Movie Review: Dredd 3D (2012)

Some might remember Stallone’s mumbles and growls in his version of the flashier Judge Dredd in 1995. I certainly do and I wasn’t too impressed with the movie. Neither were many movie-goers or fans of the graphic novel. The re-runs on satellite television re-affirmed my judgement. When the announcement for a Dredd 3D preview came about, I wasn’t too keen on checking it out. I had not been following the production of this reboot of the comic book hero from the future therefore I walked into the theater not knowing who the director or the actors were, or how the story was going to unfold. I had assumed it would be a rehash of the first movie, and expected a version that could either flop not much worse than Stallone’s or maybe, a marginal improvement. Well, I was wrong. Dredd turned out to be one bad-ass entertaining action movie. Certainly one of the best this year from Hollywood.

Get two judges and one sentence

I have yet to be impressed by any 3D movies but Dredd 3D certainly takes the cake. Visually, it is astounding. The HD computer generated effects and the detailed production work behind it seemed immense and well conceived to create the darker and grittier atmosphere which depicts the dilapidated overcrowded filthy futuristic city of Mega City One, and the hard judgements dealt out by the protaganists and antagonists. The electro-industrial music soundtrack accompanied the movie aptly. What little technical mistakes or annoyances, if any, have been forgivable. Never mind the wimpy looking pistols guns which the Judges carry, or the wooden performances from the lead roles (resulting from minimal dialogue and little character development). I would have preferred a different actor for Dredd’s role as Karl Urban doesn’t seem to have the screen presence or broad shoulders like Stallone had. The movie could have been a little darker and a little dirtier, but no worries, enough effort had been put in by the producers Andrew MacDonald and Allon Reich, director Pete Travis (VANTAGE POINT) and his production team into translating screenwriter Alex Garland’s story into reality. Everything gelled nicely into a compelling cinematic experience. DREDD 3D had lost its gold colored shoulder pads from the graphic novel and the over the top 90s screen adaption. It kept my interest from the start till the credits rolled.

Have you been bad? Dredd is coming to get you!

As DREDD’s story unfolded, scenes from the recently released Indonesian low budget martial arts-action hit movie, THE RAID: REDEMPTION, came to mind. In THE RAID, present-day SWAT protagonists had to escape from a locked down apartment block controlled by a kingpin. Moviegoers who’ve watched THE RAID will probably draw the same comparisons albeit the puny budget used to make the flick. It had some pretty original & violent fight scenes and certainly highlighted the “silat” form of fighting which is still relatively unknown in the western hemisphere. However, I did find some of key fight scenes too draggy – its simply beyond any mortal’s ability to fight that long and take that much of a beating. The funny thing is that THE RAID itself reminded me of Bruce Lee’s GAME OF DEATH.

Back to DREDD, if you enjoy action movies with little drama, and hate long dialogues and weepy tales then you will enjoy this reboot of Judge Dredd. It is worth noting that this action thriller has been filmed without the distractions of busty actresses, or a hero with an exposed muscular upper torso. Dredd does not even remove his helmet at any point in the movie. It is a little unconventional. If this was intentional by the director, then it worked for me. This reboot only depicts a day in the life of Judge Dredd. I certainly hope the filmmakers will tell more daily tales of Judge Joseph Dredd in future installments of this franchise. Go watch DREDD, the iconic policeman, judge, jury and executioner who became a legend through a comic-book and now on-screen again. Watch him in 3D for the blood, gore and ‘slo-mo’.

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd and his toy gun (smaller than it looks in the movie)

Official Synopsis


The future. America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC lies Mega City One a vast, violent metropolis of over 400 million citizens living in perpetual fear. The only ones attempting to impose order in the urban chaos are The Judges. Law enforcers, juries, judges and executioners rolled into one. The epitome of these Judges is Dredd. The Chief Judge gives Dredd a mission. To road test a rookie Judge, the powerful psychic Cassandra Anderson. It is to be a training day. The Judges head for a seemingly routine homicide in the notorious Peach Trees mega-block – a 200 story vertical slum run by the pitiless Ma-Ma clan. When the Judges attempt to arrest one of Ma-Ma’s chief henchmen, Ma-Ma shuts down the entire building and orders her clan to hunt the judges down. Our two judges are now caught in a vicious and relentless fight for survival

 

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