Sunday, October 07, 2012


Year: 2012
Director: Pete Travis
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

Plot: Earth in the future has been scorched, with only mega cities remaining to hold large populations. In Mega City One, the law is dispensed by Judges, men and women of authority who are authorised to judge criminals and carry out sentencing on the spot. The best of them all, Judge Dredd, is assigned a rookie Judge, Judge Anderson, who possesses psychic abilities, and evaluate her performance in the field. They head for a large housing complex, controlled by ruthless drug lord Ma-Ma, who locks down the building upon discovering their presence.

Review: I'm probably the only person who thought Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd was entertaining. Sure, it was campy as heck, but there's plenty of action and violence in it to satisfy action junkies. Most critics thought it was crap, but I liked it. However I do admit that it strayed too far from the comic it was based on, and I can tell even though I hadn't read it before.

Pete Travis' Dredd however, is an entirely different animal. No cheese and camp, just brutal violence and loads of blood. Unlike Stallone's version, this one doesn't attempt to dive into Dredd's personal life or humanise the guy. It just shows him going about upholding the law, and on this day, evaluate a rookie judge who may have the ability to turn the tide in the war on chaos. The first sign of it staying true to the comic is having Dredd keep his helmet on at all times, and it's not weird at all, even for viewers who don't know him from the comic.

The plot centering on Dredd and Anderson taking on Ma-Ma and her clan in a locked down building is reminiscent of The Raid: Redemption, but it doesn't copy that film too much and manages to keep the tension and action coming in spades. There are some nifty effects in scenes where someone uses the drug Slo-Mo, as the user experiences everything at a slower rate. So watching people getting their heads blown off in slow motion looks pretty cool.

Karl Urban makes an excellent Judge Dredd, keeping his helmet on throughout the film, and saying all his lines with a grunt and never letting it sound campy. He deserves a lot of credit for keeping things real and getting everyone to take him seriously. Olivia Thirlby holds her own as Judge Anderson, who has plenty of tricks up her sleeve as a psychic, and it comes in real handy at the worst possible moments. Lena Headey is also solid as Ma-Ma, looking nothing like her character in Game Of Thrones. With a huge scar on her face and cropped hair, she is superbly mean.

The film's ending suggests a possible sequel, but I wonder if we'll ever see it since it didn't do well at the box office. It deserves better. It's a great action film and I'm seriously recommending it. (4/5)

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