17 years has past since hearts were broken at the sight of Sylvester Stallone without the helmet and missing the point entirely playing the 200AD comic book character Judge Dredd. Since then, time has past, wounds have been healed and with all the comic book adaptations and re-makes, now is as good as time as any. Directed by Pete Travis whose previous general release was the interesting but flawed Vantage Point, Dredd 3D is a faithful transition from comic to screen. Set in the futuristic city of Mega-City One, where violent crimes are committed everywhere, the only law enforcement in town are called Judges. Who act as judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one. Played by Karl Urban, Judge Dredd is the most feared as the indifferent, unsympathetic, emotionless, by the book arm of the law. Urban is fantastic playing Dredd, righting the wrongs of the 1995 version in every way, right down to the shape of his mouth.
With basic premise of a day of the life of Dredd, he takes on a rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a psychic who has failed other tests, for her assessment. Together they pick up a call to a 200 story tower block investigate a murder related to a new drug Slow-Mo. Things go bad however when they become trapped in the tower block by its criminal kingpin Ma Ma (Lena Headey) with orders to kill the two Judges. It’s an unfortunate turn of events, that the plot resembles the one of the excellent The Raid witch was out this year. Of course neither of them knew about each other at the time of production, it’s a shame as the story written by Alex Garland, feels like it came straight from the Dredd comics. Headey does a great job as the antagonist, with a scared face, it could have easily been over the top, but she plays her like a drug addict, rarely raising her voice, even when killing without mercy. It’s eerily affective.
Dredd is action packed with plenty of slow motion, to reflect the films drug use and bullets flying and bodies thrown off balconies. It’s refreshing to see a british produced film, with a 45 million budget with a hard 18 certificate and is true to it’s roots It’s not a perfect film, the 3D is well done, but is mostly redundant that you wonder why they bothered in the first place. There are a few pacing issues and sometimes the budget for a film this scale shows. Be that as it may, I had a blast with Dredd, and I think you will too.