Cinema Review – DREDD 3D
Out last week in the UK, DREDD topped the box office, but is this just luck or is there a good film in there somewhere? Scott takes a look I am not one to normally post a review a week after the national release, but for DREDD I didn’t get any invites to pre-screenings, so [...]
Out last week in the UK, DREDD topped the box office, but is this just luck or is there a good film in there somewhere? Scott takes a look
I am not one to normally post a review a week after the national release, but for DREDD I didn’t get any invites to pre-screenings, so off I trotted to see this at my local multiplex and give over my hard-earned money, I liked it so much I actually paid to see it twice.
When it comes to judging DREDD (see what I did there?) it is best if you try to forget the god forsaken awful film starring Sly Stalone from 1995. That film did its best to completely wash out all the charm, humour and violence that had made Judge Dredd a comic icon here in UK in the 70s-80s. So get that out of your mind, OK? In fact DREDD 3D is not a reboot / remake / redo. It has no similarities to that story at all. This is a gritty and controlled take on the character that could quite easily spawn a hero franchise for Karl Urban, whose take on the character is more like a monosyllabic and unintentionally funny Dirty Harry than a mumbling Stallone.
The story takes place in the dystopian future city of Mega City One. The peace is , kind of, kept by Judges who are judge juror and executioner on the street. Judge Dredd is a legend amongst the force, he is a hard ass Judge who takes no sh*t. Dredd is assigned Anderson young rookie for a days assessment. Anderson is a strong psychic who could be useful to have on the force. On a routine assignment to Peach Trees Mega Block the two judges find themselves trapped by a vicious drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) – who puts the building on lock down and orders the Judges killed!
The futuristic world in which DREDD is set is reminiscent of the social slums here in UK or in the USA, and reflects perfectly the tone of the comic which itself was a social commentary on Thatchers Britain of its time. It is not shiny or modern, instead run down and out of control.
DREDD was always a borderline fascist character, he is far more interested in punishing the guilty than protecting the innocent and the big screen version hits the nail on the head perfectly. Urban never removes his helmet, which was a major flaw with the Stallone version. Instead he plays DREDD as he should be, an ambiguous killing machine, focused and direct, but not without some emotion.
As a nice contrast to DREDD we have Olivia Thirby’s take on Judge Anderson. She is empathic and compassionate. Anderson was one of my favourite characters from the comics (mainly because she was smoking hot… yes I am shallow) and it is nic to see her being shown in such an impressive way. Lena Headey was equally impressive as the super laid back but super violent and remorseless drug lord Ma-Ma, a real departure from her usual roles.
But does this film deliver as a good action flick? Well despite the fact that it’s premise and even styling is almost identical to the brilliant THE RAID from earlier this year (which was actually in production at the same time as this film), DREDD is extremely satisfying on its own merit. Chocked to the rafters with excellent firefights, explosions and even some fantastic use of 3D (what am I saying???) – especially when demonstrating the effect of Ma-Ma’s new narcotic ‘Slo-Mo’, which slows the users perception of time down to 1% of normal. It is nearly over used but extremely effective.
DREDD is a lean 90 mins and is packed full of carnage, with very little in back ground work. But this is perfect. We are left no time to wonder, or question. Just like the comic DREDD is ultra-violent so may not be for everyone, but the gore is SOOO ramped up it reminded me of the satirical ROBO-COP.
I have read that there is a trilogy of films in the works for this franchise, and that makes me pretty excited, as long as they keep the pacing and tone similar to this one… Bring on Judge Death, who is to DREDD as Joker was to Batman.