Dredd (2012)

dredd IMDb

Holy crap this is such a cool movie. Anyone who thinks you can’t make a “dumb” action flick like they used to in the 80s should definitely check out Dredd because it is legit awesome in the way the original RoboCop was (which makes sense because RoboCop was inspired by the Judge Dredd character). Dredd is not for the faint of heart– it’s wildly violent and gory, so if you’re not into that then I would definitely advise you skip this movie. If you don’t mind this sort of thing, then you are in for a treat.

Dredd is, in a word, awesome. It follows a day on the job for Judge Dredd, a cop patrolling the ultra-violent Mega City 1. All judges in this dystopian future are imbued with the power of judge, jury, and executioner– able to track down criminals and sentence them to death in minutes flat. Today Dredd is tasked with testing a potential new judge, Cassandra Anderson, a mutant with psychic abilities. When the two enter a slum tower on a routine murder call they wind up the enemies of drug lord Ma-Ma and must fight for their lives while waiting for backup.

The performances in this film are really great. Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) is great as the ruthless Ma-Ma. This character makes Cersei Lannister look like a saint. Olivia Thirlby shines as rookie Cassandra Anderson. She starts off a bit weak and unsure of herself, but becomes strong in her convictions using her unique ability to her advantage. And then there’s Dredd. At first I was bummed that Karl Urban (Star Trek) wouldn’t be removing his helmet (a trademark of the comic character), but I was soon enamored with his Grumpy Cat impression and feel the mystery of never seeing the judges faces visually conveys the black and white nature of their job. It takes an actor with zero ego to agree to keep his face obscured for an entire film– something Sylvester Stallone refused to do as star of Judge Dredd. Kudos to Urban for taking the risk and still managing to deliver an excellent performance.

I am crossing my fingers that a sequel will be made. Dredd didn’t exactly kill it at the box office, but there’s still hope thanks to strong fan response. Here’s hoping that if a sequel does go into production the studio keeps the R rating, because this would be absolutely terrible as a PG-13 film.

Rating: A

Dredd is a throwback to some of the great 80s action films like RoboCop. It is violent, gory and unapologetic about that. I wish this film had done better at the box office because it is an awesome film with a terrific performance from Karl Urban as the titular Judge Dredd.

In the future, the USA has become a wasteland, the only part of the country still habitable has been turned into the giant ‘Mega City 1’. The police force no longer waste time with trials, cops in this city are judge, jury and executioner. They carry out sentences when the arrest occurs, even the death penalty. The story follows one of these judges, Dredd (Urban) and his new partner Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). While investigating a murder in one of the slums of Mega City 1, they become trapped in the building by the drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Dredd and Anderson must dispose of Ma-Ma while the whole building is baying for their blood and the two judges are running short of ammo.

Dredd is a fun film. I really like the direction of this film by Pete Travis. He uses slow motion techniques and 3D (I saw this in 3D when I watched it at the theatre) to great effect. He uses slow motion to show the effects of the new wonder drug on the streets called Slo-Mo. It is a very innovative way of showing the effects of this drug and I really enjoyed it.

Karl Urban is great as Dredd. This was quite a risky role for an actor to take on. Urban spends the entire film wearing a helmet, I can’t imagine many actors agreeing to not seeing their face on screen once throughout the whole film. When Judge Dredd was adapted in the mid 90s, one of Stallone’s request was that he rarely wore the helmet Judge Dredd is famous for. I feel like Stallone’s version suffered because of this, but Urban was able to put his ego aside for the good of the picture and it works so well. Urban is awesome as the grisly police officer. Lena Headey is also good as the villainous slum lord Ma-Ma. She has also set aside vanity and ego to appear in this film as Ma-Ma is covered in scars on her face. Headey is a terrifying villain and is more than a match for Judge Dredd and his new partner.

This film is definitely not for kids, it is a very violent and gory film, but I enjoyed it a lot. I understand why films strive for a PG-13 rating, but sometimes it is really nice to go and watch some adult entertainment once in a while. Dredd absolutey does justice to a comic book I grew up reading.

Rating: A-

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