I don’t know tons and tons about Judge Dredd, though right after I walked out of the new movie (which happily allows you to forget the abysmal Stallone version) I made sure to order some of his Case Files online. I do know that I like the character. I know I like Karl Urban as an actor, and I love knowing that there is an audience for an R-rated comic book movie.
Directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland based on the incredible characters created by Carlos Ezquerra and John Wagner, the film plunges us into the world of MegaCity One, a massive enclosed city, surrounded by wastelands, stretching from New York to Washington, D.C.
Crime is rampant, but there is the Hall of Justice, and their employees, the Judges. They serve as judge, jury and executioner, as Dredd (Karl Urban) says, “I am the law.”
Dredd, the toughest and most badass Judge, is assigned a rookie to assess, Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thrilby), a young woman with an unusual gift, a strong psychic ability.
As they arrive at the Peachtree residence, a massive apartment complex, to investigate a triple homicide, the duo get caught up in a battle with one of the city’s most notorious gang leaders and drug dealers, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) as they uncover the main source of a new drug that is overruning the city… slo-mo.
Slo-mo does exactly what it suggests, slows everything right down for the user, and the camera work for these sequences are brilliant. It is especially fantastic in one set piece where the film earns it’s R-rating, Dredd and Anderson start shooting up a room filled with users, and you see the bullets slowly tear through them… wow. Fantastic, bloody, and violent.
Ma-ma doesn’t want to let them leave, and locks down the entire building, calling out all of her gang members to kill them, and blocks all communication with the outside world, leaving Dredd and Anderson to try and fight their way out.
I have to say, I have nothing but respect for Karl Urban in this film, he has top billing on the film, but you don’t see anything below his nose of the entire movie, as his Judge’s helmet covers the upper half of his face. It allows him to completely inhabit the character, and gives him a rather imposing faceless appearance, justice itself.
And he’s awesome.
There are no real witty little one liners or anything of the like, Dredd doesn’t seem to be that kind of guy, he’s just a hardcore enforcer of the law, and there’s no grey area, you are either completey guilty or completely innocent. There’s no real middle ground.
Thirlby is very engaging as Anderson, and I love her look in this film, she holds her own with Urban, and has a number of wonderful character moments, not only using her psychic gifts, but also her ass-kicking ones as well.
The two of them together work really well together, and I would like to see the two of them come back at some point, as it really was a lot of fun… you know, if you’re into a little of the old ultra-violence.
I loved the 3D as well, it we’ve started to reach the point in 3D films where the idea of doing gimicky things leaping out at you are now being left by the wayside, and instead, its simply being used to add depth to the world. The 3D for the slo-mo drug sequences is awesome, especially the plunge at the end of the film.
I won’t lie, I was a little worried at the beginning when I heard that the majority of the film was inside one apartment complex… because it made me think of the awesome film The Raid.
But it is its own unique film, in a completely realized world, one I wouldn’t want to live in, but one I was very eager to visit.
Until another one comes along, I will dig into the original comics, and work my way through Dredd’s case files…
Did you see it? Did you read the comics? Which ones would you recommend for me?