Spoiler Alert: Dredd 3D Review
John Seiler/Sun Star Columnist
October 2, 2012
Directed: Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Release Date: Out Now
It seems like the cool thing right now is to rip on remakes. Don’t get me wrong there have been some atrocious remakes in the past that completely undermines what was special about the original, like last years remake of The Thing. This year has been different though with my personal favorite comedy of the year, 21 Jump Street, and the surprisingly entertaining Total Recall. This year has been fun for remakes, and the momentum continues with Dredd 3D.
Based on the 2,000 AD British anthology series from creator John Wagner, most people know this character from the 1995 camp-fest film “Judge Dredd” starring Sylvester Stallone. I love the original Dredd because it’s a goofy, stupid film. I didn’t have to feel bad for liking the new Dredd movie though.
The movie is set in a dystopian world where the majority of the earth has been radiated and the 800 million survivors live in the violent Mega-City One. The city is full of riots and violent crimes, and the only law is upheld by a police-like group called “The Judges.” Judge Dredd (Urban) is put in charge of a rookie named Anderson (Thirlby) to see if she’s worthy of being a Judge. After a simple murder case goes array, Dredd and Anderson must fight their way to the top of a 200 story slum-tower and take out the drug ring leader known as Ma-Ma (Headey).
The tone is one of the biggest changes between the old and new films. Unlike the old film, this film is a brutally violent and bleak experience. Dredd isn’t the most developed character, but he really doesn’t need to be. Through the film, he’s this merciless force of nature, wherever he goes death and destruction follow. It’s a fun change from the current crop of comic films. As cool as Dredd is though, Anderson is better. As the story goes, she evolves from rookie to something more. In a genre where the female co-star is forced to the damsel role, Anderson never becomes that role. It’s great to see a film break out of that. The villain played by Lena Headey as Ma-Ma is unlike any villain seen in awhile. She is set up as a cold, brutal and fighting figure. She’s not the brains, but everybody follows her because of how cutthroat she is. As threatening as Dredd is, Ma-Ma is equal to that.
One of the cooler aspects of the film is the drug Slo-Mo. The drug is supplied by Ma-Ma and it cuts down brain activity to a snail crawl. In most action films, slow motion is a device that is used somewhat pointlessly. This film uses Slo-Mo as only a story point and highlights the brutality of the action scenes, as bullets pass through heads and bodies.
With a great cast and amazing action, Dredd is up there with The Raid: Redemption and The Avengers as one of my favorite action films this year.