By Tom Charity from LOVEFiLM
Our Cinema Release of the Week: Dredd retains the graphic ultra-violence of the comics and its flip side, the callous ironic humour too.
Most helpful review
Judgement DayBy Andoverian (48 reviews) from Andover , 08 Sep 2012
[Highly rated reviewer]So there's been a lot of fuss about Dredd for some time - he's not overly familiar outside of the UK, despite the attempted woeful blockbuster treatment by Danny Cannon with Stallone as the title character in 1995.
The question whether non-fans would take to a new movie has been mooted all over the internet, whilst Dredd aficionados have been hoping and praying that this version would do the character some much-needed justice, if you'll pardon the pun.
It has been reported that during the casting process, Karl Urban was told that he wouldn't be taking his helmet off at all during this film. His reply of 'I wouldn't be here if I did' or words to that effect, instantly drove the fanboys into pant-wetting delirium as it seemed that finally, the creative team had found an actor that was actually a fan himself, with no Stallone-sized ego to get in the way.
So did it work?
In short, yes. Gone are the Jean-Paul Gaultier designed shiny uniforms, gone are the flying Lawmasters (Judges' chosen method of transport) and gone is Rob Schneider's awful Fergie.
We're off to a good start.
Instead, we have a gritty, urban, dirty world with violence and grim realities, with foul language to match. If you're expecting the cartoony vision of Mega City 1 (one of the 95 version's only plus points actually) and the kid-friendly made-up cuss words of 'drokk' or 'stomm', you'll be disappointed.
In their stead, is a world where '800,000,000 million people living in the ruin of the old world', as narrated by Urban himself at the start, live in near-slums. Yes, there are massive city-blocks as you'd expect, but they're not like the bulbous, miss-shaped futuristic look of the comics or the original film - this time they're straight up high rises, and they're not clean. Neither is the language
And it works. With so many citizens living on top of each other, of course there's going to be poverty, of course it's going to be gritty, of course it's going to be hard-living, so it makes sense - it feels realistic. It feels plausible.
So don't expect a big tour of the city ala the Stallone version. Apart from a couple of wide angle pans of Mega City One, all we really see is part of the Hall of Justice and then the rest of the film is set in mega-block Peach Trees - itself allegedly named after the cafe where the movie's creative team fleshed out their vision for the story.
Don't expect any fan-favourite characters here - no Dark Judges, no Angel Gang, no Judge Child, no Rico, no Otto Sump, no Chopper (although the keen eyed may glimpse various references to one or two old school favourites along the way). Here we have a former prostitute-turned drug dealer called Ma-Ma dispensing her own form of justice and defending her territory from the two judges who have entered her domain.
The two judges in question? Dredd and Psi-judge rookie Cassandra Anderson, in her own hellacious and ultra-violent version of Training Day.
The creative team and the cast have done brilliantly well. Urban's Eastwood-esque voice and chin portray Dredd perfectly without any cheese in sight, and Olivia Thirlby plays the rookie judge, with her rabbit-in-headlights fear eventually turning to do-or-die fearlessness.
Lena Headey is great as head-perp Ma-Ma Madrigal and The Wire's Wood Harris aka Avon Barksdale is superbly type-cast as fellow drug pusher and Ma-Ma clan member Kay.
Whether the film is a success, paving the way for sequels and therefore greater exploration of Mega City One and the wider Dredd universe, only time will tell. This basic, stripped down film should serve as a starter for ten, appealing to non-fans and fans alike, and could be the surprise hit of the year.
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Not exactly Dreddful but....Dredd HardBy AndrewOfDoom (60 reviews) from Cardiff , 18 Jun 2013Sad to admit but I have around 2,000 2000AD comics in my attic. I loved it. I've also got 2000AD and Judge Dredd annuals from many years. The Sly Stallone film was awful in many respects but at least had a Dredd-like story. This film would have, at best, been a single edition story of 3-4 pages in one week's 2000AD. Nothing to particularly dislike per se about the film (although it was a bit graphic with the violence) but 'epic' wasn't the word. We got nothing about the world of Judge Dredd. Essentially this was just Die Hard in the (slight and depressing) future. Could have been called 'Dredd Hard'.
Watchable Blood and GoreBy a customer , 18 Jun 2013
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideDifferent than past versions (Stallone). Action takes place in an arena type environment rather than on the streets which gives a small budget feel but not to the detriment of the film. Urban keeps his helmet on throughout (Robocop meets Dredd) All in all a run of the mill violent action movie.
Better than I expected, but...By a customer , 18 Jun 2013Better than I expected but not as good as I wanted it to be. I thought the 'baddie' was very good; very evil and ruthless. I thought the side kick was okay. The special effects passable - didn't think the 3D was up to much apart from a few set scenes. Dredd just seemed a bit... lacking. Maybe its the constraints of the character; it is hard to engage with an almost full face helmet on throughout however true to the comics that might be. I also liked the humour in it, but wished it was ramped up a bit more.
Judged and found lackingBy craigpay (1 review) , 17 Jun 2013The good: great choice of setting (I'm a D-9 fan) and some excellent cinematography, especially during the slo-mo moments. Ma-Ma and Anderson are both well-portrayed and well-acted (some great vulnerability, even though in both cases it's the woman-as-damaged-goods cliche). The bad: Dredd sneaks around hiding from the bad guys like some rookie street cop, not the unstoppable lawgiver that he is. The Lawmasters look like someone chucked fifty quids-worth of nasty fibreglass on a couple of bikes they found in the parking lot. Dredd runs out of ammo -- is he really this inept and/or badly prepared? Block-sized plot holes -- Anderson's abilities only work when required and conveniently fail when required to advance the plot -- Dredd dodges around all over the place only to stand behind a wall waiting to be shot when the plot demands it. Dredd is always going to be tough character to portray on screen due to his cold personality -- there's nothing to be revealed beyond that tough exterior. Perhaps they should have used Anderson as the lead protagonist, which might have allowed some interesting sneaky peaks inside Dredd's head (literally), but of course they won't do that because a Hollywood film always demands a male lead.
Awfull Film DO NOT WATCHBy lornalou (1 review) from Bruton , 16 Jun 2013honestly thought the remake would be better than the original............oh how wrong I was, this is without a doubt one of the worst films ive ever seen !!!! it deffo makes the top 10 of films to avoid !!!!!