Monday, October 1, 2012


New Movie Release
Impressive effects and deadpan 
humor won't save this film

Nonetheless, I liked it

First things first. Dredd is a very rare thing, indeed. 

It's a really good remake in a sea of bad ones. Even so, it's failing to find an audience. Judging by the box office receipts tallied so far, this film is doing very poorly. 

I think this may be in part due to the R rating and the sheer amount of blood spilled in 3D glory.

The 1995 version of Judge Dredd - starring Sylvester Salone - was a truly miserable movie, and failed to stick to its comic book origins. (detailed here)

The 2012 remake stars Karl Urban as the title character, although you never see his face, and stays within the graphic novel's guidelines quite nicely. 

Dredd could very well be a single issue of the series, too. A nice, simple story.

On to the movie...

The United States in the future is a horrible, scorched place to live, with everyone residing in huge, walled mega-cities...800 million in a completely paved-over metropolis rampant with crime.

To keep order, the cities use judges that are a combo package of police/judge/executioner. 

I would like to note right here that I've never seen a VW Vanagon used in a chase scene. And that's just how the film opens up, which is fun. 

The world's lamest getaway vehicle being chased by a badass Judge Dredd on a cool motorcycle.

I can dig that, and this very dry sense of humor can be seen throughout the movie.

The premise of Dredd is extremely simple, something I appreciate, as recently there have been a slew of films with an overly complicated plot.

Judge Dredd is paired with Anderson - a rookie judge/policewoman played with aplomb by Olivia Thirlby. She's a genetic mutant and psychic that isn't doing so well on her tests.

Together, through a series of arrests, they wind up at the liar of a drug lord named Ma-Ma. The liar is a giant building and slum called the Peach Tree, a form of subsidized housing with a serious crime problem.

Ma-Ma is played by a heavily scarred Lena Headey. I'm a huge fan of Headey, (detailed here) and am going to come to her defense. 

Critics complained that she isn't an effective foil against Dredd, but I like the fact that Ma-Ma is A: a woman, because I like a powerful female as a bad guy. 

It makes things interesting. 

And B: Ma-Ma has a decent and believable back story as a hooker that got her face cut up, hence her change of occupation as the maker and distributor of a brand new drug called Slo-Mo.

Shit just got real.

Dredd and Anderson make the mistake of trying to take one of Ma-Ma's henchman back to the station for interrogation from the Peach Tree. 

Simply put, that would be very bad for Ma-Ma.

Ma-Ma closes the blast doors on the building and announces a bounty over the PA system, a shit-ton of cash to kill the two judges.

I am going to stop here in case you haven't seen the film. The action, practical sets and pacing are very good in Dredd

I thought the blood splatter was a little gratuitous, but that's just me.

Indeed, my favorite scene is the firing of the mini-guns by the bad guys, and I liked Urban's slow, careful delivery of his lines.

As for Ma-Ma, I really don't think it could have been played any other way. 

She's a drug lord, for cryin' out loud. An extremely angry, vicious drug lord. What do you expect?

As I stated, the film-maker's may have hit their mark in capturing the story - but they haven't captured an audience.

Still, Dredd is well worth seeing...if this sounds like your cup of tea. For many, it's proving to not be.

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