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Did you ever read a book that mesmerized you so much that you read it
over? I went into this film on my Amazon Prime account with the
expectation of a similar exercise in camp as Stallone's turn as the
hero. Was I surprised. I was treated to something that actually
respects the Dredd canon. Not that I'm a fan, but this film piqued
enough of my interest to go searching the internet for some back-story.
For parents who are reading these reviews to mind what their children are watching, I suggest finding another film. This one is graphic almost to the point of being gratuitous. Lots of bullets and bodies. There isn't as much profanity as say "Midnight Run" nor is sex a distractive element. This film is tight and easy to follow (although I had to engage the subtitle option to understand what was mumbled here and there).
I have viewed "Dredd" four times now because I liked it so much. For it's genre I found the production was a worthwhile endeavor and hope for a sequel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
--WARNING: There may be some spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen
the film, so just a heads up. In order to accurately review this film,
it may be necessary to talk about some key moments.--
Dredd is B-rated cyber-punk fluff at it's greatest. This isn't a movie you should be looking for the logic in, or even any stand out performances, aside from Keith Urban, who more than nails the character of Judge Dredd. For anyone familiar with the Silvester Stallone film, this one couldn't be more opposite. It's not aiming for the blockbuster demographic nearly as much as it is the cult audience with a bias towards quirky and trying genre films that excel at ridiculous concepts.
Dredd is very episodic in it's brief runtime and centers around Dredd and a rookie Judge attempting to track down Mama, the ring leader of the Peach Tree district who may be linked to the production and dispersion of Slo-Mo, which is rapidly adding to the decay of an already vastly decayed society. The whole film takes place almost entirely in one building.
As thin as the plot is, there aren't any complaints I can muster up regarding it. If you look for the loop-holes or the pit falls in logic, you're most likely going to miss all the good stuff happening on screen. One could scrutinize how it is that the effects of slo-mo seem to wear off instantaneously for some the minute something dramatic happens in the film, yet when given to anyone thrown off a ledge, the torment and adrenaline that i'm sure is experienced somehow can't possibly shake slo-mo's effect, at least as far as this films concerned, but, it is pointless to even care.
Dredd doesn't have an Oscar in mind, it has a very niche crowd it's playing up to, and more appropriately so given the source material it is based upon. It's rare that a film comes along like this one and is almost as serious a joke towards itself a film could be and still manage to be a respectable experience. Dredd succeeds where few films of it's nature can, it's cheesy, low brow, and even funny in a dark dark way, but as blatantly as it plays up to all these low standards, it can't help but be a great watch.
This film was very entertaining in terms of Karl Urban keeping a
completely straight face and a steady voice when saying some cheesy
lines. One of my favorite scenes with him in the movie is when he and
his rookie (Olivia Thirlby) are confronted by some kids with guns. But
what really makes this movie actually worth a look is the visual
imagery. The slo-mo scenes, needless to say, are beautiful and
thrilling to watch. The film brilliantly turns gross-out gore into
something you can't take your eyes off of. Even when the film isn't in
slo-mo, the gore is enjoyable because of how excessive and stylized it
is. Very, very artful stuff. A scene where a key character is thrown
from a balcony on slo-mo has definitely, on a technical level, got to
be one of the coolest scenes filmed since The Matrix. The little of the
grit and grime of South Africa, where the film was shot, still in the
film not replaced by CGI really suits the picture. It's not like I was
blown off my feet thinking Dredd's world was real by any means, but it
did help that the design was so elaborate.
Overall the performances are solid. Karl is an excellent Dredd (I haven't seen the original, but heard a lot of bad things). Olivia is a good Cassandra Anderson. She's the most empathetic of any of the characters, and plays that well. She balances vulnerability and wide-eyed learning with a kick-butt, do-not-mess-with-me demeanor really well. There are some cool action scenes with her in them. Lena Headey is the highlight of the cast as Ma-Ma. She was great. Her performance out of everyone's was the most subtle, and the most disturbing. All in all Dredd is purely popcorn entertainment. And it's thoroughly fascinating visually.
Honestly, when I first saw the trailer, I thought this film would be a complete flop. But to my surprise, it was quite entertaining and well made. This remake of the classic follows Judge Dredd on a homicide call taken place with one of the most residential buildings, the Peaches Hotel. By his side is first time rookie Anderson, who is a mutant and has psychic abilities (reads peoples thoughts, memories and senses others' presence). Now I could understand why some would get angry at how she has these abilities to help her but it didn't bug me, for it is the future. What they uncover is that they're about to endure the craziest drug bust of their lives. The drug lord, Mama, sends her minions after the 2 as they make their way all the way up on level 200, where she's hiding. Mama is the kingpin of the newly distributed Slow Mo drug, which makes reality seem slower. The gun fights in the movie are pretty wild, especially when the gangs are under the Slow Mo effects. Overall, this movie had good action and effects throughout, with a decent cast and plot to the side. Compared to the original, this new film focuses more on the action and situation, while the original is more in depth with Dredd himself. This movie surprised me, as its a blend of the original and new elements. 2.5*/4
This movie wrong footed me right from the beginning. As a big 2000AD
comic fan I was expecting a gigantic teeming Mega City One with
spiralling highways and gigantic hab blocks with curved architecture
and no corners in sight! What we get is the 'burbs with a generous
sprinkling of massive skyscapers. If that was a surprise then the first
view we get of Dredd on his Law Master motorcycle was decided
underwhelming. There's nothing wrong Karl Urban's Dredd and his outfit
while against being made a little more practical that the comic
version, is still pretty cool. BUT I hate the bike! The comic bike is
this super cool hells angel style bad motor scooter from hell. Its a
beast! The Lawmaster in the movie is a Japanese sports bike "rich boy
toy". Lets just say that it wasn't the best start, but thirty seconds
later we're enjoying a drug addled car chase that is straight out of
robocop. In fact our chief protagonist has more than a passing
resemblance to robocop, at the beginning at least. Is that bad? Not
This movie did grow on me though, I wouldn't be reviewing it otherwise. Once we get into the hab block where most the movie takes place we switch to John Carpenter's Escape from New York / Ghosts of Mars territory. The environment is a real slum while there is a sense of menace that resonates with Ghosts of Mars as suddenly everyone is out to get the heroes.
Enter the totally awesome Lena Headey as the vicious MaMa complete was totally cool facial scars that does little to tone down her amazing bad girl sexiness, her character adds a little 70's grind house Black Ceasar-esque coolness to the party. I totally dug her . Stalone's Judge Dredd struggled due to there not being a decent villain. (They even messed up Mean Machine Angel for crying out loud!) Lena is menacing and psychotic with her contrastingly sweet gentle voice uttering monstrous edicts. She's brilliant foil for Urban's dredd.
So what of Karl Urban? I give him high marks, he's got the Dredd scowl down to a tee and he chews his way through all comers like Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. He even sounds like Dirty Harry and you know I reckon Harry Calaghan's whispered menace is a good fit for Judge Dredd! I thought Dredd rocked as the movie went on. Moving away from the slightly squeaky clean robocop and developing into a bad ass dirty harry style copper - a sociopath with a license to kill.
That just leaves Judge Anderson played by Olivia Thirlby, The Anderson character holds her own in the script and Thirlby brings her to life nicely and is never an annoying pain in the ass like some "boy wonder" style super hero assistants can be, but at the same time that is exactly what she is, she gives Dredd someone to talk to to move the plot along explains all the exposition to the viewer. I hope she gets a chance to bounce off dredd in a sequel as an equal. She and Judge Hershey are much stronger characters in the comics than in the movies (to date). I also want to quickly mention that Anderson in the comic is one seriously hot blonde bombshell, while Thirlby is far more realistic and believable. this leads me to my penultimate paragraph...
The Director, Pete Travis has intentionally moved away from the madness of the 2000AD comic to bring the story down to earth, and when I say "DOWN to earth" we're talking the dirtiest scummiest slummiest dump you can imagine and I grew to respect that as the movie went on. In the end I loved it. I still think Dredd can be fulfilled at his OTT best but I accept that it will be a movie that won't be to everyone's taste. Pete's version is possibly the "safe" take but luckily he goes to town with enough grime and crime to dodge that accusation... Just! So, to conclude, what we have is a movie that reminds me of Escape from New York, Ghosts of Mars, Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry with a fare dab of 70's Grindhouse and 70's action grit and sleaze! I mean that in a good way. Pete Travis wears his influences on his sleeve and he wants to pick the ball up and run with it. Put his own stamp in that kind of genre. What is there not to like? It's a good action movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dredd is an amazing film, it has a nice fresh story, some people
complained about how the story was too simple, but that's the beauty of
it! I'm a huge Dredd fan, I read the comics and this film is loyal to
the comics and does justice to the character. I loved the story, it was
simple, fun and unpredictable! Not to mention how fresh it was, it is
definitely not like any super hero film out there.
The performances in this movie were AMAZING Karl Urban plays a badass Dredd and Lena Headay is perfect as Mama. Dredd was not an origin story, and you can say that they went too fast when they introduced the sidekick on the first movie, but we didn't mind seeing Anderson in this movie actually kept it fresh.
Pete Travis does a great job directing the movie, the fight scenes were great, and the idea of introducing the drug "slomo" allowed Travis to let the viewers experience amazing slow motion and it have the story a nice touch.
Dredd was a total badass, he talked like one, walked like one and definitely fought like one! The costume was well designed, they kept it simple and badass.
Overall Dredd was an AMAAAAZING film and definitely the greatest R rated comic book adaption out there I give Dredd an 8/10
Very well made with some excellent cinematography; particularly the
depiction of the effects of the SLO-MO drug; I found this very
effective (even in 2D). I liked that this film was much edgier with a
much tougher, uncompromising Dredd. Great performances all round with
Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey standing out. Dredd never
takes his helmet off and this is much truer to the original comic
books, another thing I liked about this one. The music was good without
being outstanding; it complemented the picture pretty well with some
nice themes here and there. On the down side, I guess the script could
have done with a little more work and they never get the Judges bikes
right. They still look like a standard bike with a big faring tacked
on; I maybe expected better this time. Loved all the various weapons
and tech though! Over all, I enjoyed this one; it didn't fall into
cliché too much and had a nice gritty edge to it. I doubt they'll make
a sequel, but if they do, I will be in line for a ticket.
SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.9/10
You can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts of a SteelMonster.
This was the ultra violent detective splatter action flick (with a steam punk setting) I had hoped for from Max Payne, even down to the raspy narrative of Dredd's voice. Even the story of a drug related murder investigation turned into a trapped in a high rise surrounded by people that want to kill the protagonists while they themselves kill their way to the top dog. Its a bullet ballet for this generation. The visuals screamed out and were bright yet gritty and realistic. The story was just straight forward and there to move you from one insane shootout to another. The slow-mo even was what I had wanted in Max Payne. The bullets penetrating in matrix style slow-mo. Bombs and all when the movie shows from the druggies POV, but they don't over use it or any other over the top elements for that matter. That's saying something for an 100 min long action flick. It blends all its visuals and F/x wonderfully. Fun movie.
Judge Dredd in 1995 came out as a big budget box office romper-
stomper...it made more than it's estimated budget and ended as a
moderate success and was heavily panned by critics but the movie still
ended up as a cult classic. I remember watching it as a 6 yr old when
it premiered on cable in '97 and even now makes a fun watch for
die-hard 90s fans like myself.When I heard about the development of
Dredd back in early 2012..my first reaction was.."Why?". How could
somebody take a comic book character who ended up as a flop on the big
screen and try churning out something better nearly 17 yrs after one
big failed attempt? Initially I was reluctant-as-hell to even think
about it..but later I felt I had to give it a shot and trust me....it
just blew me a mile away.
This film reaches probably the pinnacle of excellence in the department of simplicity and class and here's why : The director needed an actor who could have a rugged yet soothing presence,Not too much money spent on fancy skyscrapers and high end whiz-bangs,An amazing level of importance towards photography which turned out to be the spine of the film,Hyper-realistic action sequences,some of which will drop your jaw to to the floor if you've actually seen or heard of live combat tactics.These key features make the film an absolute ripper. And as far as the acting's concerned..Karl Urban finally finds his spot when it comes to good roles just when everybody thought that he was probably destined for supporting roles.He brilliantly maintains a calm yet menacing demeanor which turns out to be the perfect character for his role as Judge Dredd. Lena Headey plays the nefarious Mama with such panache and suave making female villains of the past look like soft candy. As far as the action sequences are concerned,the art of CQB(Close Quarters Battle) has been shown to perfection and it's so realistic that for a moment you almost forget that it's a movie and being a movie buff since the age of 4 I can tell you that I have not seen that in many films.
The only flaw I can find is that the photography regarding the intoxication associated with the drug SLO-MO through the film gets too garish and makes it quite stifling..that aside it's a high-octane action thriller which is definitely fresh and worth more than just a mere watch!
Episode #9 of Lionheart490's IMDb Movie Reviews
The new "Robocop" trailer really got me interested in the kind of satirized violence-ridden media, like "Robocop" and its inspiration "Judge Dredd". Not the really bad Sylvester Stallone vehicle, the gritty and gory comic books that satirized the violence and legal-actions of media. It deconstructs the kind of "Dirty Harry"-like action heroes who would take the law into their own hand and kill as many as they please. In the dystopia world of "Judge Dredd", that's how the law works. The first movie didn't get that at all, luckily "Dredd" was only able to faithfully portray its source material well to the cinematic treatment. It is also a very fun and gritty action movie.
The movie manages to provide an interesting original story using the characters and setting from the comics. One thing that works for the film is that it's a pretty small film. It only takes place in one large building that holds a whole section of people. This is especially compared to the two biggest comic- book movies of that year which featured grand scenes featuring the heroes dealing with large threats like an alien invasion and the takeover of an entire city by criminals. Nothing against those great movies but after some such grand action and epic scale, it is definitely nice to see something on a much smaller scope. Dredd knows the kind of movie that it wants to be and it does it very well.
Karl Urban perfectly portrays the simple yet interesting main character, Judge Dredd. JD is the kind of character that isn't prone to emotional development, which is why the addition of the rookie Anderson (played by Olivia Thirlby) works very well. Dredd does some very interesting things that makes it stand out. For example, it manages to use the tired cliché of "slow- motion action scenes" and makes it an important plot point. Dredd's visual style combines gritty survival with some trippy visuals that works without providing mood whiplash. It is a very gory film but the blood is intentionally ridiculous splatters, so it doesn't get disturbing or exploitative.
Overall, Dredd is an enjoyable movie that captures the spirit of its comic book origin while providing enjoyably brutal action. It is a shame that this movie bombed in the box office as I am definitely enjoying this movie's cult audience who want to see a sequel to this film that explores more of these characters and setting. Even if we don't get a sequel, I think Dredd works a solo film that recommend you check out. I give this movie a 8/10.
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