<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Pete Travis. Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey.
I remember the original Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone not being very good. I can’t really say I liked the new one either. I think the whole concept is a bit dreadful actually.
This film has so been copied from The Raid: Redemption. Of course, The Raid was exceedingly better with its premise of a group of elite cops raiding an apartment complex controlled by a drug lord and then being ambushed by the deadly occupants of the building. In Dredd, the situation is exactly the same. Our protagonist and his sidekick are sealed in to a futuristic building run by a drug lord and have to evade the whole fucking skyscraper’s inhabitants who are out to finish them off. Coincidence? Don’t think so.
Judge Dredd is actually a British comic book character. He belongs to a time in the future when the Earth is in shambles and law and order are on the brink of annihilation. Only the ‘Judges’ can bring some semblance of order to the world. They are not only cops, but judges, juries and executioners, all rolled into one. Dispensing sentences on the spot and either sending perpetrators off to stasis cubes or just killing them off, the Judges are the only line of defence in our dystopian world called Mega City One.
In this film, Dredd (Karl Urban) has a new recruit under his wing: Cassandra Anderson, the ‘mutant’ who can read minds but is a reluctant Judge. Together they take on the assignment of checking out a multiple homicide at a Mega complex called Peach Trees – notorious for its scumbag inhabitants and ruthless ‘landlord’ Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). They get in but they can’t get out. An ambush ensues and half the apartment building is ordered to assassinate the Judges and their captive, so the truth about Peach Trees isn’t revealed. That it is the base of ops for a drug called Slo-Mo.
If you’ve seen The Raid: Redemption you’ll understand why Dredd seems copied from that film. Even some of the shots seem similar. But the action isn’t half as good in Dredd. Sure there are moments when the visuals are all sparkly and well slo-mo, but you’re like ‘mehh’… Dredd comes across as a boring version of Robocop. And poor Karl Urban doesn’t get to show his face at all in the movie – which stays true to the comics where he always kept his helmet on. He has does a good scowl but then you don’t really get the emotion there.
Lena Heady as Ma-Ma is supposed to be psycho but I couldn’t help but feel like laughing at her mangled face and ridiculous attempts to appear badass. Olivia Thirlby as Anderson is the only thing that sorta keeps the film grounded.
The film has gotten good reviews though but if you’ve seen The Raid: Redemption you’re not going to like this film at all. I doubt Dredd is a character meant for the big screen anyway.