirlby’s character, the rookie Anderson, is pretty cute running around pretending to be a Judge but when it comes time for her to “put up or shut up”, she more than holds her own.
- Mama, she’s Crazy: Lena Headey, of 300 and Game of Thrones fame, does a great job as the crime boss Mama. Her backstory and appearance was perfect to show the brutal nature of the city and its inhabitants. Not to mention, she was a stone cold bitch!
- No Origin Needed: Not every character in a comic book movie needs to spend half of the run time talking about their dead parents or whatever. Dredd is the hardcore embodiment of justice that Mega City 1 needs and regardless of whether or not his dad went to his little league games, he’s strict adherence to the law is how he survives such a shitty world.
Care for a few bonus Bullet Points?
- Some of Mama’s tattoos are Lena Headey’s own tats. The make-up artists did expand some of them, though.
- The character of Dredd was partly based on Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Callahan.
- At 96 minutes, it has the same runtime as the original Judge Dredd film.
- Body Count: 102.
The Verdict: Dredd hits all the right marks. It’s as exciting an action film as you’ll see today and for all you fans of the film The Raid: Redemption, you’ll think you were in the middle of some sort of Matrix-related dream. Karl Urban was the perfect guy to cast and despite a huge cult following it seems that there won’t be a sequel anytime soon. The action scenes in Slo-Mo are original and the final death in the film is straight-up cold blooded. I love it!