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A Dredd Worth Seeing
I've been a fan of Judge Dredd since I bought my first copy of the comic 2000 AD in 1979 at the tender age of 6. Dredd is the first movie adaptation of the comic strip to get it right, and Karl Urban's portrayal of the anti-character is flawless, a welcome relief for all Dredd fans who suffered through the gaudy travesty of Danny Cannon's 1995 movie starring Rocky Balboa.
I was pleased to see on a recent trip to the supermarket that Dredd is still in the Top 20 of DVDs in the UK. I'm sure all hardcore Dredd fans will be crossing their fingers in the hope that DVD sales do well enough to fund a sequel, because when it came to the box office, Dredd shot itself in the foot. Why the people behind the movie thought it was a good idea to go 3D-only, I just don't know. I went to see it despite the fact it was in 3D, not because of it, and I still had to wait for the 2D DVD release before I could actually see what the hell was going on. This whole 3D fad is a case of Hollywood thinking that "the public wants what the public gets". It's the bleedin' 1980s all over again. 3D wasn't a good idea back then and it still isn't now.
Anyway, back to the movie. Following its release in theatres I noticed that a lot of so-called "critics" thought it clever to compare the film to The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011) because both films involve the bloody ascent of a tower block. 'Oh yeah, Dredd,' they'd say. 'It's basically The Raid set in the future but with less choreography.' This is like saying that LA Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997) is basically To Live And Die In LA (William Friedkin, 1985) set in the past, because both films involve cops, corruption and Los Angeles. To make such a comparison is supremely lazy. I watched The Raid shortly before I first saw Dredd, and at no point did I think any such comparison was justified.
Dredd is violent, gritty, deadpan, full of impressive special effects, visually stunning (well, in 2D at any rate) and is everything hardcore Dredd fans were hoping for.