Sunday, 23 September 2012

Movie Review: Dredd 3D

Judge, Jury and Executioner: Dredd (3D)
Released: September 21, 2012
Directors: Pete Travis
Writers: Carlos Ezquerra, Alex Garland, John Wagner
Rating: 18A
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Anderson
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma

     In the future, most of America is a nuclear wasteland. Populations are aggregated into large cities, in this instance called Mega-City one - with 800million people living in the ruins of an old city with the Mega buildings of the new. In such tight quarters and poverty, crime lords and their gangs run rampant. The only thing keeping some semblance of order in the city are Judges; who act as the judge, jury and executioner all in one efficient package. This movie follows Judge Dredd, assigned rookie Judge Anderson for her final evaluation to becoming a full judge. Meanwhile a new mind altering drug called SLO-MO is making its way into the market and its users end up drawing the attention of the Judges to drug lord Ma-Ma's hideout... 


     When I first saw the trailer for this movie I had never heard of Judge Dredd either in its original comic form or the Sylvester Stallone movie, but I was definitely intrigued. This time around (unlike with Total Recall), I didn't want to taint the allusion I had created about Judge Dredd based on what I had read so I avoided the heavily negatively criticized Stallone movie so I could go into this movie with a blank slate. 

     The movie opens up with a panoramic exploration of post nuclear disaster America with a Karl Urban voice over giving us a run down of the setting and situation, as well as the role of Judges. I loved that it didn't take forever to explain everything, it brings you right up to speed with what is going on in this reality in a straightforward manner. Then it dives immediately into the action by showing us the typical day of the life of a Judge, you know looking bad ass in uniform, chasing down thugs on motorcycle and generally kicking butt without breaking a sweat. 

     Karl Urban (he played Dr. McCoy in the new Star Trek) as Judge Dredd was pretty awesome! He's a seasoned Judge, so not much phases him. He's cold, calculated and stringent in following the law. He never takes his helmet off (evidently in the Stallone version when he did this it was a huge no-no!), so it adds an air of anonymity and mystery to Dredd. We never really get to know him deeper, but really that's not the point of this movie. All we really need to know is that he's the best at his job and that he's unwavering in his dedication to doing what's right. His character is kind of like Robo-Cop, a bit stiff (especially in dialogue) - but even this plays into his character perfectly when he delivers dead pan lines that are just relaxed enough to break the tension in the situation. 

     Then the movie moves on to contrast with the daily life of a drug lord, namely Ma-Ma's dealings and keeping other gangs in line. Just when you think Lena Headey (she also plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones) couldn't be more awesome - she takes playing a villain to a whole new scar faced and piss your pants kind of level. To be a female drug lord and to command so much attention and fear she has to be ruthless. Sometimes I wondered if she wasn't just a little bit off her rocker (she probably was). I've watched a lot of action movies and I thought I'd seen every possible way of killing someone- but Ma-Ma managed to completely surprise and shock me!

     Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson was a little ray of hopeful sunshine amidst all the dark grunge of the slums. She's young, fresh faced and hasn't been completely broken down by how crappy is life yet. She wants to make a difference, no matter how small. Oh I forgot to mention that all this post-nuclear radiation is probably mutating people and she has psychic mind reading abilities? I love that her character goes through a very visible change from the beginning of the movie to the end - her experiences mark and ground her a bit. 

     The story isn't deep and earth shattering, but it does entertain and keep you constantly on your toes. There were some twists I wasn't expecting and there's really nicely done foreshadowing in the beginning. I'm not usually a fan of 3D movies, given a choice I will always choose a regular movie. But the 3D effects in this movie really worked in its favor, especially in combination with the slow motion effects. When I first heard that there would be slow motion involved I really thought it'd be cheesy The Matrix style bullet dodging kind of effects. BUT it's NOT! It's completely relevant to the story, especially with letting viewers experience what the SLO-MO drug users are experiencing. These slow-mo scenes had such exacting detail, they were some of the most exquisitely rendered scenes ever! 

     Now keep in mind it is an 18A rated movie!! There is blood, gore, slow motion bullets through heads and a really really uncomfortable sexually suggestive scene. Fans of shoot em up, senseless violence movies will definitely love this one! 
Overall: 4/5 Hot Cups of Tea!
Heart stopping fight scenes, overzealous use of heavy artillery, paranormal abilities, experiencing mind altering drugs without the side effects and a drama free female/male partnering! What more could I ask for? I enjoyed it!
Also on a random side note, this society apparently "recycles" dead bodies, my boyfriend and I came to the conclusion that they were probably being made into Soy-lent Greens to feed the starving population...any other theories?



  1. Good review Ann. It’s fun, bloody, and in-your-face, but it still felt like something was missing in the action-department at the end. I don’t know what it was, but something could have been a lot crazier about this material I feel like.

    1. I agree!!! I was hoping for some kind of catastrophic explosion at the end with Ma-Ma then it's kinda like *shove* - THE END.


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