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It is an unfortunate coincidence that Dredd is correlated to The Raid:
Redemption because they have similar setups. Fortunately, I saw The
Raid: Redemption earlier in the summer of 2012 and missed Dredd in
theaters, as a result I have enough time in between the two films to
mentally separate them. Being unfamiliar with the source material, what
I actually ended up comparing Dredd was the 1996 Slyvester Stallone's
Judge Dredd. It's a sci-fi movie that I grew up on and entertained me
(however Demolition Man is the superior sci-fi Slvyester Stallone
movie). It's famously criticized because Sylvester Stallone, at the
behest of the producers, plays the latter two-thirds of the film with
his helmet off. Judge Dredd in the comics, never takes off his helmet.
I never knew what the big deal was with the insistence that the Judge
Dredd character must keep his helmet on... till I saw Dredd.
Judge Dredd is not a character as more a representation of pure black-and-white law taken to the extreme. That's why he's meant to be faceless. Taking off his mask and trying to find the human backstory behind that character completely shatters what he thematically represents. Yes, I know I sound stupid right now. However, a movie with Judge Dredd alone just shooting criminals would have been boring. The filmmakers understand this, so they have placed in a buddy cop dynamic into the film with the Judge Anderson character. She is more human and more dimensional as a character, and set as a juxtaposition to the stoic Dredd. It can even be argued that the movie is Judge Anderson's story. Both characters had a good working chemistry and the film deeply benefits from their buddy dynamic as it provides something human enough for me to hang onto between the action scenes.
As Judge Dredd, Karl Urban manages to communicate a lot under a helmet and has a firm grasp of the material. Playing a character who is that extreme can easily fall into parody very quickly (there are many Youtube videos parodying Stallone's delivery "I'm the law!") and Urban doesn't fall into that. Lena Headey is cold and scary without being cartoonish as the film's villain Ma-Ma. The film is over-the-top but there's no 'wink wink', everybody just "is" the character they're playing.
Slow motion in films have been overdone and viewers have grown used to it now. The way to keep slow motion fresh is to incorporate it into the story. Having a drug that slows down your perception of time is arguably the most blatant way to do this. But you know what? It works! It seems fresh and they take the Slo-Mo drug as a story device and take it to creative places. The films has fun action set pieces. The next set piece tops the last and it moves fast enough for you to ever really ponder about the satirical tones.
Dredd is fun and made by a team that understands and loves the material. Their goals with this movie were simple but they accomplish them. It makes me think, as proved by the 1995 film, that perhaps the Judge Dredd property is not meant to be adapted into a vehicle for a big name star. The dark humor combined with ultra-violent tone of it just registers as something kitschier that will fare better for a smaller audience. No one's going to take their whole family to see this movie but more likely a group of guys will cackle over it with a case of beers in their apartment.
For the people that want to see Dredd will get it and enjoy it. For the people who don't care that much may just dismiss it as being a lesser version of The Raid: Redemption. I'm not going to get on that bandwagon, Dredd deserves better.
"Dredd" has nothing innovative to offer that is new or groundbreaking, but the fusion of familiar elements generates a smartly paced, suspenseful 90 minutes that's a vast improvement over the disastrous 1995 version starring Sylvester Stallone. It has the atmosphere of a shoot 'em up video game, and the only thing that's missing is the wireless controller. Heads splatter and bullets rip through body parts at a relentless and continuous pace. "Dredd" is superbly designed and delivered with relentless carnage from all angles, and even more so impressively utilizing 3D. The sprawling "Slo-Mo" sequences are equally impressive as well. At a time when most comic book adaptations try to be all things to all people, "Dredd" savagely entertains for those with the stomach for it, and more than satisfies its intended base audience.
In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to
act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take
down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.
I have seen the cheesy yet fun "Judge Dredd" (1995) and the legendary "RoboCop" that was sort of a detour from what they had envisioned "Dredd" to be decades ago... and I thought there was no way this could compare to them. I was half right.
There is no matching "RoboCop", and I will pretend it was not remade. But this "Dredd" has some very likable things to it, and makes the Judge out to be more than just an assassin with a gun. There is still some cheese (though much darker cheese than in the Stallone version). But somehow it all seems to work.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forget the Stallone version. This is nothing like it at all. There's no
cheesy costumes or super villains, just non-stop action.
The thing that struck me most was that this Dredd never shows his face at all. On top of that he shows no emotion either. What actor would want such a part? Well Karl Urban did a fantastic job of it. Full marks. His side-kick played by Olivia Thirlby is the perfect rookie. There's no cliché rookie/instructor interplay here, just believable interaction making perfect sense.
The villain of the piece is all too believable in the form of Lena Headey (Hollywood loves British villains). No taking over the city plot here, just a large scale villain making their way in the world.
The script is great, the direction top notch. The film moves along at a great pace with action all the way. It's all too easy to think the future of real cities lies on this path. I'm not a fan of the comic books and you certainly don't need to be to enjoy this film. If you want a great action movie this is one to add to your watch list. The only way I could see anyone disliking it is if they were a major fan of the comic and enraged at any liberties taken by the film makers in not adhering to some part of the comic. Comics don't always translate well to the screen. Often changes are needed and here is a great example of how to do it. They should make a sequel.
This is my first comment about movies on IMDb, and it will be short. I
watched longtime ago Judge Dredd (1995) and as I remember I liked it.
This night I watched this old new judge in a world of crime and life
spoils, and I am very impressed. Enjoyed every moment of it. Great
action futuristic science fiction master piece.
Movie is not for everyone, but for people who enjoy this genre I highly recommend. (As I read a review here by BA_Harrison and I have decided to watch this movie).
As i said already this is top entertainment and because of that I have suggestion for producers to invest their time and money in creating a Judge Dredd TV Show, there is a lot of material and great stories. I think it will be great, and this movie can be used for pilot, to get the interest of broadcasters.
Dredd is one of the best action movies I have seen in the last few
years. It wouldn't surprise me, that the sole reason why it didn't make
its budget back at the box office, was the 1995 cheese-fest "Judge
Dredd" starring Sylvester Stallone. This remake is miles ahead of his
predecessor and more reminiscent of the early "Die Hard"-movies.
Dredd has the feel of an outstanding 80s- and 90s-action-flick, which happen to have been made in 2013. The story is simple, the characters don't have real depth to them, but the ride is so much fun that you really don't care. Dredd is fast-paced, violent and doesn't cut or turn the camera when a character dies on screen.
Although some scenes stick out as "made for 3D", they didn't bother my 2D-viewing-experience at all, but rather tempt me to revisit the movie in 3D - which never happened to me before.
(Note: I am not able estimate how good the actual 3D is.)
Much has been made of Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby's performances, and
Urban IS Dredd, imbuing him with absolutist thinking, totalitarian authority and righteous purpose... ...in the face of violent, criminal anarchy and corruption.
Those who think of Thirlby's "Judge Anderson" as a late addition, created to provide some "emotional relief", need to be put right on the subject!
Anderson is an ORIGINAL character from 2000AD and provided us with some of Dredd's greatest plot lines, from the start.
Olivia Thirlby does a great job, giving us a complete character. Adept, brave and growing in strength; sensitive but not "gawky". It's as if she stepped from the page. And if you're happy with Anderson so far,believe me, "you ain't seen nothing' yet!", as somebody once said.
Some have attempted to write this movie off as mindless pap. They couldn't be further from the truth!
I'd suggest they think of Dredd as being colossal, Wagnerian, epic and operatic; tackling huge issues, in broad strokes, unafraid of high stakes and full of violent, reductive statements from all sides.
Anderson was a feminist pioneer, when feminism was still a hot topic! Mega City One existed in a nuclear waste land, when the Cold War still held an imposing chill! The conflict between criminal anarchy and totalitarian authority provides the backdrop for Dredd's entire mythology.
Unthinking action? There is more subject matter here than you can shake a stick at!
Previous versions of Dredd have treated the franchise with very little respect. Nobody could be expected to take Dredd seriously, when he was played by Stallone in a cash-cow, reprising Rambo. The epitome of style over substance.
No wonder some people mistakenly feel the need, to talk about "the great one liners", when they have been led up the garden path for so long!
Those who wish to accuse Dredd of "borrowing" elements from other franchises, need to realise they're late. About 30 years late, to be precise.
Judge Dredd brings us a wealth of material, which has stood for 30 years, and still chimes the same uncomfortable chords.
This is the first film aiming to explore Dredd's world, instead of attempting to exploit his fans, his badge and his name!
This movie understands the themes, the personality of Dredd's world, and the issues arising in a version of our future, gone wrong.
Dredd has always been a FUTURE SHOCK, that perhaps isn't so far away!
Now it seems, Dredd is finding his place in our world.
Bring me more!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At first I was upset because I had seen The Raid: Redemption and had
read the reviews on this movie. Then I saw the film. Taking the plot
from one film and merging it with the world of Dredd really works. This
feels like the first Hard R rated comic book property released. It is
long overdue. Kids read comics because they are R-Rated, then the films
are released in PG or PG-13. No wonder they fail.
There is a character who is a mind-reader. That was dumb. It removes some grit and adds "kiddie movie" substance. Lena Headey also comes off as annoying but not tough. She's totally unrealistic as the overly built up character she portrays. The look of dissatisfaction that she's carried from role to role kinda annoys me too. She comes off as a wimpy villain who talks the talk but can't walk the walk.
Besides that, I have no other complaint. Karl Urban is perfect. His acting nails the role. He better be in the sequel. The set design, and action were brilliant. It makes me really happy to see the Stallone version of this get replaced by something serious. That PG garbage reminded me of the pathetic TMNT movie with Corey Feldman. It gives me hope that someday someone will make the Punisher and not screw it up.
I truly hope to see more of this adult franchise. And I hope all other comic book adapters wake up and target their true audience, the Hard-R, adult audience. PG-13 is for filmmakers without courage or vision. Maybe they should ask Freidkin to direct one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An ultra-violent take on the Judge Dredd comic books, set in a
futuristic world where criminals have turned American cities into
demilitarized zones, probably wanted to separate itself from the
maligned 1990's Sylvester Stallone flick. Although Karl Urban, in
Dredd's metallic uniform, does somewhat resemble at least from the
nose down the action icon as he speaks with a similar guttural growl,
leaving most of the dialog to his sidekick, who thankfully isn't Rob
Enter Olivia Thirlby's Cassandra Anderson, brand new to the force of elite judges who don't sit behind a desk with a gavel, passively passing judgment after the cops have done their work. These roving crime-fighters are the police, the jury and more often than not, the executioner while Cassandra, a doe-eyed rookie partnered with Dredd to investigate a triple homicide within an ominous high rise, has more than one Ace: she's also a "mutant" psychic able to find truth with a touch of the hand.
While THE AVENGERS successfully garnered a contained "We got a problem" storyline, the DREDD protagonists are caught knee-deep inside the problem: Once both judges arrest a drug dealer whose testimony could bust the sinister gang leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) a cold, calculating vixen pushing a drug called "Slow Mo" giant doors lock everyone within the mazy building interior. Thus 95% of the film has our heroes trying to get out with the perpetrator and more importantly, their lives.
The soundtrack, reminiscent of John Carpenter's early compositions, is a dark metronomic heartbeat keeping the action flowing from one shootout to the next. Unfortunately Dredd, although one tough cookie and a fun guy to root for, isn't that much different from his aggressive gun-wielding adversaries, especially when a group of bad judges arrive during the 11th hour. Perhaps his sidekick, who eventually realizes her heart might not be in this brutal occupation, has something to do with his ability to remain alive since we only get one introductory scene without her assistance, Dredd's a difficult title character to entirely distinguish on his own merit.
While Cassandra's visible flashes into other people's thoughts often distract from the steely mainline, she's an effective co-lead who's much more than eye candy, helping the somewhat basic story, feeling like a singular episode of a JUDGE DREDD cable series, be the high-octane motion picture it vehemently strives for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I start, I should say that I've never properly read Judge Dredd
(just haven't got round to it) and the most I know of the subject
matter comes from the Stallone film and occasional flicks through
2000AD (normally whilst looking for the Durham Red pages).
On to the movie. Karl Urban is easily one of my favorite tough guy actors, putting out great performances in everything from LOTR to Red. Watching him contort his face into THE Stallone scowl was highly entertaining, as was the very un-Urban growl. Nevertheless, the moment I saw him I accepted him as Dredd.
The Anderson character (Olivia Thirlby) made a great counterpoint to the battle hardened Dredd - a fragile rookie with an expected lifespan of about three minutes. The interplay between the two main characters was well balanced and realistic, giving me a way into the world of the Judges through her eyes.
The pace and plot of the movie was excellent, with gratuitous violence sliding nicely in between plot reveals and flashbacks (normally of more violence). Lena Headey was terrifying as always, as well as totally believable as the big boss. The movie was slick, using long slo-mo sequences to full effect (as well as having a plot sensible reason for them, for once!) and creating some beautiful set pieces.
Gritty and ugly, MegaCity One looked exactly the way you'd expect a dystopian metropolis to look, both in the wide shots and in the close ups. With a disdain and disregard for human life from both the criminals and Judges, the image of the Dredd universe was immediately clear.
The story itself carried a feeling of being an excellent stand-alone story, a perfect set up for further movies/series and an introduction to the world of Judge Dredd. Easy to imagine a whole new group of readers diving into the comics from watching the movies (I will be!)
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