Dredd is Hollywood’s second attempt at making a movie based on Judge Dredd, a British comic book character first seen in 1977. In 1995 a film version of the comic was made starring Sylvester Stallone as the title character. It’s widely regarded as complete and utter garbage and fans of the comic note that it horrendously messes up the spirit of the original charter. So no sequels for that flick. However in 2012 a new Judge Dredd film hit theaters. When I saw the trailers for this movie I was hooked. I was incredibly stoked to catch this movie; I would have put it on my Summer Movie list…except that it came out in September. It’s directed by Peter Travis who’s done nothing I’ve seen before. There’s about seventeen years’ worth of bad blood for this film due to its predecessor. Does Dredd live up to its comic or is it a repeat offender of extremely shitty cinema?
Full review after the jump.
Before we get started take note that I am not a Judge Dredd expert. I know as much as your typical comic book nerd and someone who has access to Wikipedia, but I’ve never read a single comic with the character in it. For example a friend of mine told me he was under the impression that the comic was a satire that was supposed to be funny. I don’t know because I haven’t read it. Anyway let’s talk about the good things…
THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME!
First of all more than anything it feels like a throwback to old school post-apocalyptic films, such as Escape from New York, and it makes me feel nostalgic. But more than that Dredd is basically the perfect action film. Its premise is simple, not overly complicated, and once it’s established we get some incredibly brutal and over the top action. But it’s not dumb, which is the biggest problem with these action flicks everyone loves; in fact at times it can be downright tender which is kind of surprising. Also it’s basically Training Day if a) Training Day was set in a horribly slum filled dystopia in the future and b) the senior officer was the least corrupt cop in the city.
|"King Kong ain't got shit on the law!"|
In a lot of ways this is her story (but then at some point it becomes Dredd’s story again, but that’s mainly for the violent bits). I really liked Olivia Thirlby; she did a great job as Anderson. Dredd is less of a character and more of a symbol so in a very real way the movie falls on her shoulders rather than Urban's and I think she does a pretty damn fine job carrying it. Plus I like how she goes from dangerously naïve to “Dude, seriously. I just don’t give a shit anymore.” Plus, yeah, she’s pretty damn gorgeous. Can’t really overlook that.
|I may be willing to betray the law if it meant she came 'round to investigate|
I found the special effects to be distracting. To me they looked pretty awful and clearly fake, though this is almost certainly because it was made for 3D and I saw it in 2D. Still for all its violence and gore the majority of it was CG which, as it almost always does, looks vastly inferior than using something more real. At first these points didn’t bug me that much but by the end I was sufficiently annoyed enough by it to not call this flick the greatest action movie in history. But as you can probably guess I’m still extremely enamored with it anyway and the whole time I was watching it all I could think of was that I couldn’t wait for the sequels.
Aaand that’s when life got really annoying for a while. Dredd bombed at the Box Office. It didn’t just bomb, it nuclear explosioned. It opened at #6, which is crazy bad. I’m pretty sure even Battleship did better than that and that movie was widely regarded as being “awful bullshit”. Of course this was released in September despite clearly being a summer action vehicle. End of Watch and House at the End of the Street both came in and likely hurt things for Dredd, as well as
|Critical acclaim - Box Office Success = Cult section at video store|
I give Dredd 4 Adorable Pandas out of 5.
-Some special effects aren’t so great
By the time you read this blog I’ll be off somewhere celebrating my birthday. Which means I’ll be in some corner of my apartment lamenting my lost youth while clutching a bottle of whisky. Not drinking it; merely clutching it.