In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, ... Read allIn a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.
Karl Urban plays the titular "Dredd", not the most recognisable or bankable actor working, but certainly one of the most versatile. He has a far better hold on the role than Stallone did, Stallone gave a performance that was robotic and almost comical. Stallone would growl and maintain an immovable fanaticism to upholding the law, strutting about in his ostentatious costume. There was very little humanity to the character and it was difficult to relate to him, he was basically playing Robocop.
Urban brings more humanity into it, when innocent bystanders get caught in the mayhem he's sombre and vengeful. He treats upholding the law more as a burden, he would rather issue a life sentence than gun a criminal down. Only when the odds are stacked against him and he has to defend himself against armed goons does he act violently. Urban gets as much out this character as possible with half his face covered up. It's not just an improvement on Stallone's take on the character it's an expansion of the comic book character too.
The supporting cast are all excellent, and they all give great performances and have strong characters to work with. Olivia Thirlby as rookie judge Anderson deserves praise, playing a character with psychic powers is not easy, her approach on the role makes you believe everything her character can do. She is not a weak female role either she is never once the damsel in distress and there is no attempt and sexualisation. Lena Headey as the villain Ma-Ma steals every scene she's in, a crazy blood crazed woman who almost seems to enjoy going toe-to-toe with someone as lethal as Judge Dredd. She doesn't care who gets in the way she just loves the thrill of it all. An insane villain who is ready to just about pull anything is captivating and intense to watch, i really wish she had been in the film more.
The Megacity in this movie is not the Blade-Runner-Esque city seen in the 1995 film, it resembles a modern day overpopulated inner city slum. This gritty realism is one of the films biggest strengths. Dredd himself is not a superhero, he gets shot and bleeds like everyone else this feeling of vulnerability makes it easier to relate to the character.
There's no Rob Schneider in this movie, oh no, no desperate comedy at all there's just no laughs to be had whatsoever. This film is gritty to the extreme, people are seen being shot to ribbons, blown up, set alight, crushed, splattered, skinned, tortured etc etc etc. Yet it never feel over exploitative, just the right amount. It's just how this stuff would happen in real life, once again coming back to the films visceral reality.
The film is not without its flaws, coming off the heels of The Raid a similar film in premise about law enforcers scaling a tower block to get someone at the top floor makes one draw comparisons watching it. The Raid had amazing martial arts to make up for its slower parts and was consistently upping itself while being as gritty as it could be. Dredd doesn't have anywhere near the impressive stunts featured in The Raid and it makes you wish you had seen The Raid after you saw this, because you keep thinking to yourself: "this scene was done better in The Raid".
The slow-motion sections showcasing the effects of the "Slow-Mo Drug" are a little overused, the colour is over-saturated and these are the only times in the film where the 3D is used to a noticeable degree.
Overall it's a far superior Judge Dredd film to the one that came before it, and has enough action and doesn't over-complicate itself to the point where people aren't bored watching it. It takes a comic book that has been tagged as notoriously impossible to adapt, give it a gritty and realistic setting and cast some great actors to give the movie some life. I hope there is a sequel because it would be really great to see more of this version of Dredd, Urban has a better grip on what the character should be and i can see him taking it a long way.
- Sep 7, 2012