In the near future, the post-apocalyptic Mega City One stretches the length of the Eastern seaboard of the United States. It has over 800 million inhabitants and a crime rate so out of control that the City’s law enforcement, the Judges, can only handle 6% of crimes committed.
Uncompromising Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is assigned rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for assessment in the field; Anderson has failed her final exam but is being a chance due to her rare psi abilities.
They’re called to a triple homicide at Peach Tree apartments, one of the massive tower blocks that dominate the Mega City skyline. The block is run by drug dealer Ma Ma (Lena Headey), main distributor behind new drug on the market Slo-Mo, which gives the users the sensation of time moving at 1% speed. With the block sealed by blast doors, the Judges trapped inside and Ma Ma placing a price on their heads, the Judges have to fight for survival against endless armed thugs.
Fairly true to the source material, the film is written by long time Dredd fan Alex Garland (28 Days Later), with input from Dredd creator John Wagner, the script and visuals are littered with references to the comic. Director Pete Travis does a great job, especially considering the budget restrictions; the action is violent, frequent and very bloody. Some of the slo-mo fuelled set-pieces are incredibly stylish and a real showcase for the 3D.
The cast are all solid, Karl Urban is a pretty good Dredd, he looks the part, thankfully doesn’t remove his helmet, and is believable in the action scenes; however his voice wavers slightly during some of his longer deliveries. Lena Headey is a convincing villain, with this and her role in Game of Thrones, she’s cornering the market in evil characters. The strongest performance is that of Olivia Thirlby, she has the most to work with as her Judge Anderson undergoes the most growth and development over the course of the film.
The simple premise works well, both in terms of action, and budget limitations. This is a violent, humorous, bleak and almost fascistic film, just like the comics… violently adult, this is great fun and well worth a look for action fans. I’d love to see a sequel focussing on Dredd stories The Cursed Earth or Judge Death, however, the film hasn’t had a very successful run in the U.S. so a sequel seems unlikely.
Any Good: ****
November 8, 2012 | Categories: REVIEW: Dredd | Tags: 2000 AD, Action, Alex Garland, British, Classic, Comic Book Movies, Controversial, Cult, Icons, Independent, Judge Dredd, Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Sci-Fi, Violence | 2 Comments