In the near future, the United States is now a barren wasteland. 400 million citizens populate Mega City One, where over 17,000 crimes are committed every day. Able to respond to only 6% of these wrongdoings, the Judges – upholders of the law have the power to dispense instant justice and punishment in an attempt to maintain order amid the chaos. The most feared of these Judges is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) who reluctantly teams up with psychic rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for an assessment mission at ”Peach Trees” after stumbling upon a triple homicide.
Things don’t go as smoothly as anticipated, and they are suddenly caught up in a tower lock down. They work together to take down the fantastically psychotic ex-prostitute turned super crime/drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who’s busy manufacturing a new drug called ‘Slo-Mo’ within her 200-storey mega-block and will do anything and kill anyone that tries to stop her reign of terror.
Urban embodies Dredd, upholding no-nonsense attitude, with the ability to deliver one tone, straight faced one-liners in a way that makes us laugh with him rather than at him. Thirlby is great with her androgynous beauty, ass kicking and vortex like scenes where she mind f*cks a suspect. You absolutely would not want to come across someone like Ma-Ma. She’s is a sinister sociopath but I think we should have been able to witness her carry out something sickening. Perhaps showing her skinning someone alive or gutting a helpless blind worker? Okay maybe not!
What’s great about her character is that her minions are more scared of feeling her wrath than they are of two Judges. I mean this woman is CRAZY!
The partnership between Dredd and Anderson is a match made in heaven because of her psychic ability she is probably the only person who Dredd could have that partnership with as she is young enough to be his sidekick rather than a romantic interest. Romance between them just wouldn’t work and above all it would make both characters lose their credibility and their entertainment value.
I am no fan of 3D films, and Dredd is not an exception. Their are some phenomenal scenes where the viewers are invited through the eye-of-the-addict who has just inhaled the Slo-Mo drug. The way Pete Travis presents this effect is startling, from water particles slowly floating through the air to stylistic shots of people getting a bullet to the face and torso. This obviously helps the film portray as much violence as possible using visual effects.
These sequences are mesmerizing and beautiful where they glory of 3D is used to its full potential and the colours are so dense that you do get sucked in…for a second. Then once those scenes are over I am back to wondering why I am sitting in the cinema with glasses on.
I do however love the under use of CGI but instead went for real props and building which means it didn’t feel like it was a cheap film and they had run out of funds. The detail put into everything from the judges uniforms, the blending of real world building and futuristic mega blocks sells really well. The soundtrack for this film also has to be applauded as it kept me hooked through the chase and battle scenes.
The only fault I can find with this film is that their should have been more conflicts with other areas/blocks other than “Peach Trees” so we can see Dredd in other surroundings and I would have liked to see more of the city. Though having been filmed in South Africa on a very modest budget of $40 million, Dredd looks and feels like a hyper-realistic version of what some may call an inevitable Armageddon.
Say what you want but I think Karl Urban executed playing Judge Dredd to absolute perfection and Olivia Thirlby reminds men that you need a head-strong woman to lead you to victory!
Sylvester Stallone who?! 😉
Director: Pete Travis
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey
Enjoy the trailer