Any hopes of there being a continuation of the Dredd film franchise virtually went up in smoke when Danny Canon released his take on the character back in 1995. 17 years later, the film is still looked at as one of the worst films in Hollywood, but fans of the comic wanted to see a proper interpretation of the property. And that’s where director Pete Travis comes in. He gives fans and moviegoers a reason to believe that Dredd belongs on the big screen. During those 95 minutes of blood splatter, drug use, and one-liners, we get the Dredd that we never saw in 1995, a Dredd that everyone has been waiting for. Hit the jump for more.
The film is based on the very popular British Comic Book of the same name. The film is set in a post apocalyptic world now known as Cursed Earth. Anything inside of Mega City One is a hazard to one’s vitality and anything outside of it is scorched to nothing. Crime is always high, law enforcement cannot meet the demands, and the public is always in fear. So the government creates the Judges, an elite group of law enforcers who act as judge, jury, and executioner. But still the demand is too high.
So the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) decides to use mutants to tip the scales in the Judges favor. She tasks Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), a top ruthless sour-faced Judge, with evaluating rookie judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thrilby), whose mutant ability allows her to read a purps mind. As part of her evalutation, she must find and judge a crime scene. So she chooses a crime involving three murders at the crime filled slums called Peach Trees.
Little do these two know, the Peach Tree apartments is a 200-story slum controlled by one defaced prostitute called Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Ma-Ma is a ruthless slum lord who was able to oust three gangs who were fighting for control of the Peach Trees. Now that she sits at the top, she controls all the gangs, sex, and drug runs, and if things don’t go her way, you’ll simply end up dead.
A lot of the film has similar elements to that of The Raid. Ma-Ma, who has complete control of the slums, commands that its tenants take out the judges so that they may be able to continue on with their normal lives. Blood and violence ensue, but that is what you are going to get with a film like Dredd.
Fans will certainly appreciate certain homages like Urban never taking off his helmet during the film. The intense blood shed, gritty violence, and one-liners make the film much more enjoyable than Cannon’s version. Also, Urban seems to have a better understanding of the Dredd character.
Sure there is hardly any character development, but with a character like Dredd, there is absolutely no need to have the character grow in any sort of way. Dredd has only one thing in mind, be judge, jury, and executioner. Dredd is a man of very few words and always has the next assignment in his mind. The only time he shows is vulnerablity is when he is negotiating a life or death sentence. Not much of a choice for the accused.
Thribly and Headey also seem to be enjoying themselves. Both characters provide some of gutsy and hilarious moments in the film. Thribly seems to be having fun with the idea that she is playing as a psychic. But there is also a sweet innocent side that tends to pop out, which can be annoying at times. However it does give the film a little heart. Not that it really needs it.
Dredd is one of the few films that uses the 3D technology properly. There are things that just explode right in your face, and the point of view from the top of Peach Tree goes so far down, you might develop a case of acrophobia. The stylized slo-mo sequences are a lot of fun to watch, especially in 3D. Watching water fall or smoke dissipate is like a work of art.
This film isn’t asking its audience to do anything but enjoy what they are watching. Describing the gory details wouldn’t do any justice to the scenes, but just know that Travis has found creative and fun ways for Dredd and Anderson to kill the accused. So just sit back, relax, and be prepared to take one gritty blood-splattered thrill ride.