MPAA Rating: R
Director: Pete Travis
Review Rating: 7
In futuristic Mega City One, where criminals have taken over the streets, only the law and the Judges, cops given the authority to perform ALL duties of the law when necessary, can stop the notorious Ma-Ma and her gang of drug-pimping psycho killers!
We all know the first attempt at Judge Dredd pretty much flopped. But, it had it’s moments, mostly buoyed along by comedic interaction between Stallone and Schneider. But, did you know Judge Dredd is actually based off a British comic book series from way back in the 1970’s? I didn’t. More or less about the same thing – an American law enforcement officer in a futuristic post-apocalyptic city where he serves as judge, jury and executioner if need be. Haven’t read the comic books so I can’t speak to this movies’ authenticity compared to the comic, and rather than comparing it to the first movie, we should try and base it as a stand-alone. With that in mind, on we go!
So, Karl Urban in the titular role, okay. It’s a little hard to tell that there really is a man under there; he never takes his helmet off, in the entire movie. He gets plenty of good lines, and does manage to deliver at least a few of them with emotion of some kind, but come on. Olivia Thirlby is Anderson, his psychic rookie assignment who inevitably gets caught up in it when feces hits the fan. She’s the one who’s supposed to get all emotional and junk, yet she generally pulls the trigger when it’s demanded of her, without hesitation or mercy, like a good Judge should. So why have her there at all? It wasn’t comic relief, it wasn’t emotional standby; I suppose she could be the token female character. But why do that, when the main bad guy happens to be the incomparable Lena Heady, as Ma-Ma? She is always and forever a badass, the Linda Hamilton for a new legion of fans, and this role is no exception: she’s running around with a great massive scar bisecting her face, locking down entire blocks and using future-guns to slaughter many an innocent in the hunt for those Judges.
Ma-Ma and her gang are the ones putting out this new drug called Slo-Mo, it makes the user think he’s going a lot slower than normal, so for example pumping a person full of Slo-Mo and then tossing them off a roof, is kind of a really mean way to die. The use of Slo-Mo as a drug inside the movie allows for all sorts of neat-o slow-motion camera tricks, including but not limited to the almost graceful blowing out of various bad guy cheeks in slow motion, backed up by majestic music. It’s all very gritty and real and raw, the city looks rather like Total Recall 2012 wished it was, and the use of simpler lighting helps. Yes it can be watched in 3D, no I didn’t see the film that way, but I would bet the Sl0-Mo shots are actually acceptable like that. All in all, a perfectly fine film to watch, and I would bet a lot closer to what Dredd was originally supposed to be.
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Alicia Glass has been the Editor in Chief and the moving force behind MovieMoxie.net since 2009.