Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple. Spoiler free reviews. Keep it simple dummy.
Mega-City One, a vast, violent metropolis in which where criminals rule the streets, running from Boston to Washington DC surrounded by an irradiated waste land. The only force of order lies with the Judges who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and executioner. Known and feared throughout the city is Judge Dredd is challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo”. Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson, a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. They go to a neighbourhood where Judges rarely dare to venture – a 200 storey vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma and her ruthless clan.
Dredd holds the distinction of being the only film I’ve seen in 3D in which the 3D has added to my enjoyment of the film. The slow motion sequences were beautiful to watch in the cinema. I’m a big fan of the Judge Dredd graphic novels, in my opinion this movie is as close to those as you can get. It’s a million times better than the incredibly campy 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone.
Karl Urban, Star Trek & Lord of the Rings, stars as the titular character. With Lena Headley, Game of Thrones as the drug lord Ma-Ma and Oliva Thirlby as rookie Cassandra Anderson. Brilliantly Urban keeps his helmet on for the entire film, true to the comic, with his gruff voice, constant grimace and intimidating presence enough to carry the persona of Judge Dredd. Just like in Game of Thrones, Lena Headley, is excellent as a manipulative psychopath and Oliva Thirlby is good as the compassionate, more relatable character of Anderson.
This film is violent and bloody, which suits the world surrounding it perfectly. You need a world in which people are skinned alive and thrown from the top of 200 story buildings to justify the existence of the Judges after all.
Unfortunately for whatever reason there was little to no marketing campaign for this film when it first came out and it simple wasn’t shown in cinemas long enough. By the time word of mouth got around at how good it was, its cinematic run had already ended. That coupled with only having a 3D option wouldn’t have helped the film financially, I also most didn’t see it myself based on how much I despise 3D films.
It’s an incredible looking film considering it limited budget, the slow motion is excellent and the action scenes never suffer. Something the film does suffer from is that a little film called The Raid came out before it, has the near identical plot and is arguably done better. Dredd is still a kick ass movie that more than does justice to its source material.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film when it came out and immediately bought it on DVD when it was released. I’m devastated that there are no plans to make a sequel as much like the rest of the internet, I’d love to see one.
Verdict: Thumbs Up!